Android IVI – Understanding Google Automotive Services (GAS)

Understanding Android Google Automotive services  

Researchers estimate that there will be 36 million new vehicles shipped with Android Infotainment systems by 2030. It’s clear that OEMs should focus more on delivering high-end in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems that interact with drivers and their cars. To seamlessly and effectively provide driver apps, the path from idea to deployment requires the right partner who understands Google Automotive Services, the Android Open-Source Project (AOSP), the Android Automotive OS, developer restrictions, and the intricacies of OEM contracts with Google.  

 

Android Automotive vs. Google Automotive Services 

It’s simple for any service provider to obtain the open-source code for Android Automotive OS and develop apps. Still, Google Automotive Services is a key component to creating robust driver tools that leverage the Google apps users are familiar with. Some OEMs choose to use Android Automotive OS without Google Automotive Services, but this can limit developer access to some of Google’s driver applications and services. Without Google Automotive Services (GAS), automotive software developers must manually custom the automotive services HAL (hardware abstraction layer) that interfaces with the vehicle’s functions such as the radio tuner, sound routing, and HVAC controls.  

To harness the additional features available in Google Automotive Services and get support from Google, it’s necessary for car manufacturers to find a partner who can guide them towards proper support. OEMs need the right licensing to get full engineer support, which requires a direct contract with Google. For example, developers are free to fork (a prerequisite for Google Automotive), the responsibility for maintaining the code as Google releases updates to the Android trunk is on the OEM. There has been some confusion in the industry over the core differences between Android Automotive OS and Google Automotive Services, so here is what you need to know:  

  • Both codebases can be forked, but customized extensions and forks must be maintained by developers.  
  • The Android OS is the core code, but GAS contains Google Play and Developer Apps, Google Maps, Google Assistant, Google Sign-in, and several others. Projects requiring Google features require licensing.  
  • Licensed Google Automotive Services products come with engineering support, but support is not guaranteed with just the OS.  
  • Google Automotive Services (GAS) requires a contract with Google and comes with specific terms that manufacturers must follow.   

  

Partnering with L4B to Customize IVI Systems for OEMs  

L4B has worked in all stages of the software development lifecycle for embedded Android systems since 2009. Integrating Google Automotive Services into a vehicle infotainment system requires a partner that can bridge the gap between the different layers of the OS.   

We offer a myriad of custom OS and software modules that integrate with the Android Automotive OS and Google Automotive Services. We create customized solutions for our customers, supporting remote software updates and enhancements that can be delivered to driver systems using over-the-air (OTA) updates.  

Open-source software facilitates collaboration between developers and automotive manufacturers, making the Android open-source project a viable solution for customized in-vehicle applications. L4B can address developer challenges, including lifecycle management, security, engineering support, compliance, and facilitation for faster speed to market. 

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