Android Auto is a fantastic tool for making your car’s head unit smarter. Android Auto, as the name implies, extends Android’s familiarity to assist you while driving. It has a simple, distraction-free interface and supports voice commands, allowing you to control in-car entertainment, navigation, calls, and other notifications without having to touch your phone.
Android Auto displays navigation and entertainment apps side by side, allowing you to handle your media without masking the guidance features. It extends apps from your smartphone to your car’s head unit via wired or wireless connections, in addition to allowing you to access calls, texts, and other crucial notifications from your car’s infotainment unit. Any computing or processing takes place on the phone, which requires little from the head unit. As you may think, the primary need for using Android Auto is an Android phone. The five key Android Auto apps that every motorist should consider adopting to improve their driving experience are listed below.
Because Google Maps is the default navigation app on Android, it is also the default map app for Android Auto. The software includes a simple and intuitive design that makes it simple to execute numerous operations, such as searching for a location, initiating and managing routes, or finding utilities such as gas stations along the way. However, it is not the only means to go around.
You can also use one of Google Maps’ competitors, Waze being the best. Despite being owned by Google, Waze differs from Google Maps in several ways. Waze, instead of a minimalist interface, opts for a quirkier and more dynamic appearance via caricaturish icons and vibrant colors.
Waze’s key advantage stems from its social navigation method. Users can report road closures, traffic jams, road conditions, police outposts, gas pricing, and so on. More crucially, this data is updated in real time, and reports may be added directly from the app’s Android Auto version. Google Maps also allows users to report road closures, accidents, or speed cameras, although the information is not immediately available, and the controls are not readily visible on Android Auto.
While both Google Maps and Waze display traffic conditions and alert you to congestion, Waze’s data is more often updated. It prioritizes punctuality and will update the route often to assist save time. Finally, Waze offers a preliminary speed for specific segments based on other users’ journeys, in addition to using different colors to display traffic density.
2. Fuelio and ChargePoint
Fuel is one of the most expensive aspects of owning a vehicle, so it makes sense to look for the most affordable gas stations, especially if you are traveling to a new location. There are numerous apps that will assist you in doing so, but few will adapt to your vehicle’s Android Auto head unit. Fuelio is one of the few fuel price-tracking apps that works on Android Auto, allowing you to track gas prices not only in nearby locations but also at other shops worldwide.
Fuelio allows you to search for stations based on fuel type, such as gasoline, diesel, ethanol, electric power, compressed gas, and even flex fuel. It allows you to record trip-wise costs by accounting for the price, distance traveled, and average fuel economy, in addition to tracking gasoline prices. You can also buy the app’s Pro version, which includes a travel planner that displays filling stations along your intended route and automatically curates the course with the lowest pricing.
Meanwhile, if you’ve already switched from gas-guzzling vehicles to electric vehicles (EVs), ChargePoint is the app for you. It has a simpler UI that provides a map-based view of EV charging spots operated or maintained by the company’s name. You can narrow down the results by charging plug type, select DC fast chargers for a speedy charge, or use the app to find free charging sites managed by your city or community.
3. Scanner Radio
While driving has a romantic connotation in art and pop culture, highways can be dangerous, especially in unfamiliar regions or under unexpected events such as public rioting or treacherous weather conditions. Being aware of current events can thus be beneficial, and in some cases even life-saving. What better method to obtain that information than through the police?
While it is impossible to stay in constant contact with a police officer, especially during stressful situations, you can aid yourself by listening to police radio conversations. However, instead of purchasing pricey radio scanner equipment, you can utilize free apps with the same capabilities.
Scanner Radio is the only police scanner app that is available and useable on Android Auto. Scanner Radio allows you to listen to real-time audio feeds from police agencies, fire departments, air traffic control, amateur radio stations, and other sources. There are several feeds from various nations, and you can search for sources based on your location and rank them by the number of listeners. Active notifications for big events can also be established, which are often activated when more than 2,000 listeners join a stream.
While using a police scanner, keep in mind that, while they are legal throughout the United jurisdictions, a few jurisdictions limit their usage while driving. So, before using Scanner Radio or any other radio scanner software in your vehicle, make sure you understand the state rules.
4. Weather & Radar
It’s usually a good idea to check the weather before going on an outdoor adventure. While several applications will tell you about the temperature, humidity, chances of precipitation, and so on, Weather & Radar provides a unique and comprehensive view in comparison to the majority of them.
Weather & Radar displays precise weather maps with information about rain, thunderstorms, snowfall, wind, and other factors in a colorful and dynamic display. The program displays a chronology of clouds and hot or cold waves traveling over a given place using an interactive map that you can zoom in and out of to change the amount of detail, just as on a weather channel.
You can also see the weather forecast for the following 14 days, including temperatures, wind speed, and predicted humidity for cities all across the world. Finally, features like live notifications and regular news updates make Weather & Radar somewhat practical and useful, especially if you have to drive in poor weather.
When you own a vehicle, you must keep track of a variety of items, including the vehicle’s insurance, numerous on-road levies, the validity of your driver’s license, and so on. Because these things do not have an immediate impact on your driving experience, they can easily slip from your working memory.
As a workaround, we recommend Autovaras, an app that notifies you when your insurance renewal or vehicle tax submission is due. It has an easy-to-use interface that allows you to enter the exact start and end dates for your insurance, road tax, driver’s license, and car inspection. You can set reminders several days — or months, in the case of a driver’s license — before the expiration date to give yourself time to renew or visit the workshop.
Although the app’s layout appears outdated, its large buttons and landscape perspective make it perfect for Android Auto. Expiry dates are displayed in large and strong language on the head unit’s display, making it easy to keep track of them.