Google Maps Driving Mode Is Your Essential In-Car AI

Google Maps Driving Mode Is Your Essential In-Car AI

You're probably used to getting turn-by-turn directions to your next destination with Google Maps, but there's also a pretty-well-hidden Driving Mode just for... well, driving. It alerts you to traffic problems, directs you to nearby gas pumps and stores, and is useful for those times when you already know your route or don't even have a destination in mind.

Google launched Driving Mode earlier this year for Android but it's kind of tricky to find: in Google Maps, choose Start driving from the app menu or make use of the 1x1 widget (under Maps). Your screen fills up with your current position and nearby traffic conditions.

Google Maps Driving Mode Is Your Essential In-Car AI

If it's close to commute time, you'll see ETAs to your home or work (if you've added them to Maps). Driving Mode also shows ETAs to places you've recently been to or searched for. If you like the timings, you can hit a place to navigate to it in the normal way.

For example, say you just got out of work and want to quickly know whether it's worth heading home or going to the gym first. Driving Mode tells you with some driving time estimates and you can make your choice; as you motor around, the ETAs update.

Google Maps Driving Mode Is Your Essential In-Car AI

As in the "standard" navigation mode, you can search for nearby gas stations, restaurants, supermarkets, and more through the search button. Again, these results stay on screen until you dismiss them, so if you're circling around looking for a place to eat then the results keep updating as you move.

For those times when you know where you're going but still want traffic updates, Driving Mode is helpful; it's also useful when you're touring around an area without any particular destination in mind. No word yet if the feature will make its way over to iOS.



    So basically it will do what in-car and stand-alone sat-nav has been doing for years. Totally underwhelming.

      How much did you pay for this functionality in your stand alone sat-nav, or in-car?

      The argument of "Someone has already done this, so why bother?" is the most pointless "contribution" anyone can ever make.

        It cost me nothing, it is a standard feature of the car I bought. The "why bother" sentiment is not aimed at the adding of the feature so much as making a news item of it.

          You do realise people in this world exist other than you and do not have the same car as you? Oh wait, I forgot in your little mind you think the world revolves around you so unless a product suits you, They shouldnt bother with it.

          Last edited 27/05/16 2:44 pm

            I am reasonably sure that I am not the only person in the world with sat-nav. After all, if my $25,000 Astra has it, then it is hardly going to be uncommon, is it? If I was only concerned about me, I'd have skipped over this entirely, as I haven't so much as looked at Google maps in six years or more. It ain't even close to the only game in town and, as this article shows, it is nowhere near the bleeding edge and I thought that might be useful information to the more ignorant general public. I do apologise if information offends you.

          And most car satnav maps are out of date. Definitely dont do live traffic data either.

      Have you ever tried to use standalone sat nav in any car...? They are the slowest, dumbest and most incompetent features in any automobile.

      Google Maps kicks ass over any of the alternatives

      I dunno, my '15 Wrx had very outdated maps from the get-go, & does not have an update 2 years later. I am constantly warned by this device, of heavy traffic, while driving in clear areas. So while convenient, it is effectively worthless.

    It's amazing, Google has new features that is made out to be new while Nokia Here Drive or Maps has been doing the same for years now on Mobile phones and Nokia let's you download whole countries so if you have no reception, you can still continue to use it.

      Smartphone maps allow you to cache map areas for offline use. Maybe not the whole country at once but certainly large chunks. And the information about congestion and travel times is by nature real time data anyway.

        How do you "'cache" them, though? Before I went to the US a couple of weeks ago, I just downloaded all the Here maps I thought I'd need from here in Sydney - 470Mb of California maps - and off I went, knowing I wasn't going to blow out my 50Mb of data per day on map downloads.

          In google maps on iOS or android, zoom to an area then type "ok maps" in the search box. It will ask if you want to download the map. It will also tell you if the area is too big. I can cache the entire brisbane metro area.

          You can save multiple areas and they are visible under "offline areas" on the menu if you want to delete.

          This is also useful for GPS navigation in your car if you don't want to use as much cellular data.

          Last edited 30/05/16 4:58 pm

        CACHE??? who cares about cache...just use Here and you can have the whole country map for free stored on your phone or even a tablet.

    I think most people in the comments actually don't know what this article is about...

    Who cares if maps are out of date? Streets don't move around, they are some of the great constants in our lives. OK, when the WestConnex is completed, it might be a good time to update my maps but that will be a simple matter of replacing the SD card the maps live on. I reckon updating once a decade or so is about all you need. And sat-nav invented live traffic updates. The humble Holden Commodore, for example, has had it since 2010 and TomTom first introduced it in 2008.

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