Android phones are getting an Assistant-powered driving mode

The feature will be available this summer on any Android device with Google Assistant.

Google Assistant is about to become a much more helpful passenger while you're on the road. The assistant is getting a new "driving mode" with voice commands that should make it easier to interact with your device and access the information you need without ever taking your hands off the wheel. The new feature, announced during Google I/O, will be made available to all Android phones with Google Assistant later this summer.

Driving mode is activated by saying, "Hey Google, let's drive." Once turned on, Assistant displays a dashboard with shortcuts to the most relevant activities. If you have a reservation at a restaurant on your Google Calendar, Assistant will offer a shortcut to navigate to your dinner spot. Most used contacts will also be placed front and center so they are easy to get ahold of if needed, and Assistant generates recommendations for your time on the road like music or podcasts to help pass the time.

As one would expect from Google Assistant, the whole experience is designed to be hands-free and controlled with voice commands. When a call or text comes in, Google Assistant will give you the relevant information and ask if you want to respond. The whole experience takes place within the existing Google Assistant feature, so there will be no need to download another app to access the mode.

For cars that support it, Assistant will also have new options to remotely control features inside the vehicle. Users will be able to check fuel levels, make sure doors are locked and issue commands to perform tasks like adjusting the air conditioning. The feature will be available in the coming months through Hyundai's Blue Link and Mercedes-Benz's Mercedes Me Connect.