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Google Maps suggests environmentally friendly routes

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If you are a regular user of Google Maps, you may be able to use the app to create choice with lower emissions in future. Google announced on wednesday that it adds options for showing drivers less carbon-intensive routes in the Maps app, as well as many other custom tools, such as displaying the carbon footprint of flights.

The new feature is now available in the US and will become an option in Europe next year. Servicee works Powered by Google’s own artificial intelligence and data from the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Google said it estimates the feature could prevent more than 1 million tons of carbon emissions a year, or the equivalent of 200,000 cars from the road. (Google hasn’t provided any information on how they arrived at this calculation, or how many Google users would have to consistently use the feature to get these savings.)

The fastest route by car is not always the most economical. Things like stopping traffic and ride smoothness can also affect emissions. Research has also shown that most cars have a speed sweet spot when it comes to efficiency. Driving below 35 mph (56 km / h) and above 65 mph (105 km / h) generally results in higher emissions. Google said its data will also take into account things like road types, gradients, and congestion to aid in its calculations.

“It benefits the planet and also helps drivers save money as routes that require higher fuel consumption also lead to higher gas bills,” says Russell Dicker, director of transportation products for Google Maps. told the Wall Street Journal in Aprilwhen the company first announced the initiative.

The announcement comes in conjunction with what Google says will be improved bike navigation, as well as more information on bike rentals in different cities. It’s part of a suite of sustainability initiatives Google says are rolling out today, including initiatives to help people find less carbon-intensive flights, see hotels ” commitment to sustainable development and environmental certificates, and work with their Thermostat socket to support renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Technically, this feature should be launched today, but we couldn’t … use it. The so-called “green routes” of the company are marked with a green leaf and an expression about how much more economical the route is. I have tried many different routes (route from my apartment to various points in New York, from my parents’ house to points in my hometown, from my college in Maine to day trips around the state) and I have not seen anything special in application on my phone. The same goes for my browser. Earther editor-in-chief Brian Kahn tried but failed to get a “green” route. There is a chance that a few randomly selected routes were the most effective. and the fastest, but Brian tried the route shown in the image in the google blog post and got no results, so maybe the UX update just hasn’t reached us yet. We’ve reached out to Google for help testing this feature and will update this post if we get a chance to test it out.

Even without the ability to test Google Maps’ new feature, i still have many questions about the usefulness of this service. It looks like an option for less carbon-intensive routes may only emerge if the routes are comparable in speed to the fastest route, which suggests that Maps may not show you a slower route that will be less emission-intensive if it takes some then the type. cut off speed. Google also highlighted that this feature is fully enabled and easy to disable in settings, so it’s very easy to ignore it if you want to.

All of Google’s ads today – hotels, flights, map redesigns, Nest use cases – might be helpful, but they’re still firmly on the “humans can fix this whole climate thing” side. what’s wrong chief… Google has advertised his work decarbonize their data centers by 2030, but it is worth remembering that the company has many answer outside of your own carbon footprint as YouTube helped promote climate denial to the fact that Google works with oil and gas companies to provide cloud services that help produce more oil and gas. My ability to find a slightly more fuel efficient home car cannot fully compensate for all of this.

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