Google has announced a few new features for Google Maps. These new features will include indoor navigation and suggestions for eco-friendly. The app will suggest driving routes will start directing drivers along routes estimated to generate the lowest carbon emissions based on traffic, slopes, and other factors.
The parent company Alphabet Inc unit said the feature would launch later this year in the US and eventually reach other countries as part of its commitment to help combat climate change through its services. Unless users opt-out, the default route will be the “eco-friendly” one if comparable options take about the same time. When alternatives are significantly faster, Maps will offer choices and let users compare estimated emissions.
Google said that it derives emissions relative estimates by testing across different types of vehicles and road types, drawing on insights from the U.S. government’s National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL). Road grade data comes from its Street View cars as well as aerial and satellite imagery.
The potential effect on emissions from the feature is unclear. California State University, Long Beach, university researchers conducted a study with 20 people and found participants were more inclined to consider carbon emissions in route selection after testing an app that showed estimates. In the coming months, Maps app users will be able to compare car, biking, public transit, and other travel options in one place instead of toggling between different sections.