European Google Maps users will have the option in the navigation app to choose to show “eco-friendly” routes, for example, considering fuel savings. This single car feature was already available in North America.
Users who want to travel by car and request a route in Google Maps are given the choice between the fastest or most economical route, although the fastest route can also be the most economical route in some cases. Google gives the example of a route between Gouda and Nieuwegein, where avoiding the motorway and choosing the N County route takes five minutes longer, but also costs 15 percent less petrol.
It is possible to adjust the type of engine and fuel (petrol, diesel, hybrid or electric) of the car, which, according to Google, further optimizes the route for consumption. The company briefly explains this with an example that diesel engines are often more efficient at higher speeds, while electric-powered vehicles perform better in city traffic with acceleration and braking.
According to Google, the greenest paths come from collaborations with scientists from, among others, the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory and data from the European Environment Agency. Linking this data to driving directions in the maps led to the “development of advanced machine learning models.” The company also considers factors that affect emissions, fuel, and battery consumption, such as average vehicle fuel economy, road gradation, traffic patterns, road type and speed limits. Google also emphasizes that cycling, using public transportation, or choosing a walking route are better options for the environment.
This option to show more eco-friendly routes in maps will be available from Wednesday in the Netherlands and about 40 other European countries. It will be available from Maps on Android, iOS, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It may take several weeks before the feature is actually available.
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