Android Auto is a platform that brings a stripped-down version of Google Android to in-car entertainment systems, allowing you to use Google Maps for navigation, Google Play Music (or third-party apps) to listen to tunes, and voice commands to make phone calls or compose or listen to text messages.

Not satisfied with the default behavior of Android Auto? Soon you might be able to replace the software that came with your device with a custom ROM.

A group of developers have figured out how to make Pioneer NEX Android Auto head units boot from an SD card, which opens the door to running custom ROMs installed on SD cards.


Details are available at the AVIC411 forum, along with instructions for setting up your Pioneer NEX unit to boot from an SD card.

Note that the process will take a little time, and you do run the risk of breaking your device if you don’t follow the instructions correctly.

Not only does this open the door to running custom versions of Android Auto on devices that shipped with the software, but it could also let users install Android Auto on Pioneer NEX units that don’t normally run Google’s software.

There aren’t any custom ROMs yet, but this paves the way for developers to create their own versions of Android Auto that may have apps or features which wouldn’t otherwise be available. But here’s the thing: some of the limitations included in Android Auto are there for good reasons.

For example, there’s no video player… because it would be rather distracting to have videos playing in you dashboard while you’re driving. And if you’ve used custom ROMs before, you know that some can truly improve the performance of a phone, tablet or other device… and others can be horribly buggy and crash-prone. That’s not something you’d want to find out while using Google Maps to navigate through unknown territory.

So what do you think? Custom ROMS for Android Auto: a good idea or a dangerous one?

[polldaddy poll=”9023371″]

via Android Central

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7 replies on “Would you run an Android Auto custom ROM in your car?”

  1. Not as long as car brands can’t separate the CAN bus for vehicle controls from the entertainment system…

  2. This will end up being a much different thing than ROMs on phones. There are safety and perhaps legal concerns with the controls on car systems. I think you’ll see either Google or car companies or regulators or all of the above put a foot on the throat of this.

    1. I agree, but there’s not much you can do in preventing people mucking around and hacking into any computer system especially when they have physical access to it. For example, for years people have been flashing their cars with custom tunes to increase horsepower, even though car companies forbid it.

      1. I believe the worry is about someone from the outside hacking the vehicle if it’s using a insecure OS… Like the news of the recent car recalls because of the revealed wireless hacks that was shown to give remote access to most of the car systems, at least for certain models, including the brakes…

        While, Morris has a point about the internal systems should be separate from the entertainment system not all these systems properly compartmentalize the systems and this is more true now that they’re starting to digitize the dashboard and other systems.

        Unfortunately, budgeting for someone to come along and thwart the best efforts of your software engineers to protect a system is not a high priority in many car companies.

        The main problem is cars are increasingly becoming more and more wireless from things like a wifi enabled tire sensor to mobile Internet access and this increasingly gives alternate means for hackers to hack the car systems externally without needing physical access.

        Along with more and more of the internal systems being interconnected and under computer control…

        Though, the number of people who will flash custom ROMs are rather small, most people don’t even do that for their phones, let alone go through the trouble to flash their car system. Even most who custom tune their car usually just hire someone else to do it…

        But worry aside, media attention is on this now and that will likely prompt car companies to put at least a little more emphasis on security and we’ll see how vulnerable or secure other car models are in the coming years…

    2. Easy enough, just build the danged cars correctly. If the IVE system CAN cause safety issues then they did it wrong. There should be no possibility of the IVE system gaining access to life critical systems in the vehicle. Other than idiots playing video on them while driving of course, but that is just stupid and stupid really has to hurt.

    3. Why? I now have a car stereo with Android in my car. I use a custom ROM on it and I love it. Of course it has some problems as every Chinese device but overall it is still perfect.

      I don’t see how can anybody force me not to use a video player in it. It can even connect to a DVB-T receiver.

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