The Google Assistant Driving mode that the company first announced in 2019 has started appearing on some Android devices, XDA-Developers reported. The UI looks somewhat different from what Google showed at its I/O developers conference last year. XDA says it first noticed something was coming about two weeks ago, when users reported seeing a new navigation interface in Google Maps.
It’s not clear whether the rollout of this new mode is part of a test or will be coming for all users. Mishaal Rahman at XDA said he saw the new driving mode on a Google Pixel 4, an Asus ZenFone 7 Pro, and an LG Velvet, and he surmises that the new mode will replace the Android Auto app on smartphones. That seems consistent with what Google told The Verge last year.
Whether the new mode will include all the features Google described when it first unveiled the driving mode also isn’t yet clear. It was meant to be available on any Android phone with Assistant, using a “Hey Google, let’s drive” voice prompt that would bring up a dashboard with driving-relevant activities and other personalized recommendations. And it would provide infotainment features to drivers whose vehicles aren’t equipped with touchscreen displays.
The voice prompt doesn’t appear to work yet even on devices enabled with the new mode, according to Android Police. To see if your device has Assistant Driving Mode, open Google Maps and from the navigation settings menu, and select “Google Assistant settings.” If it’s not enabled, you’ll be taken to the main Assistant settings section.
A Google spokesperson didn’t respond to questions seeking more information about driving mode, but wrote in an email to The Verge Sunday: “We’re constantly experimenting with ways to make Assistant more helpful.”
Update October 18th, 4:49PM ET: Added comment from Google spokesperson.