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What’s New in Android Automotive 13

Written by: Sehrish Shoaib, Agile Software Engineer, TribalScale

Android 13 has introduced some changes in Android Automotive OS. Improved features include Car framework, Camera, Connectivity and more.

Many new features have been included in this latest release. However the most significant ones that will be impacting developers are as listed below in order of importance.

Car Framework

Car framework mainline: Through a new APEX module, Android Automotive 13 now supports updating the car stack independent of Android platform versions.

Driving safety region support: Apps on Android Automotive 13 can now specify which “driving safety regions” they support, ie. the regions where they meet all safety regulations.

Touch mode: In Android Automotive 13, changes in touch mode are now represented by a new internal event called TouchModeEvent. With this change in Android 13, changes in touch mode are dispatched against all existing windows regardless of whether they’re focused or not.

Privacy

Post-drive permission decision reminder: Users will get reminders when they park about any recent permission decisions they made while driving. A notification that states “while driving, you gave <app> access to <permission[s]>” will appear with a button that says “check recent permissions.”

Recent permission decisions: In privacy settings, the user will see a list of recent permission decisions they made, regardless of whether it happened while driving or when parked.

Privacy dashboard: The privacy dashboard feature, introduced on handhelds in Android 12, has been added to Android Automotive 13. Through the privacy dashboard, users can review a timeline of events for sensors (location, microphone, and camera) and sub-attribution for Google Play Services usage.

Connectivity

Enable Ultra-Wideband (UWB): Android Automotive 13 adds support for ultra-wideband, enabling “multi-anchor support for locating UWB tags with an accuracy of 10cm.”

Bluetooth mainline integration: Android’s Bluetooth stack has been turned into a Project Mainline module so that security updates can be pushed more quickly and implementation fragmentation can be reduced.

Bluetooth Gabeldorsche: Google says that a newer version of the Bluetooth stack is now in use in Android Automotive 13. This new Bluetooth stack is called Gabeldorsche and it has actually been in testing since Android 11.

Ethernet-based networks: Android Automotive 13 adds controls for Ethernet-based networks, including dynamic management of IP config, network capabilities, app access control lists, and the ability to toggle networks on the fly.

Improved projection support: Android Automotive 13 adds an API to include VendorElements as part of a generated hostapd AP configuration. Basically what this means is that, when a wireless AP is created by an Android Automotive device, the vendor-specific information elements of that device and its WiFi chip can be included. As for why this is done, it’s related to improving support for projecting Android Auto from a phone to an Android Automotive head unit, something which is possible using Android’s CarProjectManager API and the Android Auto Receiver app on head units with Google Automotive Services installed.

  • Android Automotive further improves this use case by creating a new “Automotive Projection” device profile. Apps can use Android’s CompanionDeviceManager API to request to be associated with a particular Automotive head unit that supports projection when the device connects to it.
  • New API to get a list of Wi-Fi channels and country codes when Wi-Fi is off.

Camera

Android camera2 API: Third-party apps can now access one or more vehicle cameras concurrently without impacting the Extended View System (EVS).

Enumerate camera devices by relative locations: Clients can enumerate and open camera devices (or video streams) according to relative locations. Hardware details such as the device node name will be hidden from clients.

EVS hotplug events: Android Automotive 13 supports notifying and handling the hotplugging of camera devices, ie. unplugging and plugging in an external camera.

Power

Suspend-to-disk: Android Automotive 13 adds support for a new “suspend-to-disk” power-off mode that preserves the contents of memory to the non-volatile storage device instead of to volatile RAM, ie. suspend-to-RAM (deep sleep).

Sensors

New sensor types: Android adds support for two new Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) sensor types: Limited Axes and Heading.

Telemetry

OEM telemetry: OEMs can now use an Android-powered infotainment system to “configure and collect In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) and vehicle data.”

User Management

Improved user lifecycle events management: A new user lifecycle filter has been added to improve performance and simplify client code.

For more information about our Android Automotive capabilities, click here to speak with one of our experts.

Sehrish is an Agile Software Engineer at TribalScale working on innovative and futuristic Android apps. She has a Masters degree in Computer Engineering and is greatly passionate about working on the UI side of Android. She loves writing code and building innovative apps. Outside of work she is an avid reader who loves books and libraries!

TribalScale is a global innovation firm that helps enterprises adapt and thrive in the digital era. We transform teams and processes, build best-in-class digital products, and create disruptive startups. Learn more about us on our website. Connect with us on Twitter, LinkedIn & Facebook!

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