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220px-Google Auto in usage

The most common way Android cars support is deployed is via an Android mobile device running the Android Auto app, acting as a slave to a vehicle's dashboard head unit that supports this functionality. Once the user's Android device is connected to the vehicle, the head unit will serve as an external display for the Android device, presenting supported software in a car-specific user interface provided by the Android Auto app. In Android Auto's first iterations, the device was required to be connected via USB to the car.

Alternatively, in November 2016, Google added the option to run Android Auto as a regular app on an Android device, i.e., not tethered to a car's head unit, which allows for its usage on Android-powered head units, or simply on the user's personal phone or tablet in the vehicle. In addition, on January 1, 2018, it was announced that JVCKenwood would be exhibiting wireless Android Auto-enabled head units at CES 2018, which would be capable of operating without the need for a wired connection. Apple offers CarPlay for similar functionality with Apple devices.

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