The latest version of Android OS 13 release notes was published recently, and they indicate that Google spent time revamping the technical background for the newest automotive platform. Android Automotive OS is created for automobile manufacturers to customize panels and dashboards aimed at their drivers for specific models. For this reason, there aren’t many options for frontend features, but Google offers several backend changes in this new version.
A noticeably beneficial feature is the numerous connectivity additions and changes. Bluetooth technology has gone through several generations, and operating systems handle Bluetooth in different ways, some better than others. Android has always had support for Bluetooth via its Fluoride stack, but for years Google has been testing a newer stack called Gabeldorsche (also called “gd” for short). It’s now fully integrated with Android OS 13, so developers can take advantage of the latest version of Bluetooth technology.
The new Gabeldorsche Technology is a complete overhaul of the Bluetooth technology from older versions of Android. Its handler is where most manufacturers and developers will benefit. Handler requires less need for locking, smaller context leads for better management of code flow, and better separation of threads. Developers have more control of the underlying thread allocation using the new handler feature.
Several other connectivity features are added to Android Automotive OS 13. The OS supports Ultra Wide Band (UWB) and offers an API to get a list of Wi-Fi channels and country codes when Wi-Fi is turned off. Another interesting feature is the vehicular networking controls. Android Automotive OS 13 has controls for Ethernet (wired) networks and allows for dynamic allocation of IP addresses, access controls, communications, and the ability to allow users to connect or disconnect from any wired network.
Although Android Automotive OS 13 changes are mostly for backend mechanics, it does have a few UI upgrades. The latest OS version offers projection support for larger screens and has features to make interactions easier for people with larger tablets. Projection support can also be used to display media to a television. Google will offer users a way to find apps that fit their larger screens to assess which ones are best suited for their vehicle display.
L4B Automotive provides support for the integration of all projection technologies such as Android Auto®, CarPlay® and MirrorLink®.
Better Vehicle Integration
Another notable feature added to the latest Android Automotive OS is the vehicle integration controls. The new Vehicle Hardware Abstraction Layer (VHAL) gives OEMs a list of properties that can be obtained from the car’s system. For example, a developer can get the property of a value, and if change modes are allowed.
The new VHAL version is an interface between the application and the vehicle’s various components. It allows developers to write applications that interact with ADAS and EV systems like fog lights, and detect EV charge (New Feature) properties, temperature and HVAC properties, trailer information, sensor data, vehicle weight, and wheel ticks.
Android 13 comes with more refined permission sets of API for example
- Some sensitive data is recorded in sensors around the vehicle, but it requires specific permissions to access it for driver safety reasons.
- Android considers the vehicle’s current speed as sensitive data that could pose harm to the driver, so developers need special permissions to access this information.
Most vehicles offer drivers a map and GPS system on their car’s dashboard. Android Automotive OS 13 includes a map interface so that drivers can get information about their current location and their future destination. The Vehicle Map Service (VMS) offers better versatility for drivers to center console screen to display various information about the vehicle and its map service on a single dashboard.
Miscellaneous Other Additions
Maps, telemetry, Bluetooth technology changes, and other in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) features will mainly benefit OEMs and manufacturers focusing heavily on the development of user-friendly services. Other miscellaneous features are also available in the newest Android Automotive OS, and a few of them are worth noting.
A few other features include:
- Car framework: An overhaul of the mainline car framework adds APIs and car services for developers to poll. The Android system can now be updated independently from the car stack. Several driving safety features were added.
- The vehicle HAL was fully migrated from HIDL to AIDL.
- Power: Several power consumption features help preserve data stored in memory including suspend-to-disk and suspend-to-RAM.
- Driver Privacy: privacy and protection of safety-based sensors were updated. Users can review recent app permission usage and review a timeline of events for each sensor the app obtains. Privacy settings give users an overview of permissions used to make decisions while the user was driving.
- User management: Google improved user lifecycle event management for better performance and simplified client code.
How L4B Can Help
L4B Automotive works with numerous OEMs to build and optimize their Linux & Android IVI Solutions based on our experience in E2E Automotive engineering SDLC. We are working with leading OEMs to migrate their IVI systems to the latest Android Operating System. OEMs can secure and preserve their customer satisfaction with existing and new features by using our secure FOTA (Firmware Over The Air).