Android Automotive gets a big upgrade with Waze navigation

Google-owned app comes to Android Automotive system of Renault in Europe

Waze for Android Automotive
(Image credit: Google)

Waze is now available as a native navigation app for cars, where it can be accessed without connecting a smartphone.

The Google-owned app is available to download from the Play store of Android Automotive, the infotainment system baked into some cars, which runs without connecting a phone to the vehicle.

Google Maps is already available in Android Automotive, where it is the default navigation app. But for those who prefer the crowd-sourced mapping abilities of Waze, they can now access it by logging into the car, or by creating a new Waze account via the dashboard display.

For those unfamiliar with Android Automotive, it is not to be confused with Android Auto. The latter, which recently received a major update, is an app that runs on a smartphone connected to a car, then displays a phone-like interface on the vehicle’s dashboard touchscreen. The former is a platform that acts as the car’s own infotainment system and runs without a smartphone, using the vehicle's 4G or 5G data connection.

But, while Waze coming to Android Automotive is good news for the system, which currently doesn’t offer many native applications, it’s only offered on two cars at launch. These are the new Renault Austral hybrid and Renault Megane E-Tech electric car, and for now only examples sold in Europe will be able to access Waze.

This is likely to change over time, and we expect to see Waze on more vehicles with Android Automotive, like those from Polestar and Volvo, in due course.

Waze for Android Automotive is available now, and is free to download from your car’s Play store, or from the My Renault smartphone app.

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.