Google's released the Android Auto app, a vital component to sending data from your Android smartphone to your car... assuming you have a compatible head-unit.

Back at Google I/O 2014 we first heard about Google's plans to put their operating system inside vehicles through Android Auto, but it's taken a while to actually get the system working out in the public. Getting Android Auto working in your vehicle will require two components. The first piece of the puzzle is an Android 5.0 or higher device running the just-released Android Auto app, the is a compatible head-unit in your car.

The app enables your phone to pass navigation, communication, and audio back-and-forth to your Android Auto head-unit:

  • Navigation with Google Maps - Free turn-by-turn navigation with lane guidance, live traffic conditions, points of interest, and more
  • Hands-free phone and messaging - Make calls and send messages without taking your hands off the wheel
  • Info and assistance - Get weather, traffic, commute information and more organized into simple cards
  • Bring your music - Listen to your music and playlists in the car with your built-in stereo system

Pioneer was one of the the first in the US to bring a compatible head-unit to market, but Google has other partners lined up with devices releasing this year as well. Developers are now able to submit their Android Auto-compatible apps for review to Google Play. Google will be adding an Android Auto collection to make compatible apps quick and easy to find.

But for now, we've finally got the software piece of the puzzle necessary to make Android Auto actually work.