Google Maps, it’s official: Assistant Driving Mode is here, how it works

About a year and a half after the announcement Google officially releases the Assistant Driving Mode, i.e. the Google Maps Driving Mode.

After months and months of waiting, the new "Assistant Driving Mode", i.e. the Google Maps "Driving Mode", is finally being released. Announced in August 2019 during the Google I/O conference, this feature promises to transform the experience of using your smartphone for the better while driving a non-smart car or, at least, not compatible with Android Auto.

The Driving Mode, in fact, is a kind of reproduction of the Android Auto interface on the smartphone (but it is not the Android Auto app for smartphones) so you can use the navigator in a more comfortable, safe and distraction-free way without giving up the use of other apps, such as those for music playback. All thanks to the voice assistant, so you can take your hands off the wheel as little as possible and not risk accidents. In the time since the first announcement this feature has appeared several times on some smartphones, but now it's official.

How to activate Assistant Driving Mode on Maps

The new feature, on enabled apps, appears automatically as soon as you start navigating to a destination.

When enabled, the Driving Mode consists mainly of a new bar at the bottom of the navigation screen, where the basic controls for music playback are located, with the title of the song and a button to go forward (but not backward).

By default, the new mode activates on its own when we start the navigator and by itself sets the phone to Do Not Disturb, but we can still receive messages from apps and respond with voice commands. We can also receive calls, but they won't appear in full screen but only in the lower part. In this way we can continue to look at the map.

In the same way we can access other apps through a special simplified App Launcher.

Assistant Driving Mode: when it arrives in Italy

The launch of the new Driving Mode is already underway for Android users of Google Maps. Google has made the launch official on its blog, but hasn't specified when it will be distributed outside the U.S.A.

It shouldn't be long, though, because after many months of testing and rumors this time the launch is official, so it's reasonable to think that by the first half of 2021 even other countries will be able to use the Driving Mode. Maybe even in Italy.