Google Maps expands eco-navigation feature to Europe

Google announced today that it is expanding its eco-routing options on Google Maps to 40 more countries in Europe. Eco-Friendly Routes, first introduced to US-based users last year, offers to display more fuel-efficient routes instead of faster ones. Users can see the ecological route marked with a leaf-shaped label.

To adjust settings for eco-friendly routes, users can tap on their profile picture on Google Maps, head to Settings > Navigation Settings, then scroll down to Route Options. Users can tap the “Prefer fuel-efficient routes” option to enable or disable fuel-efficient routes.

The company is also launching a new feature allowing car owners to choose their vehicle’s engine type to get personalized suggestions of fuel-efficient routes best suited to the engine. In the coming weeks, users will be able to access the settings mentioned above and select the type of engine – gasoline or gas, diesel, hybrid or electric vehicle (EV) – for navigation.

Motor selector option for eco routes on Google Maps. Picture credits: Google

“This technology is made possible by knowledge from the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and data from the European Environment Agency. By combining this information with driving trends from Google Maps, we were able to develop advanced machine learning models trained on the most popular engine types in a given region,” the company said in a blog post.

Google claimed that after introducing eco-friendly routes in the United States and Canada, it was able to save carbon emissions equivalent to 100,000 cars.

Over the years, Google has tried to encourage people to adopt more eco-friendly navigation options by introducing new features to Google Maps. In 2018, the company introduced information about electric vehicle charging stations into the app for the first time. In July, the company rolled out bike navigation features with details like the amount of car traffic and the types of roads along the route.

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