When it comes to technology, Android’s services span far greater than just mobile devices, and Android Auto is no exception.
What Is Android Auto?
Android Auto is essentially Google’s answer to Apple’s CarPlay. It aims to make driving safer, reduce distractions and make in-car infotainment systems easier to use.
Essentially, this software brings all of your favourite smartphone services to your car dashboard by overriding the infotainment system that comes preinstalled on the vehicle.
It mimics the design of the Android mobile OS, so it looks familiar to users and makes the infotainment system easier to navigate while on the road with the help of Google Maps, entertainment like music and podcasts and third-party apps like WhatsApp and Google Hangouts.
However, the main downside is that it doesn’t integrate with your car’s normal functions, so you have to exit the software to adjust the temperature or browse radio stations. But this is a small price to pay for the added benefits.
Is It Safe?
When it comes to safety, it depends who you ask.
According to a 2018 report from the AAA, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is less distracting to drivers than built-in infotainment systems in vehicles. Android Auto drivers recorded 24 per cent faster reaction times than drivers without the service when making a call and 31 per cent faster when using navigation systems.
However, a study from the UK road safety group IAM RoadSmart found that using Android Auto or Apple CarPlay increased the reaction time it took drivers to slam on their breaks by 53% and 57% respectively, which is worse than when under the influence of alcohol or cannabis.
Which Phones Are Compatible With Android Auto?
Android Auto comes preinstalled on any device operating on Android 10 or later.
However, any device running on Android 5.0 or later can download the app from the Google Play Store and access the service.
Devices just need to be able to connect to your car via USB to use Android Auto, unless you have a newer vehicle that supports wireless connections.
Which Cars Have Android Auto?
Over 500 car models support the software, so we’re obviously not going to share the exhaustive list, but brands including Audi, BMW, Ford, Hyundai, Jeep and Kia are all included.
You can view the full list of compatible vehicles on the Android website here.