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Driving modes have silently become one of the more indispensable features for smartphone users, allowing users to concentrate on the road. But truth be told, few third-party Android apps have been able to take advantage of this data.
This week however Google announced that the so-called Activity Recognition Transition API was being made available to all Android developers.
“We’ve heard from developer after developer that they’re spending valuable engineering time to combine various signals like location and sensor data just to determine when the user has started or ended an activity like walking or driving,” read an excerpt from an official blog post. “Even worse, when apps are independently and continuously checking for changes in user activity, battery life suffers.”
Google adds that the API made its debut on the Pixel 2 smartphones, powering the Driving Do-Not-Disturb feature.
“How can you tell if stillness means the user parked their car and ended a drive or simply stopped at a traffic light and will continue on? Should you trust a spike in a non-driving activity or is it a momentary classification error? With the Transition API, all Android developers can now leverage the same sets of training data and algorithmic filtering used by Google to confidently detect these changes in user activity.”
A few third-party apps have already harnessed the API, using it for accurate mileage tracking and live location sharing. Google adds that the coming months will bring more features to the API, including the ability to differentiate between road and rail travel.
Featured image: Samsung’s Car Mode app