There is a lot of confusion surrounding Android Automotive OS (AAOS) and Android Open-Source Project (AOSP). The two Android versions are often used interchangeably but represent different platforms and approaches. The one you choose for your automotive In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) project will greatly affect the customization and control of all SW components and future maintenance scope. Regardless of your choice, L4B Automotive will provide you with a secure environment for automotive manufacturers that need Android applications to give their vehicles a competitive edge. Here is a brief breakdown of the two and their differences, explaining why an IVI-based on AOSP solution would be the right choice for your product.
Differences Between AOSP and AAOS
First, let’s define AOSP. AOSP is a skeleton Android version available for open-source communities, including automotive OEMs. The main benefit is that OEMs can download the AOSP source- code and build their own custom IVI product because it’s skeleton/bare bone, and it’s a good foundation for manufacturers that need a jumpstart on developing their branded applications.
Lately, Google introduced AAOS as an added propriety layer to AOSP. Google includes several standard Android-related components that users will recognize, including Google Assistant, Google Navigation, Google Play Store, and other branded google-specific application services.
It might seem like the obvious choice for automotive manufacturers is to work with AAOS. Still, the downside is that now you need to purchase licenses for Google-made packaged applications, and you have minimal ability for customization.
The main communication between Android application layers towards Car Services and Communication Stack can be established only via Car-Manager Library (https://developer.android.com/reference/android/car/packages).
Packaged AAOS products are branded as Google Automotive Services (GAS), and you might need to purchase a license for this GAS layer (the equivalent package in mobile phone is the GMS services from Google).
Because AAOS is a component running on AOSP, both platforms give your IVI the same security updates, architecture, and capabilities that you get out-of-box from Android.
In both cases, any custom applications built on AOSP would need their own security patches and version upgrades that can be provided by Tier1 Supplier like L4B with an LTS (Long Term Support) Contract.
Note that Google also has a product named Android Auto (App). This application is unrelated to commercial manufacturing. It’s an end-user smartphone application that connects to the vehicle’s IVI, usually via USB or Wi-Fi.
Why & When Should You Choose AOSP?
Both platforms run on the Linux kernel, which is valid for any Android-based system. Even with AAOS, you still have room to customize and build your own applications, but you must incorporate licensing costs if you work with GAS. Google also has several newer applications, such as a skeleton for a media center for music, a dialer, a notification center, and remote control of car settings.
AAOS might be a better choice for OEMs that only want to offer the basics. Vehicles with AAOS have the basic Android interface users will recognize.
AOSP is a good choice for a much more customized IVI without the expensive Google licensing requirements. AOSP starts with basic Android automotive features, and developers build on the bare-bones code. With this said, you can have a minimal AOSP-based IVI without any GMS/GAS or other Google-related packages that can be replaced with your own proprietary services designed by L4B. It’s beneficial for manufacturers that want to build an IVI from the ground up and fully customize all features and low-level components.
It’s important to note that both AAOS and AOSP can be modified and customized to fit your own manufacturing brand requirements. Still, AAOS comes with more Google APIs and features, whereas AOSP spares much more room for customization and provides a foundation for a wholly branded IVI system. AOSP will require more expertise, but on the other hand, L4B Automotive works with the leading automotive OEMs and will provide you with the most suitable platform to build a complete solution for your product.
Building Solutions with L4B Automotive
Whether you decide to work with AAOS or AOSP, L4B Automotive works with numerous automotive manufacturers to build custom solutions that improve their IVI and keeps drivers secure. We help keep your products updated and secure for driver safety and satisfaction. Additionally, L4B Automotive provides a complete custom Android package with a Back-End Support (Management System), including FOTA (Firmware-Over-The-Air) Update Services, Keep-Alive Services, Geolocation, and Push-Messaging Services as an End-To-End (E2E) solution.
Contact us to discuss your next IVI project.