A New Google Maps Alternative Is Now Available on Android Automotive

Sygic GPS Navigation on Android Automotive 10 photos
Photo: Sygic
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While the adoption of Android Auto is currently on the rise, Google’s car ambitions also include Android Automotive.
As compared to Android Auto, Android Automotive has one big advantage: it doesn’t require a mobile phone to run, as it’s pre-loaded on the head unit in the car. It’s the operating system powering the entire experience behind the wheel, and as a result, Google’s services are deeply integrated into the software that’s available in these cars.

Android Automotive, however, is still in its early days, and while more and more cars are being launched with this operating system, the number of apps currently available for drivers continues to be rather limited.

This week, however, another big name joined the Android Automotive club.

Navigation software specialist Sygic has announced that its very own GPS navigation solution is now available on Android Automotive, and it can be installed from the Google Play Store just like any other app that’s offered to drivers of these cars.

Android Automotive in Polestar 2
Photo: Polestar
As a fully-featured Google Maps alternative, Sygic GPS Navigation comes with an impressive feature lineup that starts with the typical capabilities of getting you from where you are to where you want to go.

The turn-by-turn navigation is obviously the essential part of the entire experience, but Sygic is also offering detailed voice guidance, traffic information, and speed limit warnings. The traffic data is also used for a feature called predictive routing, which helps Sygic GPS Navigation find a better route for you, as it takes into account the traffic patterns and tries to guess where you could come across bumper-to-bumper traffic.

At the same time, Sygic GPS Navigation comes with offline maps, something that’s available in Google Maps as well. In case you’re wondering why offline maps are so important, it all comes down to where you typically drive.

More often than not, drivers who spend most of their time in city traffic don’t even need offline maps simply because they experience a strong cellular signal all the time. However, those who travel through areas with spotty GPS coverage, tunnels, and so on could end up losing the data connection, in which case the navigation app is no longer capable of offering any guidance.

Android Automotive in Polestar 2
Photo: Polestar
The offline maps allow Sygic GPS navigation to continue operating properly even when this happens.

Sygic, however, says its navigation software would be capable of so much more on Android Automotive. The company says it’s waiting for the required APIs to become available, but sooner or later, its customers would be provided with sign recognition dashcam support, an EV mode, and real-view navigation. Live data for parking, gas stations, and charging options will also be offered.

The EV mode, in particular, will certainly come in handy on Android Automotive, especially as many of the cars currently powered by this operating system come with an electric motor in the first place. Sygic says this feature will allow drivers to see the nearby charging points, check their availability, and even plan a trip to a specific destination by taking into account the range of the car. The app can automatically figure out where the driver needs to stop for a quick recharge and therefore add extra stops to the route.

All in all, it’s pretty clear that Sygic GPS Navigation is a worthy replacement for Google Maps.

The only drawback is that it doesn’t come free of charge. While a 14-day trial is also available, which means you can try out the app at no cost for two full weeks, Sygic GPS Navigation comes with a one-year Premium+ subscription that costs €49.99 in Europe (this is approximately $55 for our American readers).
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
Bogdan Popa profile photo

Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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