The standalone version of the driving mode should not be confused with the driving mode feature built into Google Maps, which starts up automatically as soon as you start navigation. As Esper‘s Mishal Rahman points out that Google has 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, start driving mode” or by tapping on driving mode shortcut on your phone’s home screen. Once driving mode is out, all you need to do is access the features by launching navigation in Google Maps, which is probably what many users have already done anyway.
However, shutting it down is a bit of a shame for those who may not have a car with a digital navigation hub that supports Android Auto. The standalone Driving Mode service was supposed to replace the “Android Auto for Phone Screens” app that Google discontinued with Android 12.