For starters, Android Auto is getting a new look with a new "dark theme," which likely foreshadows a similar design aesthetic that will come to Android Q on the smartphone side of things. Google says that this darker color palette is "easy on the eyes" and should allow the UI to better blend in with your vehicle's interior (many of which feature black or dark grey upper dashboards and black bezels around the central display). Google also says that it has enhanced the UI with colorful accents and new fonts which help improve visibility.
Android Auto now has an enhanced persistent navigation bar that resides at the bottom of the UI, giving you easy access to media controls and turn-by-turn directions. For example, if you're in the navigation app, you might see media controls at the bottom for Pandora. If you're in the Messages app or Spotify, you'd be able to see the turn-by-directions in the navigation bar for Google Maps. There's also a button on the navigation bar that gives you instant access to the Google Assistant, while the Home button now resides in the bottom left corner.
Other niceties include the ability to get into your car and immediately have your music playback continue and your default navigation of app of choice spring into action. Google also says that in vehicles with larger display screens, Android Auto will now take full advantage of that extra real estate to present additional useful information to the driver.
"The new interface is built to help you get on the road faster, show more useful information at a glance and simplify common tasks while driving," said Rod Lopez, Google's Product Manager for Android Auto.
According to Lopez, Android Auto is currently supported on over 500 individual car models from 50 different brands globally. This latest Android Auto update will begin rolling out to supported vehicles/devices this summer.