Android Auto redesigns voice replies and Assistant ahead of AI additions

Taking a Zoom call on Android Auto
(Image credit: Google)

What you need to know

  • Android Auto's latest 11.12 beta version redesigns voice replies and Assistant in its UI.
  • Drivers using the voice reply feature will find a new UI at the bottom (or side) of their display, showing the person they're messaging, app, and transcription.
  • The Assistant will now cover the bottom row of app icons when activated instead of popping out over a driver's display.

Android Auto is receiving yet another redesign, but this time, it involves its AI Assistant and tools for messaging while driving.

As detailed by 9to5Google, the changes were spotted in Android Auto's latest beta: version 11.2. The update reworks voice replies by showing them horizontally in the bottom row of your car's display, covering your widgets. Google Assistant previously handled all of this, but the redesigned UI shows the person you're messaging and the app you're communicating with.

Users can speak during the "Speak Now" prompt as the AI transcribes their words. Google seemingly gives users the option to "Cancel" if the AI heard them wrong alongside a "Send" option if everything's okay.

9to5 states that users with larger displays should see the UI horizontally while those with smaller ones will be forced into vertical mode. The reworked UI is also said to be completely present in this reconfigured vertical mode, as well.

The other side of this redesign involves Google Assistant on Android Auto, which echoes its appearance on Android phones. Replacing your app icons at the bottom, the Assistant's new UI shows a "Listening" banner when activated or a "Hi, how can I help you?" line if you don't speak right away. Much like with voice replies, the Assistant will transcribe what you've said and display it promptly at the bottom of your display for review.

The publication adds the Assistant will say its reply aloud, forgoing any written replies in its new UI. Moreover, similar to voice replies, Google Assistant may appear vertically along the side of your screen if your car's display prefers.

Despite these changes appearing in Android Auto's 11.12 beta update, 9to5 speculates they're not tied to a "specific app version." If it is true, users may begin noticing the update on their devices weeks ahead.

Google has been busy refining Android Auto as a discovery earlier in January showed signs of text message summaries. The AI Assistant would do the heavy lifting, reading aloud a summary of a driver's busy group chat or a lengthy message someone sent. Additionally, the bot's summary would be displayed on your car's display and it could utilize the revamped UI update we're seeing now.

Soon after, Google was at CES 2024 to debut better EV integration and Chrome for Android Automotive, which had already started rolling out for select vehicles.

Nickolas Diaz
News Writer

Nickolas is always excited about tech and getting his hands on it. Writing for him can vary from delivering the latest tech story to scribbling in his journal. When Nickolas isn't hitting a story, he's often grinding away at a game or chilling with a book in his hand.