New Android Auto feature will help if your car gets stolen

Okay Google, find my car…

Volvo XC40 Recharge and Android Automotive
(Image credit: Volvo)

Android Automotive, an advanced version of Android Auto which is deeply integrated into vehicles could be getting some useful features if a recent leak is to be believed.

We recently tried Android Automotive in the Volvo XC40 and were super impressed by how well the system was integrated with the rest of the car. This is because, unlike Android Auto, which is an app that runs on your car's infotainment system, Android Automotive is the entire operating system.

Best of all, unlike Android Auto, you don't need a smartphone plugged in (or even present in the car). Your user profile is stored on the system.

Despite infotainment and safety systems get smarter one thing will remain unchanged – your vehicle is a high-value item that thieves are likely to target. So whether your car is being hacked into to unlock the doors, or, more simply, your car keys get taken in a home burglary. There is a threat that your car, along with your precious Google account details, could get stolen.

Of course, car manufacturers know this is an issue and that's why some cars are now fitted with tracking and immobilising systems, but Google knows this is a problem too, so the company has started work on a new feature that would be useful if your car gets stolen.

An APK teardown of Google's Find My Device app reveals the brand wants you to be able to remotely delete your data from a stolen vehicle, just like you would be able to do on an Android phone.

This would not only stop the thieves from learning about your musical tastes and favourite internet radio station, but also your personal details and home address.

In theory, you'll be able to connect to your Google account remotely, lock the profile, and then only allow a connection as long as the password is provided. 

Furthermore, Google wants to force a profile lock even if the car is offline, with the access restricted when the engine is started.

In the future, we could even see your car's GPS position added to the find my phone app, allowing law enforcement to track it down, with the option to shut down the system completely, essentially bricking the car.

Of course, for the time being, Google has only just started testing this feature, so there's no telling how long it will take to reach public release, if at all. We really hope to hear more soon.

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Spencer Hart
Style and Travel Editor

As the Style and Travel Editor at T3, Spencer covers everything from clothes to cars and watches to hotels. Everything that's cool, stylish, and interesting, basically. He's been a part of T3 for over seven years, and in that time covered every industry event known to man, from CES and MWC to the Geneva Motorshow and Baselworld. When he's driving up and down the country in search of the greatest driving roads, he can be found messing around on an electric scooter, playing with luxury watches, or testing the latest fragrances.