Android Automotive 13 is here, just two months after 12L arrived in cars

It comes with the privacy dashboard, new vehicle properties and more

It’s only been a few months since Android 12L was made available for Android Automotive devices, but given that it’s no longer the new kid on the block, it’s time for another release. Google has released the latest patch notes for its automotive operating system, and while they don’t sound exciting on paper, it shows a real commitment on the company’s part to satisfying automakers and consumers. drivers.

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Esper.io’s Mishaal Rahman spotted the Android Auto 13 release notes this morning. Unlike Android 12L for cars – which included, among other things, a new Quick Commands feature to quickly switch between various options – Android 13 focuses on behind-the-scenes technical changes. If you’re an Android Automotive user hoping for a list of new features, you’ll probably be disappointed. That said, since Google’s platform is designed for automakers to customize specifically for each model, user-facing features will always be scarce.

While there aren’t a ton of changes here, there are a few that are worth highlighting. Several connectivity changes – including ultra-wideband support and Gabeldorsche, a new version of Android’s Bluetooth stack that’s active down to the scan level – made the difference. Android 12’s privacy dashboard made its way to cars with this release, providing a list of sensors used by the vehicle. Google has also added new vehicle properties, including fog lights, electric vehicle charging, and more. Here is the full list of changes:


Camera

  • Android2 Camera API. Allows third-party consumer apps to simultaneously access one or more vehicle cameras without affecting Extended View System (EVS) performance and behavior.
  • List cameras by relative locations. Allows customers to enumerate and open cameras (or video streams) based on relative locations, as well as hardware details (e.g. device node name) hidden from customers.
  • EVS hot plug events. Adds hotplug camera notification and management.

car frame

  • Car frame main line. Added a new car framework module which includes car APIs and car services. This allows the car stack to be updated regardless of Android platform versions.
  • Support driving safety region. Allows apps to specify regions for driving safety and allows the system to specify a region and provide a temporary override.
  • Migrate the HAL vehicle from HIDL to AIDL. The HIDL HAL remains supported but new properties should only be added to the new AIDL HAL vehicle.
  • Supports larger payload and batch calls in VHAL. VHAL can now pass larger payloads through shared memory. Group calls allow more efficient sending of multiple requests.
  • Populating navigation metadata for the cluster. This feature extends the navigation state protocol buffer in the navigation state API with additional fields to describe navigation metadata.
  • Touch mode. Notifications are now detached from focus events in Android 13. In Android 12 and earlier, focus and touch modes are represented by the same native C++ FocusEvent. Touch mode changes are now represented in a new event, TouchModeEvent. This new native event is dispatched to all existing windows, whether they are targeted or not.

Connectivity

  • Enable ultra-wideband (UWB). Provides multi-anchor support to locate UWB beacons with 10cm accuracy.
  • Main Bluetooth integration. Turns Automotive Bluetooth into a module allowing updates independent of Android platform versions. Hidden APIs are being migrated to System APIs with continued support from Google.
  • Gabledorsch. A newer version of the Bluetooth stack is enabled, with support for automotive use cases.
  • Vehicular networking. Adds controls for Ethernet-based networks, including dynamic IP configuration management, network capabilities, application access control lists, and the ability to connect and disconnect networks on the fly.
  • Reference T&Cs. Facilitates the integration of an external telematics computer with Android via HAL telephony.
  • Projection support. Added new API to include VendorElements as part of a product hostapd Configuring the access point.
  • API to get a list of Wi-Fi channels and country codes when Wi-Fi is disabled.

Power

  • Support for suspend to disk. Power off mode to preserve RAM contents. Both suspend-to-disk and suspend-to-RAM are supported.
  • Shutdown process control. Enables sellers to take timely action before and after Garage Mode.

Privacy

  • Authorization template for auto. Changes to the permissions model balance security, privacy, and user experience while driving.
  • Reminder of authorization decision after the journey. Reminds users who parked of permission decisions made while driving.
  • Recent authorization decisions. Recent permission decisions are displayed in privacy settings, allowing users to change permission decisions.
  • Privacy dashboard for the car. Allows users to review recent use of app permissions in privacy settings, including a timeline of events for sensors (such as location, microphone, and camera) and sub-attribution for l using GSMCore.

Sensors

  • New sensor types in the Android sensor framework. Added new Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) sensor types for Limited Axes and Heading to support different sensor configurations and navigation use cases.

Telemetry

  • OEM telemetry. Enables OEMs to use an Android-powered infotainment system to configure and collect in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) and vehicle data.

User Management

  • Improved handling of user lifecycle events. Added a new user lifecycle filter to improve performance and simplify client code.

Vehicle integration

  • New VHAL properties. Added new properties for fog lights, EV charging, trailer, vehicle weight, and wheel ticking.

As Rahman noted on Twitter, these patch notes are specifically for system engineers working with Android Automotive, not general consumers. He’s done a great job of breaking down some of the biggest changes in this latest release, so I strongly suggest you read his in-depth coverage of each change. It’s great to see that even as work on Android Auto slows down, Automotive continues to receive timely OS updates for automakers that rely on it. Whether that’s enough to compete with Apple’s future plans for CarPlay remains to be seen.

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