Google Maps gets a new feature that encourages drivers to make greener journeys.
The app will soon default to show the route with the lowest carbon footprint, provided it has roughly the same ETA as the fastest path.
The new route model analyzes data such as road inclination and traffic congestion to optimize fuel consumption.
When the green route significantly increases the journey time, you will be able to compare the CO2 impact between different routes. If you prefer to prioritize speed, you can adjust your preferences in settings to show the fastest route by default (just know that Mother Earth will be disappointed).
[Read: How to use AI to better serve your customers]
Google said the feature will launch in the United States on iOS and Android later this year, “with global expansion underway.”
Google is also adding alerts to Maps that tell drivers when they’ll be navigating in low-emission zones.
The alerts will let drivers know if they are allowed in the area. Otherwise, they can choose another mode of transport to rake an alternative route.
The tool will be launched in June in Germany, the Netherlands, France, Spain and the UK, before wider deployment.
The new features are among more than 100 AI-powered improvements to the app that Google says it’s on track to make this year.
One of the most appealing is bringing the Live View navigation tool to indoor locations.
The feature adds digital directions to the video captured by your phone’s camera to show exactly where you should be going. It was first released in 2019, but initially only worked in outdoor locations.
The update extends it to airports, transit stations, and shopping malls. In a blog post, Dane Glasgow, vice president of product at Google Maps, explained how it will work:
If you are taking a plane or train, Live View can help you find the nearest elevator and escalators, your door, your platform, baggage claim, check-in counters, ticket office, toilets, ATMs, etc. Arrows and accompanying instructions will point you in the right direction. And if you need to pick up something from the mall, use Live View to see what floor a store is on and how to get there so you can get in and out in a snap.
Indoor Live Live is now available in select malls in the United States and will begin rolling out at select airports, malls and transit stations in Tokyo and Zurich in the coming months, “with more cities to come” .
If this takes off, Google Maps might also need a tool to avoid all travelers looking at their phones.
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Published March 31, 2021 – 13:25 UTC