The new Assistant driving mode takes the current Android Auto phone app and essentially renders it obsolete, while performing many of the same functions. Its main use is as a navigation device — you can make it use either Google Maps or Waze by default. Assistant driving mode can be set to launch on your Android phone automatically when it's connected to your car's Bluetooth or you say, "Hey Google, let's drive."
Upon launching, there's a dashboard that's personalized to you. The entire experience is heavily voice driven, so you can either tell it what you want next, or tap the suggested options on screen. Navigation suggestions are based on your calendar, normal routine or recently searched locations. Audio suggestions consist of recently played things or recommendations based on your preferences. And of course, you can call someone or text someone using voice control with the app, too. The actual feature set of Google Assistant driving mode is extremely similar to Android Auto, (which just had a big update announced yesterday) it just comes with a different user interface for the typically smaller screen that phones have versus infotainment systems.
Also announced at Google I/O is easier communication between Google Assistant and your car if so equipped. Instead of going through multiple commands to control your car via Assistant, now you just need one or two. Google says that Hyundais equipped with the Blue Link app, and Mercedes equipped with the Mercedes Me Connect feature will be able to take advantage of these simplified commands initially. For example, Google says one command of, "Hey Google, turn on the car A/C to 70 degrees" will now do the trick. Previously, Hyundai said it would involve a back and forth between you and your phone to finally get the command executed.
All of these new features are said to be arriving to your phone via an update this summer.