Google Maps to Start Showing Eco-friendly Routes
Google Maps app will now highlight journeys and direct drivers to the routes that the company estimates to be eco-friendly as they generate the lowest carbon footprint. The estimate of the company is based on traffic, slopes, and many more other factors. The company collects road data in slopes from its own Street View cars feature along with the aerial and satellite imagery.
Google said, “The default route on Google Maps app will be an eco-friendly option unless users choose to opt to take an alternative route.”
Google added, “When an alternative route is considerably faster, Google will allow the users on the platform to compare the carbon emissions on the routes.”
Russell Dicker, a director of product at Google, “What we see now on Google Maps is only for half routes. Now we can find more eco-friendly routes with minimal or no time-cost.”
The new feature would launch later this year in the United States and eventually reach other countries with the aim of global expansion. This is part of the company’s pledge to help combat climate change with its services.
While Google did mention its plans of global expansion, it did not offer any specific details over the launch timelines or any specific geographical regions.
Google said that it is using the emissions data based on testing across various types of vehicles and road types, and drawing on insights from the US government’s National Renewable Energy Lab.
The potential effect on the emissions seems to be unclear. A study of 20 people by Google last year found out that participants were more inclined to considering carbon emissions while selecting the routes.
Google’s announcement included additional climate-focused changes.
June onwards, Google will begin warning drivers on travel via low emissions zones where some vehicles are restricted like in Germany, the Netherlands, France, the UK, and Spain.
The US tech giant is also reportedly making “new map layers for the weather and air quality” that is set to roll out in the coming months on both Android and iOS. Google plans to launch the weather layer globally and to roll out the air quality layer first in Australia, India, and the US. The air quality feature will inform travelers how clean the air on their route is. This information will be helpful to people if they have allergies or are in a smoggy or fire-prone area.
Later this year, Google Maps users will also be allowed to compare travel options like a car, a bike, or a public transit in one place instead of switching between different modes.
Google says it has long developed sustainable practices to benefit the environment and has pledging to be carbon-free by 2030 to helping cities track greenhouse gas emissions.