Reference designs

Android Automotive OS (AAOS) includes 2 fully built, customizable reference designs, accommodating both portrait and small landscape screens.

This section provides UX details for these two reference designs, which optimize the AAOS system UI for portrait and small landscape screens. For more about the features of the reference designs and how to choose between them, see below.

Choose a reference design

Car makers typically choose which reference design to use based on the display format they're designing for: portrait or small landscape. The 2 reference designs share many design goals and features, with the larger format of the portrait screen providing space for some extra capabilities.


Both reference designs:

  • Include essential UI features such as navigation bar, status bar, and media controls
  • Accommodate a range of screen configurations, adjusting for size, reachability, aspect ratios, shapes, and number of displays. These designs also accommodate various input methods and angles and bends on displays.
  • Allow customizations that reflect the car maker's brand and the configurations of specific car models, while allowing some screen elements to showcase app branding.


The main functional difference between the designs is that the portrait reference design has space for more multitasking options. It can simultaneously display a navigation app, a second app, and media controls. More features are summarized below.

Small landscape reference design Potrait reference design
Small landscape design example
Portrait design example

Key features:

  • Optimized for smaller displays
  • Prioritizes a single-app experience (full frame)
  • Limited mutitasking via Home screen
  • Rotary enabled

Key features:

  • Optimized for portrait displays
  • Multliple-app experience, so navigation remains present
  • Robust multitasking, with media controls always available
  • Available starting in Android 14
For more details, see Small landscape reference design. For more details, see Portrait reference design.