As a way to cut down on carbon footprint, Google Maps plans to showcase routes to drivers that are the most “eco-friendly” depending on a few factors. These routes would be displayed based on analyzing parameters like traffic data, congestion history, and even road inclines.
“What we are seeing is for around half of routes, we are able to find an option more eco-friendly with minimal or no time-cost trade-off," Russell Dicker, a director of product at Google said.
The launch initiatives of Google Maps
In a blog post, the search engine confirmed that the update would be first launched in the United States in the latter part of 2021, along “with a global expansion on the way”. However, any particular launch timelines have not been mentioned especially in reference to India.
The Verge reported, “Google is also making new map layers for the weather and air quality that are set to roll out in the coming months on Android and iOS. Google plans to launch the weather layer globally and launch the air quality layer first in Australia, India, and the US.”
While navigating across low emission zones, the app will also send alerts pertaining to vehicles that are not allowed on these routes based on certain levels of emissions. According to the search engine, these alerts will be launched in June on Android and IOS, across France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, and the UK, with other countries eventually availing of this feature as well.
Google also plans to introduce alerts that will tell you when you’ll be navigating through low-emissions zones, which don’t allow some vehicles with certain levels of emissions to enter. Google says these alerts will launch in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, and the UK on Android and iOS this June. More countries will get the alerts soon, according to Google.
“From Amsterdam to Jakarta, cities around the world have established low emission zones - areas that restrict polluting vehicles like certain diesel cars or cars with specific emissions stickers to help keep the air clean," the blogpost said.
"To support these efforts, we're working on alerts to help drivers better understand when they'll be navigating through one of these zones."
The application will also compare different vehicles i.e. car, cycling, public transport, and other travel options in one place instead of only revolving around different sections in a new feature being launched this year. This tech giant has pledged to be carbon-free by 2030 as a means to help cities keep a check on greenhouse gas emissions and adopt sustainable practices that are environmentally friendly.
Google, for its new route plans, stated that it employed emissions data after testing across different types of vehicles and roads in the US, and also incorporating insights from the US Government’s National Renewable Energy Lab. This data comprised of details like slopes and inclines from its own Street View cars feature alongside aerial and satellite imagery.
It was further concluded that for about 50 percent of the analyzed routes, a greener alternative was presented without any significant trade-offs.