What’s new with Android for Cars | Google IO 2021 Update

What’s new with Android for Cars | Google IO 2021 Update


Hello, I’m Madan Ankapura. I’m the product manager for car developer platforms, and I’m here to share what’s new with Android for Cars. For over a decade, Google has invested in automotive, from designing products that helps users in the car with Android to supporting car manufacturers in harnessing the power of their data with Google Cloud. We have increasingly deepened our efforts in automotive. Through this time, our vision has remained unchanged, to create a safe and seamless connected experience in every car. And while driving behavior has been impacted in the past year, with many people adjusting their commute and staying home, we have seen people turn to technology in the car more than ever and we are committed to helping as many drivers as possible. With the flexibility of Android, and thanks to developers like you, we have been able to design experiences that are tailored for every drive, regardless of the type of car, whether a user has an older car, is looking to stay connected in their current car, or is in the market for a new car, we have an experience to help users on their drive.

Google Assistant Driving Mode allows drivers to get things done on their phones with their voice without leaving Google Maps. This is available in the US today and rolling out to more countries in the coming months. In addition to the phone-based experience, we have two in-car experiences powered by Android: Android Auto and Android Automotive OS. Android Auto allows users to connect their Android phone to compatible cars and access their favorite apps right on the car screen. This enables users to stay connected on the go, while focusing on the road. Despite changes in driving behavior this past year, Android Auto continues to see strong momentum. It’s now available in more than 100 million cars globally, with support from nearly every major car manufacturer. And we are happy to announce another important one to our lineup, Porsche. Android Auto will be available on new Porsche cars starting this summer with the 911. Porsche has a long history of building iconic sports cars, so we are excited to welcome them to the Android Auto family and bring a great software experience into their cars. In addition to expanding partner reach on Android Auto, we continue to invest in improving the user experience. Wireless adoption is growing fast with users and car manufacturers. Most have already launched, including Ford, BMW, General Motors and Kia. And others are in the process of launching wireless connections.

We also rolled out Android Auto to six more countries last month, making it even more widely available. Our newest in-car experience is where Android Automotive OS with Google apps and services built-in. The entire infotainment system is powered by Android and users can access Google Assistant, Google Maps and more apps from Google Play directly from the car screen, without relying on the phone. The deeper integration allows for richer experiences like controlling the car temperature with your voice or receiving speed limit alerts on your cluster. Plus all app updates take place over the air via Google play, allowing for continuous improvements. This integration is tailored to every car model for a custom look and feel. Last year, we launched the first car with this in-car experience, the Polestar 2. It’s been very well received by the press and users. By the end of 2021, Android Automotive OS with Google apps and services built in will be available to order globally in more than 10 car models from Volvo, General Motors, Renault and Nissan. And we recently announced a partnership with Ford to bring this experience to millions of future Ford and Lincoln cars. So that’s a lot of momentum, more cars, more global availability, and more users, which represents an amazing opportunity for all of you. Developers are a crucial part of the ecosystem that we hope to build in the automotive industry. Without you, none of this momentum would be possible.

We hope you’re excited too, because we need your help to bring users’ digital lives seamlessly into their cars. From the beginning, we enabled media and messaging apps for cars, but one of our most common requests continues to be support for more apps. Developing apps for cars is very complex. There are various screen form factors and input methods to consider, but we need to ensure all apps are built with safety in mind to help drivers focus on the road. Our goal is to simplify the process of developing apps for cars. We want to make the platform powerful and flexible enough to accommodate all of this complexity and ensure that you can reuse code across Android Auto and Android Automotive OS. The new Android for Cars App Library provides you with a set of templates designed to meet driver distraction standards while taking care of complexities and allowing you to customize for your brand. This helps us lay the groundwork for the future of app development for cars, beginning with navigation, parking and charging apps. It’s easier than ever to design a single app for the car that works across Android Auto and Android Automotive OS. You can take your phone app and Android support via the Android for Cars App Library, and then with minimal effort, you can publish the app on Android Automotive OS. Our early access partners have successfully published apps to production on Android Auto, and we have already seen users driving with these new experiences every day. This demo showcases PlugShare, a charging app in Android Auto. With voice-assistance built-in, users can easily talk to Google to get things done while keeping their eyes on the road. Hey Google, find charging stations on PlugShare. Sure, here’s some nearby charging stations. We’re also working with early access partners to bring these new app categories to Android Automotive OS later this year. Here, you can see an early preview of how the Chargepoint, Sygic and SpotHero apps will look on the Android Automotive OS power display in a Polestar 2. And we want to continue working with developers to enable more types of apps on the Android for Cars App Library in the future.

