Android Auto Receiver lets you run Android Auto from your phone on an Android Automotive head unit
Android Automotive 13, the latest version of Google’s OS for in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems, is here. It brings several behind-the-scenes improvements to the camera subsystem, car framework, connectivity, privacy, and more. One of the changes listed as part of the connectivity improvements recently confirmed that Google enabled the Gabeldorsche Bluetooth stack by default in Android 13. Now, another connectivity improvement in the changelog has brought a handy app called Android Auto Receiver to light.
Android Auto Receiver is an app for Android Automotive head units that lets you run Android Auto from your phone on an Android Automotive IVI system (via Mishaal Rahman). If you’re wondering why Google offers such an app, its Play Store listing suggests that it can come in handy in scenarios where you want access to your data without setting up the car’s built-in infotainment system or don’t have access to certain apps/updates on the Android Automotive head unit.
Android Automotive 13 brings improved projection support, and you may be wondering, what the heck is that for? Fun fact: Google actually offers an app called Android Auto Receiver that lets you run Android Auto from your phone on an AAOS head unit.
— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) August 24, 2022
For instance, if you’re driving a rental car and want to access your data on its Android Automotive head unit, you can download Android Auto Receiver from the Play Store and project Android Auto from your phone onto the IVI system. That’s a pretty niche use case, given that Android Automotive head units are still not mainstream. But with an increasing number of car manufacturers adopting Android Automotive, the app might soon gain popularity.
As for the connectivity improvements related to Android Auto Receiver in the Android Automotive 13 changelog, the release adds an “API (and a CTS test) to include VendorElements as part of a generated hostapd AP configuration.” As Rahman explains, the changes streamline Android Auto projection on an Android Automotive head unit by enabling several required permissions, including “ones to create a virtual display device, keep that virtual display always unlocked, interface with the microphone, location, contacts, call log, etc.”
If you already own a car with an Android Automotive head unit and want to try out the Android Auto Receiver app, there is some bad news. Rahman reveals that the app can only be installed on builds that “declare com.goog.android.car.feature.AARECEIVER.” This currently only applies to the official Android Automotive OS emulator and IVIs with Renault’s openR link system.