Google maps will start directing drivers along eco-friendly routes such as low carbon emission routes based on traffic, slopes and other such factors. This feature is part of their commitment to help combat climate change through its service.
Google, an Alphabet Inc unit, said that it will launch this feature in US in the last of this year. Eventually it will reach out to other countries also. In this the default route will be this eco-friendly, if comparable routes also take the same amount of time. The user can opt out if needed. When there is an alternative faster route, then Google will allow to compare estimated emissions by users.
Russell Dicker, a director of product at Google, said that what we are seeing is for around half of routes, we are able to find an option eco-friendlier with minimal or no time-cost tradeoff. Drawing on insights from the U.S. government’s National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), Google has derived emissions relative estimates by testing across different types of vehicles and road types. Road grade data comes from its Street View cars as well as aerial and satellite imagery.
This feature’s potential effect on emissions is unclear. California State University, Long Beach, university researchers conducted a study last year with 20 people. This found out that participants were more inclined to consider carbon emissions in route selection after testing an app that showed estimates. There are also additional climate focused changes in this, as per the Google.
From June, it will start warning drivers about to travel through low emissions zones. And then some vehicles are restricted in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Spain and the U.K. Instead of toggling between different sections, the Google map users will be able to compare car, biking, public transit and other travel options in one place. This feature will be coming in the next few months.