Google’s Maps app will soon begin directing drivers along routes calculated to generate the lowest amount of carbon emissions based on traffic, road grade, and other factors. Unless users opt-out of the program, the Masters of the Universe will suggest the most “eco-friendly” route instead of the fastest.
Reuters reports that Google Maps will soon begin directing drivers along routes estimated to reduce carbon emissions based on traffic, slopes, and other factors. Google stated that the feature would first launch in the U.S. later this year and would eventually reach other countries as part of its efforts to fight climate change.
Users may opt-out of the program but if they fail to do so, the default route will be the Google-designed “eco-friendly” one. When alternative routes are significantly faster, Google will offer the user a choice and allow them to compare estimated emissions from both routes.
Russell Dicker, director of product at Google, said in a statement: “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 tradeoff.”
Google stated that it derives its emission estimates by testing across different types of vehicles and road types, using information gained from the U.S. government’s National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL). Road grade data come from its own Street View cars as well as aerial and satellite imagery.
Google’s announcement included additional climate-focused changes. From June on it will begin warning drivers about travel through low emission zones where some vehicles are restricted in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Spain, and the UK.
Over the course of the next few months, Google Maps will users will also be able to compare car, biking, public transit, and other travel options in one place instead of having to switch between different sections.
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