Yes it is. Google said it will start showing free Map navigation service to enable travel routes that are less damaging to the environment.
Improvements to Google Maps into artificial intelligence features that includes efficient ways to get around.
“Soon, Google Maps will default the routes with the lowest carbon footprint. As it has approximately the same ETA (estimated arrival time) as the fastest route,” vice president of product Dane Glasgow said in a post.
“In some cases, the eco-friendly route could significantly increase your ETA, that will let you compare the relative CO2 impact between routes so that you can choose.”
The Eco-Friendly Option
The news that Google Maps will default the route with the lowest carbon really doesn’t come as a surprise. After all, Google is an Alphabet Inc. unit, that is announced last year. It pledged to have carbon-free operations by 2030 and would likewise nudge its users to make eco-friendly choices.
Okay, but will users have a choice? The answer is yes. When alternate routes are significantly faster, Google Maps will offer choices and let users decide which route to take. On the other hand, if users always want to see the fastest route, they can do so by adjusting their preferences in the app’s Settings, Glasgow explains.
An Added Benefit
An increasing number of cities around the world especially in Europe have begun to restrict vehicle emissions. Some have even implemented low-emission zones that ban heavily polluting vehicles such as some diesel cars. Google Maps will also be able to help drivers in those areas.
“To support these efforts, we’re working on alerts to help drivers better understand when they’ll be navigating through one of these zones,” Glasgow wrote.
The low emission zone alerts functionality will launch in June for drivers in Germany and for Netherlands, France, Spain, UK and soon in Pakistan on Android and iOS operating systems, Glasgow explains.
Google worked with the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab to build a routing system that takes traffic congestion into account and the steepness of roads to minimise the fuel consumption, according to Glasgow.
Google is also going to start “alerting Maps” system that will tell users when a travel route is heading for a low-emission zone and where higher-pollution vehicles are based such as diesel cars are not allowed.
Maps was also tweaked to provide users with more comprehensive views to travel. The options that may be more eco-friendly than driving. And, air quality information along the way is being added to some routes that is displayed by Google Maps when first launched in Australia, India, and the United States.
Google is also working to keep people on course inside locations such as airports, shopping malls or train stations, according to Glasgow.
A Live View feature that already augments what Maps users see when looking through smartphone camera lenses will display arrows and other tips to guide them outside is getting an inside version.
“Live View can help you find the nearest elevator and escalators, your gate, platform, baggage claim, check-in counters, ticket office, restrooms, ATMs and more,” Glasgow said.
Inside Live View was added for some shopping malls in a handful of cities and will roll out in coming months for select airports, malls, and transit stations in Tokyo and Zurich, according to Google.
In the coming months, Maps application users will be able to compare car, biking, public transit and other travel options in one place instead of toggling between different sections.