Turn an old tablet into an Android automotive car system

Turn an old tablet into an Android automotive car system

If you don’t have the latest infotainment system or Android Auto / Apple CarPlay support, there are always custom solutions. Here’s a promising project: installing Android Automotive on an old Android tablet.

Android Automotive on Android Tablet // Source: Mishal Rahman

The evolution of infotainment systems is making many older cars obsolete. If you have a vehicle without Android Auto or Apple CarPlay support and no touchscreen, it’s worth considering custom integrations.

Don’t confuse Android Auto and Android Automotive

At first, we tend to mix everything up, but it’s not that easy with these synonyms. On Android, there are two complementary solutions: Android Auto and Android Automotive. Android Auto is a car-friendly interface and is delivered via your smartphone. Android Automotive is a full-fledged infotainment system that is fully integrated into cars As in Volvo And Renault. Android Automotive will support Android Auto, but Apple CarPlay.

with Android Auto’s latest change, it is interesting to think about an alternative. Here is a project that might interest you. Idea: Use an old tablet or old Android smartphone as an infotainment screen.

Android Automotive on Android Tablet

This is a project led by Esper media journalist Mishal Rahman. He had the idea of ​​integrating Android Automotive, as a system, into an Android tablet. As mentioned in a Twitter thread, Mishal Rahman’s creation runs on a vanilla version of Android Automotive (the most basic version of the operating system) and can be connected to the phone via USB for Android Auto support.

I have converted Galaxy Tab S5e to Android Automotive head unit with Android Auto support👀 https://t.co/AZN9Xm5qX7 pic.twitter.com/SjKhMMlDBm

— Mishal Rahman (@MishalRahman) September 13, 2022

According to Mishal Rahman, everything is working as expected. There are some instabilities including Google Maps crashing. Also, Android Auto seems to only work in wired mode at the moment.

His project could certainly go further by connecting directly to the car via the OBD socket, for example. This OBD socket, usually located under the driver’s steering wheel, is used to diagnose your car. It is also useful for some anti-theft devices. Above all, it makes it possible to retrieve accurate data that appears on the dashboard, including for example the speed of the car.

However, this is not necessarily what was initially intended, using the OBD socket can lead to risks of interference and therefore malfunctions of the on-board computer (BSI). At worst, this can lead to voiding the car warranty.

In short, this project to reuse an old Android tablet is interesting as part of a complete infotainment system. We can imagine a GPS solution, Waze Where Google Maps, plus on-board music control (via Bluetooth or jack), internet access, Google Assistant and more. This does not prevent it from being a customized solution, which is not within everyone’s reach.

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