Google has used its I/O developer conference to unveil an assortment of new products and updated technologies.
On the automotive side, Google’s next-generation Assistant will have an all-new driving mode which will allow users to control their smartphone hands-free.
Set to be launched this summer, Assistant’s new driving mode will be automatically launched when it connects to your car’s Bluetooth system. Alternatively, you can launch it by saying “Hey Google, let’s drive.”
Once launched, users will be taken to a dashboard that displays activities such as navigation, messaging, calling and media. The selections are personalized to each user and it will give navigation suggestions based on your usual routine or from appointments scheduled in your calendar. As an example, if you dinner reservation, Assistant will show directions to the restaurant.
Driving mode will also show your most frequent contacts, recent navigation searches and media recommendations. Speaking of the latter, users will be able to resume a podcast from where they felt off on another device.
Driving mode isn’t the only new thing as remote vehicle controls have also been streamlined. As a result, users can perform multiple commands simply by speaking.
As an example, users could say “Hey Google, turn on the car A/C to 70 degrees.” This would start the car as well as set the climate control system to 70° F.
The improved system will work on existing vehicles which use Hyundai’s Blue Link and Mercedes me connect technology.
In other news, Google introduced an updated version of Android Auto. Set to roll out to all Android Auto compatible cars this summer, the updated system has a new interface that has simplified controls and shows “more useful information at a glance.”
Among the updates is a new navigation bar which will allow users to access apps as well as see turn-by-turn directions on the same screen. There’s also a new notification center which shows recent calls, messages and alerts.
Other updates include a revised design with easier to read fonts and a dark theme which is “easy on the eyes.” Android Auto has also been updated to work better on larger infotainment systems and it will utilize the extra space to show additional information such as ongoing calls or the direction for the next turn.