Google is discontinuing its Assistant Driving Mode Dashboard on November 21st, according to 9to5Google. This dashboard was initially announced at I/O 2019 as a replacement for Android Auto, which was discontinued last year.
Assistant Driving Mode features a dashboard with Google Assistant, a music player, volume controls, and buttons for making a call or sending a message. It can be accessed either via the homescreen shortcut or by verbally instructing Google Assistant to launch Assistant Driving Mode. The mode is intended to allow people to perform the most common smartphone tasks, e.g., navigating, texting, and playing music using their voice alone while driving. This, in turn, will hopefully reduce distractions and prevent accidents.
With the discontinuation of Assistant Driving Mode, Google no longer has a direct successor to Android Auto.
Distracted driving is a serious problem in the United States, with nine deaths every day, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
To help combat this problem, Google is shutting down Assistant Driving Mode. This mode was similar to the Driving Mode in Google Maps, but many users found it to be a downgrade.
The reason for the shutdown is that most Android users were already using the Maps version of Driving Mode. Due to the similarity in names and functionality, some may not even have realized the Assistant version existed.
The Assistant Driving Mode Dashboard was seen as a downgrade by many in the community, with some suggesting it was never intended to be a permanent replacement, but instead was a stopgap measure to gradually convert Android Auto users to Google Maps.
Google is moving away from non-voice assist technology, with the sunsetting of Driving Mode being the latest in a series of such moves. Other projects that have been abandoned by Google Assistant include Snapshot, which provided Android users with a quick summary of their day's most important tasks, and Smart Display Games, which allowed for third-party apps that use both touch and voice input to offer games on the Nest Hub.