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Google maps to steer drivers through eco friendly routes

Google maps to steer drivers through eco friendly routes

Google Maps will start directing drivers to routes which generate the lowest carbon footprint as part of its commitment to fight climate change. It will also alert drivers when they are about to enter a clean air zone.

An eco-friendly route will automatically present itself when it has roughly the same arrival time as the fastest option. If this greener journey is due to take significantly longer, drivers will have the choice to compare predicted emissions with quicker routes, leaving it up to them to select a chosen path. It will base routes on an analysis of factors such as fuel consumption, road incline and traffic congestion. 

Drivers will have the choice to opt out entirely if they’d prefer to receive only the fastest journeys available.

The new AI-driven model will launch in the US with global rollout to follow.

A Google spokesperson said that: “for around half of routes, we are able to find a more eco-friendly option with minimal or no time-cost trade-off.”

Siddharth Pathak, a partner at consultancy firm Kearney, praised the initiative, saying: “This is a great example of three trends coming together – the data, sustainability and consumer choice. It will also push those on the fence to make a deliberate choice of speed over sustainability and often cost.”

Clean Air Zone alerts

From June, Google will also start to warn drivers who are about to travel through a low emission zone. In the UK, low emission zones already exist in London and Bath, and are planned in other cities, such as Birmingham and Bristol this year.

A Google blog announcement reads: “We’re working on alerts to help drivers better understand when they’ll be navigating through one of these zones. You can quickly know if your vehicle is allowed in the area, choose an alternative mode of transportation, or take another route.”

The zone alerts are due to launch in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands this June, on both Android and iOS.

Google Maps users will be also able to compare car, cycling, public transport and other travel options in one place instead of toggling between different sections in a new feature being launched this year.