The standalone version of Driving Mode isn’t to be confused with the Driving Mode feature built into Google Maps, which automatically boots up once you start navigation. As Esper’s Mishaal Rahman points out, Google added Assistant Driving Mode to Maps before it even released the standalone Driving Mode.
The only difference between the two is that you can access the standalone version by saying a voice command like “Hey Google, launch Driving Mode,” or by tapping the Driving Mode shortcut on your phone’s home screen. Once Driving Mode shuts down, you’ll just have to access its features by starting navigation in Google Maps, which is probably what many users have been doing anyway.
Its shutdown is a bit of a bummer for those who might not have a car with a digital navigation hub that supports Android Auto, though. The standalone Driving Mode service was supposed to replace the “Android Auto for Phone Screens” app that Google discontinued with Android 12.