Now I’ll turn it over to Ozge, our UX Lead for car developer platforms, to talk more about using this library to build apps for cars. Thank you, Madan. As Android Auto and Android Automotive OS continue to grow, we strive to make it easier for you to build apps for cars. The Android for Cars App Library enables you to design a single app with the use of templates and deploy it across in-car experiences. We’ve designed the entire library with mitigating driver distraction as a core principle. Through comprehensive research and application of industry guidelines and practices, we have built a framework that ensures apps are optimized for driving and use voice where possible. So you don’t have to become an expert on driver distraction to develop apps for the car. Developing an app for the car requires the same set of steps as building for a phone. One, design; two, develop; three, test; and four, publish. Today we’re going to focus on the design phase, using some of the templates that we built for you. The first step is defining which tasks are important for users to perform with your app in the car. The focus should be on driving related tasks, as your car app does not need to enable all of the tasks that are available on your phone experience. For example, if you’re developing an EV charging app, a critical task would be finding charging stations nearby. You may want to start on an app planning view and add a call to action for nearby to initiate this task. The next step is planning task flows, where you choose a sequence of templates that allows users to perform each task. Strive to keep the journey simple and short. There are nine templates available today on the Android for Cars App Library to generate your app flows with. Later this year, we will introduce Library 1.1, with a focus on enabling you to create standalone apps on Android Automotive OS. For that purpose, we will add two more templates: sign-in and long message. And going forward, we are aiming to create feature parity across Android Auto and Android Automotive OS. Now let’s design a sample flow together. In the EV charging app example, landing view is the first screen in the task flow. It provides starting points for various critical tasks, including the ‘find and navigate to nearby station’ task. The second screen is the nearby station list. Here, the user needs to see a list of stations on a map. You can use the Places map template to do so. You may want to list the stations, starting from the closest ones, and add markers on the map to highlight each station. For the last step in this flow, the user needs to see details of the station.

We have an informational template for that, the pane template. Here you can add a button to let the user navigate to the station by opening a navigation app and another button to start charging when they arrive at the station. Once the sequence is complete, there are a variety of styles to customize your app and each template to reflect your brand and user needs. For example, you can show me the data that tells users about charging station availability. To make that information more prominent, you can use your app’s color scheme to make a specific picked string pop For example, you can make the word ‘available’ in the green color. That’s part of your app’s brand. And you can customize the navigate button in one of your apps Exxon’s colors. That is it for our sample design. With the upcoming release of the 1.1, all of the design decisions you make will carry over to your Android Automotive OS car app as well, allowing you to design your app once and deploy across in-car experiences. To help you during your design process, we published the Android for Cars App Library design guidelines, where you will find design guidance on templates and much more. We also have extensive documentation for technical guidance on building an app with the templates. Using our emulators, you can easily test your apps without needing a car and you can upload your app for quality review and publish directly on the Play console. We’ve covered a lot, from our continued commitment to automotive, the strong momentum on Android Auto and Android Automotive OS, and new opportunities for you to develop apps for cars with the Android for Cars App Library. To get started today, visit g.co/androidforcars. To see some of the latest cars shipping with these experiences, check out I/O Adventure. You’ll see a preview of the BMW iX with Android Auto and the GM Hummer EV with Android Automotive OS Thank you for joining us today to hear all about what we’ve been up to with Android for Cars. We are excited for the road ahead with you.

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