Updates to Android Auto: Voice Let’s Drive and Payments Coming

Google is updating driving mode in Android phone and Android Auto in vehicle with more features including voice, payments, navigation and music.

From early feedback, Google learned how important it is to have  go-to apps handy for a drive, even when turn-by-turn navigation is needed.

So coming soon, driver’s well be able to say “Hey Google, let’s drive” (or connect your phone to your car’s Bluetooth) to open the new driving mode dashboard, reducing the need to fiddle with your phone while also making sure you stay focused on the road. With glanceable, tappable cards, the basics needed for the road are available with a single tap — no scrolling required: Start your navigation, see who called or texted recently and quickly resume media from Amazon Music, Audible, iHeartRadio, JioSaavn, Pandora, Podcast Addict, SoundCloud, Spotify, YouTube Music and more providers. Plus, there’s a new messaging update: Just say “​​Hey Google, turn on auto read” to hear new messages read aloud as they come in and to respond by voice.

Driving mode will be the primary experience for Android phones going forward and will fully roll out in the next few weeks for Android phones in English (U.S., Australia, Canada, Ireland, India, Singapore and U.K.), German, Spanish (Spain, Mexico), French and Italian.

Improvements coming to Android Auto on car displays

Google is also launching new features for the more than 100 million cars compatible with Android Auto — bringing help from Google onto your car display via your Android phone.

Shown will be music, news and podcast recommendations from Google Assistant, and be able to set which app launches whenever Android Auto starts. GameSnacks  can be played right from the car’s display while the car is parked,

Dual-SIM Android phone users, can now choose which SIM card to use when making calls through Android Auto.  ​​Android Auto will support your “Work profile,” that let user see upcoming work meetings and messages on your car’s display.

When it’s time to fill up at the gas station, saying, “Hey Google, pay for gas” on Android Auto or from an Android phone. Select the pump number and  complete contactless payment with Google Pay. This will be available at over 32,500 gas stations across the U.S. starting with Exxon and Mobil, Conoco, Phillips 66 and 76 stations.

Honda, will be launching future models with Google built-in starting in 2022. In addition to Honda, this experience will be available on cars from top brands including Ford, General Motors, Polestar, Renault and Volvo Cars.

EV drivers can find charging stations and minimize charging time with Google Maps. Just say, “Hey Google, find me a charging station” to instantly see nearby stations compatible with car, payment type and speed preferences, along with real-time information about whether or not a charger is available. And with new support for thermal battery management, Google Maps saves precious time by helping the car’s battery heat up or cool down before charging reducing the amount of time spent at a charger.