Google upgrades its Android car experiences with new features

Android Auto display and phone
(Image credit: Google)

What you need to know

  • Google is highlighting its updated UI for Android Auto, with new capabilities like Google Assistant suggestions, WhatsApp calling, and media scrolling.
  • Android Automotive is gaining more detailed maps and additional media options like YouTube.
  • Digital Key sharing is coming soon to Samsung and Xiaomi phones.

At CES 2023, Google showed off several upgrades for its in-vehicle experiences, like Android Auto and Android Automotive.

With Android Auto, Google says the new Coolwalk UI that has been in preview to select beta testers is finally rolling out to all users. And as part of that rollout, Google is highlighting some new features, such as smart suggestions from Google Assistant to notify users of updates like missed calls, arrival times, and more. Users also gain shortcuts to features like message replies and favorite contacts, so you can spend less time looking at your screen.

Android Auto is also getting some expanded capabilities for media. In addition to the updated media card, users can now jump to their favorite part of a song or podcast with the new progress bar, something Google says has been a top-requested feature. Finally, Android Auto is gaining the ability to make WhatsApp calls from Pixels and Samsung phones.

As for Android Automotive, Google is providing a major boost to navigation with the new HD maps, bringing much more detail to roads, like signs and road markers. The company says this will help enable safer driving and improved navigation for autonomous vehicle systems and will first be available on the Volvo EX90 and Polestar 3. More cars are also expected to gain access to the new Waze app.

Waze on Android Automotive

(Image credit: Waze)

In addition, Android Automotive will soon gain support for YouTube and other media, giving users more ways to entertain themselves when their car is charging.

Finally, Google is expanding the ability to share digital keys, which has been available only on Pixels and iPhones and will soon come to Samsung devices. Xiaomi is also joining in, and its phones will soon be able to use and share keys, although exact availability was not given.

Derrek Lee
News Editor

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.