6 Essentials You Should Know Before Developing a Vehicle App

The market for car applications was somewhat limited up until the moment when automotive companies started showing more interest in such app development. Now the industry and mobile app developers work hand in hand.

Some automotive giants launched significant campaigns to attract IT companies and expand their range of built-in apps. As expected, with the rise of demand, supply increased as well. Developers are now guided by vehicle enterprises, to work together for the future.

Today, the market for connected vehicles is rapidly growing. Their number by 2022 is set to hit 125 million. That’s a 270% increase compared to 2018. It seems to be a revolution of the market, similar to the one smartphones caused when for the telecommunication market.

According to Reuters, the globally connected car market is accounted for $72,95 billion in 2017, and it could reach $280,4 billion by 2026, which is growing at a CAGR of 16,1% during that period. All this shows that in a few years, most cars will have an infotainment system, which needs specialized apps.

Like all other segments of the mobile app market, vehicle apps also have their specific characteristics. Below we’ve listed six essentials you should be aware of before developing a vehicle app.


Maybe, the main difference between the typical mobile apps and automotive ones is the ability to work smoothly in extreme climate conditions such as vibrations, humidity, temperature changes, and high speed.

Paying attention to that is crucial when developing a car app. What’s more, you should always try to deliver, and app that requires minimal participation of the driver, as all kinds of distractions could be dangerous. Safety, of course, is what always comes first for the automotive industry.

Feature Set

First of all, you need to know which set of features would be helpful to the user while driving. Watching videos or gaming wouldn’t be suitable nor relevant due to safety concerns.

To give you an idea of what’s right, the most common features placed into a vehicle app are voice commands, calls or notifications, maps, navigation, radio, or music. Existing app features could be complemented in many ways.

An app that sends location-based notifications could be handy, for instance, when you’re on the go and need to be reminded of a task you have in your schedule. For example, if you have to go to a grocery shop, a voice notification will tell you when your car goes near the shop.

Development Methods

There are a couple of ways of vehicle app development. The choice depends on how we want to run the app. The first one uses platforms like Google CarPlay, and the app is developed based on the car head unit. It could be launched from the dashboard or through a mobile device associated with it.

As of the second one, vehicle applications can be developed using cloud technologies and could run on any device. You’ll only need car data from the cloud, which can be obtained by the manufacturer API.

The percentage of cars sold, which have a built-in connection system is growing each year, and in a few years, we will have multiple options for connecting.

Road to Market

The car app development market still isn’t the most impressive one. Pushing your app to the market won’t get you more than a few million installs on all platforms. Let’s take Pandora, a very popular vehicle app, as an example. It took about three years and more than 30 partnership agreements and all that to reach 4 million users.

Even navigation platforms like HERE WeGo needed a couple of years to hit 10 million. Compared to the hundreds of millions of installs on iOS or Android, such numbers look miserable.

The car app market is a tough place to succeed, so if you’re about to develop such an app, you need to be patient and consistent, and your product needs to be outstanding.


A vehicle app needs to be designed to operate at 100 km/h, literally. Safety concerns around driver distraction, as we already mentioned, are the main thing to consider in vehicle app development. That’s also what makes cars and mobile apps so different.

To create the best UI that wouldn’t distract the driver in any way, you have to expect a learning curve. Of course, it only applies to apps that are used on the go and not to ones that aren’t used while driving. Such non-distracting apps are the only apps that could potentially be used while traveling.


As vehicle apps are rather new, there’s an enormous room for growth. The competition in the niche isn’t strong enough yet, because the automotive apps market is still young. Developers’ principal task in the sphere is not only to provide convenient movement but to take the driving experience to the next level with the help of technologies.

According to the concept of autonomous vehicles, cars will be able to drive themselves pretty soon. It will assess any risks and will even be able to move in heavy traffic. It would provide new opportunities for car app developers. Drivers won’t drive anymore, and there should be a way they could spend their newfound free time.

Automotive technologies are rapidly evolving, which makes more companies looking for ways to enter the market before the competition gets too severe.

Vehicle App Development

The success of your new vehicle app would depend only on you, at least for now. There’s a lot more to talk about when it comes to this emerging industry. However, we’ve listed the essentials you should know before developing your vehicle app.

Look for an established company in automotive software development that could help you out if you want to have the best product possible. The promising future of connected vehicles make any investments in the field reasonable.