Waze gets a dedicated Android Automotive app

Google has released a dedicated Waze app for Android Automotive. The popular navigation app rolls to “select cars with built-in Google,” the company announced Tuesday on the Waze blog. A broader rollout is planned for 2023.

For those who don’t know, Android Automotive is different from Android Auto. The latter is a mobile app that allows you to project a custom interface onto your car’s dashboard. It offers large touch targets and gives you access to navigation and music apps. Thanks to Google Assistant support, everything is accessible via voice commands, including calls and messages. As Google says, Android Auto helps you keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.

Android Automotive does the same job but doesn’t require a phone app. The fully advertised version of Google’s car platform is an operating system for your car’s dashboard. It can run apps natively without a phone connection. Security concerns mean support is limited to navigation and media apps, with the latter only being able to use a specific interface provided by Google. Because of this, Android Automotive currently only supports 37 apps, all of which are listed here.

As you can see, Android Automotive already supports Google Maps. However, Google’s other major navigation app Waze, despite its availability on Android Auto, hasn’t been available since July 2017. This was a huge disappointment for Waze users and the company is finally fixing it. According to Google, the Waze Android automotive experience includes “real-time routing, navigation, and alerts, as well as settings, preferences, and saved places,” all built into the car’s display.

Waze for Android Automotive will initially have a limited release

As previously mentioned, the Waze Android Automotive dedicated app will initially have a limited release. Google announced the app in partnership with Renault, keeping it exclusive to some of the French manufacturer’s electric vehicles (EVs). Namely the Renault Austral Hybrid and the Renault Megane E-Tech. European users of these two electric vehicles have access to the Waze app on their car’s dashboard.

According to Aron Di Castro, Waze’s director of marketing and partnerships, the Android Automotive for the navigation app will be available to “more users around the world” over the next year. However, he did not give a more precise time frame. Hopefully, the company won’t keep users waiting well into 2023. Once available, users can download the app to their car display from the Google Play Store.