Notably, the feature was in its early preview stage for quite some time for Android users in the United States. Cut to now, it is now rolling out in more regions.
Google made the Google Assistant Driving mode in Maps available in English back at I/O 2019. After taking its own sweet time, the feature is now actually available for more Android users.
To be specific, the feature is now rolling out for Android users in Australia, Great Britain, Ireland, India, and Singapore. However, do note that this new driving mode feature in Maps will only be available in English.
The interesting thing here is Google is expanding this feature even though Google Assistant is still in its early preview stage. To enjoy this feature, an Android user needs to be running Android 9 Pie or above and have a device with a minimum of 4GB of RAM.
Talking about the update, it presents a dark bar at the bottom of the screen. There is a microphone in the left corner, while the right opens the app launcher.
Google Assistant Driving Mode also gives access to fullscreen pages for Calls & Messages
The most recently used app will show up in the center, which is usually occupied by the last used media. Tapping on this presents the media controls. Using the controls you can play/pause and skip tracks, etc.
Further clicking on this section opens up the entire controls in fullscreen. The app launcher shows all the apps compatible with Android Auto with big icons.
Moreover, the Driving Mode also gives the user access to fullscreen pages for Calls and Messages. It includes access to frequent contacts and recent conversations.
Before you can go ahead and try out this feature, you need to allow Assistant notifications. This is required to get message notifications and grant access to your phonebook.
Open Google Assistant and say, “Hey Google, open Assistant settings.” A new Settings page will open where you need to go to Transportation > Driving mode and enable the Driving mode option.
Finally, to begin the Assistant driving mode, open the Google Maps application on your Android smartphone and search for a location. Then simply start the navigation.
If the feature is live in your region, then the driving mode feature interface will show up on your phone.