Google announced several improvements to its Maps service, including the automatic display of the most eco-friendly routes, allowing users to optimise their carbon footprint.
“Google Maps will soon offer the least carbon-intensive route by default when that route has approximately the same arrival time as the fastest route,” said Dane Glasgow, vice president of products at Google Maps, in a statement.
“If the greener route would significantly increase travel time, you will have the option to compare the relative carbon impact of the two routes before making your choice,” he added.
It will still be possible to display only the shorter route by changing preferences in the app’s settings, Google said.
To develop this new tool, the company said it worked together with the National Renewable Energy Lab of the US Department of Energy.
The internet giant used multiple factors such as “the degree of slope of a road or slowdowns due to traffic jams” to calculate which routes are more eco-friendly.
“The greener routes will begin to be offered in the US later this year, with eventual global coverage,” Glasgow said.
In the same vein, Google has developed a system of alerts telling a user that they are in a low-emission zone, which will be available from June in France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK on devices running Android and iOS operating systems.
In the coming months, Maps will also start showing which modes of transport are the most environmentally friendly for getting somewhere.
Among other innovations, Google Maps has developed a feature to help guide you inside a building using the Live View tool, which is already available in some shopping centres in major US cities (Chicago, Long Island, Los Angeles, Newark, San Francisco, San Jose and Seattle). Airports are expected to follow.
The application will also offer a “layer” for planning trips based on weather and air quality, which will be launched initially in the United States, India and Australia.
The Brussels Times