Android Automotive and Google Maps are coming to many more cars this year

The phone-free infotainment system with Google Assistant baked in is spreading beyond Volvo and Polestar

android automotive polestar 2
(Image credit: Polestar)

One of the key features of the Polestar 2 that sets it apart from the crowd is its Android Automotive infotainment system. Not to be confused with Android Auto, which is powered by an Android phone connected to your car, Android Automotive is an all-new infotainment system built by Google – and it’s about to come to more cars in 2021.

During its annual I/O developer conference, held online due to the pandemic, Google said how Android Automotive will appear on more than 10 new car models by the end of 2021.

Android Automotive already appears on the Polestar 2, pictured above, as well as the Volvo XC40 and XC60. It was also already known before I/O that the system will appear on the new all-electric Hummer, too.

Now, Google says it will be available in over 10 further car models, from Volvo, General Motors and Renault, before the end of 2021. Google was speaking about the US market, but we expect to see Android Automotive appear on the UK and European variants of these vehicles too, where available.

Android Automotive doesn’t require a smartphone to function. Instead, it is the car’s own infotainment system, and it features the Google Assistant for ‘hey Google’ voice control, Spotify for music streaming via the car’s own 4G data connection, Google Maps for navigation and the Google Play Store for downloading extra apps.

Unlike Android Auto, Android Automotive can tap into vehicle functions like the climate control and heated seats, so you can ask Google Assistant to adjust the cabin temperature without touching a single control. The Google Assistant works just as it does on a smart speaker at home, so you can ask it about the news and weather forecast, check your calendar, play music, make phone calls and even control your smart home devices while on the road.

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Alistair Charlton

Alistair is a freelance automotive and technology journalist. He has bylines on esteemed sites such as the BBC, Forbes, TechRadar, and of best of all, T3, where he covers topics ranging from classic cars and men's lifestyle, to smart home technology, phones, electric cars, autonomy, Swiss watches, and much more besides. He is an experienced journalist, writing news, features, interviews and product reviews. If that didn't make him busy enough, he is also the co-host of the AutoChat podcast.