Google is working on an Android Automotive Emulator for the Android SDK
Google appears to be working on an Android Automotive Emulator for developers to use when developing applications for Android Automotive. For those unfamiliar with Android Automotive, it’s like Android Auto. The difference is, with Android Auto your phone pairs with your car, and while some applications can be displayed on a screen, technically your car isn’t actually running Android. Android Automotive is different and is a full-fledged Android operating system for your car. It can control sensors, run applications and just, in general, have tighter integration with your car than Android Auto can.
Not many people know about it, but it’s slowly gaining traction. Only a few days ago we found that Google is also working on a Chrome OS emulator for the Android SDK. It’s unsurprising that Google is introducing an Automotive emulator, as most people won’t have an Android Automotive car to test their applications on. If you’re doing stuff with sensors in a car from your application, using an emulator will probably be safer! Just like you can run Android on your computer, you should be able to run Android Automotive on your computer and interact with the virtual sensors as if it were a real car.
Two commits in the AOSP source code indicate the release of the emulator. One states the tag for Android Automotive image folders has been created, and the other mentions a test for “oc-car-m1″ emulator images. This likely stands for “Android Oreo Maintenance Release 1”, possibly being Android 8.1. If this is the case, then it’s likely we may see an emulator around the time Android 8.1 launches.
Even just for people wanting to play around with it, it may be fun to install it and try it out. It’s unlikely we’ll be seeing many cars with it anytime soon, so when the factory images drop you can give it a try without spending a few thousand on a brand new car!