Google Maps app will start directing drivers along more eco-friendly routes to reduce the lowest amount of carbon emissions based on factors such as traffic and slopes.
Maps will default to the route with the lowest carbon footprint when it has approximately the same estimated time of arrival (ETA) as the fastest route.
“In cases where the eco-friendly route could significantly increase your ETA, we’ll let you compare the relative CO2 impact between routes so you can choose. Always want the fastest route? That’s okay too — simply adjust your preferences in settings,” Google explained to the users.
Google has collaborated with the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab, to build a new advanced routing model.
“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,” Russell Dicker, a director of product at Google, told reporters on Monday.
Google has uses emissions data based on testing across different types of cars and road types, drawing on insights from the US government’s National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL).
Road grade data comes from its Street View cars as well as aerial and satellite imagery.
With a new weather layer function, you can see current and forecasted temperature conditions in your area and an air quality layer shows you how healthy (or unhealthy) the air is.
The driver can quickly know if their vehicle is allowed in the area, choose an alternative mode of transportation, or take another route.
Google will also be warning drivers travelling through low emissions zones where some vehicles are restricted in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom.
The company plans to launch the low emission alerts this year in June in Germany, the Netherlands, France, Spain, and the UK on Android and iOS.
Google Map users will soon be able to compare car, biking, public transit, and other travel options in one place instead of toggling between different sections.