Google Maps will steer drivers through most eco-friendly routes

Google Maps will steer drivers through most eco-friendly routes
Google Maps will start directing drivers to routes which generate the lowest carbon footprint as part of its pledge to be carbon-free by 2030.

The new AI-driven model will default to the most environmentally friendly journey based on fuel consumption, after analysing factors like road incline and traffic congestion.

Google says the feature will launch in the US on Android and iOS later this year, 'with a global expansion on the way'.

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, though, drivers will have the choice to compare predicted emissions with quicker routes, leaving it up to them to select a chosen path.

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

Russell Dicker, a director of product at Google, said: “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 trade-off.”

The Alphabet Inc. owned search engine said it's using insights from the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab to create the new feature.

Siddharth Pathak, a partner at consultancy firm Kearney, said: “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.”

Google Maps is also set to cater to drivers in cities around the world with low emission zones, by alerting them when one is upcoming or nearby.

A Google blogpost reads: “From Amsterdam to Jakarta, cities around the world have established low emission zones – areas that restrict polluting vehicles like certain diesel cars or cars with specific emissions stickers – to keep the air clean.

“To support these efforts, 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.”

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

Looking forward to taking more eco-friendly journeys in your vehicle, or hesitant it will encourage unwanted 'rat running' in quieter roads and villages?

Leave us a comment with your thoughts below.  

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