Do Android Auto and Android Automotive OS are the same thing?

Android Automotive OS (AAOS) is a version of Android OS that Google has customized to run in the car. While Google has unfortunately named these products with very similar-sounding names, they’re about as different as they could be.

Android Auto is Google’s equivalent of Apple CarPlay – a projection solution that lets the phone “take over” the infotainment display. While the core software application runs on the phone, it still requires the automaker to have important software components on their infotainment system to support Android Auto projection technology and many other vehicle infotainment functions.

Android Automotive runs directly on cars

It runs directly in the car and doesn’t need a phone. Although it replaces a traditional automotive infotainment software stack, it isn’t an “aftermarket” load that can be dropped into any car. The car infotainment system must still be designed and built to run AAOS and other automaker applications. Google provides this as an option for automakers who want a pre-integrated infotainment stack baseline software package so that automakers can customize it and leverage the Android tools and developer ecosystem.

support Google Maps

AAOS doesn’t include core Google applications, like Google Maps, Google Assistant, and Google Play store by default. Automakers can choose to supply their own navigation applications, voice assistants, and application stores. If they want to use Google’s apps and tap into the Google Play app ecosystem, then they’ll need to license Google Automotive Services (GAS) too – Said the author