Google Maps: Discover the New Upcoming AI Features

Google Maps: Discover the New Upcoming AI Features

July 14, 2021 By Alex Balaniuc

It’s no surprise that a giant such as Google would want to keep its users satisfied in order to continue being in the lead in the tech landscape. That’s why, in the first half of 2021, the Mountain View-based company announced a series of updates for Google Maps that will rely heavily on AI, and that should majorly improve the user’s experience with the service. These updates – which were made known during Google I/O 2021 in March – will add new features to Google Maps and improve already existing ones.

Live View: improved indoors navigation

Live View is a feature that uses augmented reality cues to lead users towards the right direction. Thanks to arrows and accompanying directions appearing on your phone screen, you’ll be able to move around better in indoor places that are usually difficult to navigate, such as airports, malls and transit stations.

Live View’s accuracy is guaranteed by the fact that it’s powered by global localization, a form of AI that, before providing directions, scans billions of Street View images to understand your exact location, but also an object’s precise altitude and placement inside a building. It will surely be of help when it comes to finding the nearest elevator and escalators, your gate, platform, baggage claim, check-in counters, ticket office, restrooms or ATMs. And if you’re at a shopping centre, Live View will point out a store’s exact location to you.

New eco-friendly routing model

With the goal of reducing the company’s environmental footprint in mind, Google Maps will offer users a default route which will shorten the driver’s car rides. This measure is due to Google’s decision to limit vehicles’ carbon emissions. By using insights from the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab, the eco-friendly options will be based on the inclination of the road and traffic congestion, two factors that have a significant influence on fuel consumption.

The eco-friendly route’s estimated time of arrival (ETA) should be compatible with that of the fastest route that is usually suggested by Maps. In cases where the eco-friendly route would increase your ETA by a significant amount, it will let you compare the relative CO2 impact caused by the routes so that you can choose the best route based on both factors.

Information about weather and air quality

Through the use of data shared by Google partners – The Weather Company, AirNow.gov, Central Pollution Board – users will be able to view the current and forecast temperature, weather conditions and air quality in a particular area. The air quality layer will provide details about how healthy or polluted the air is. Such information will help you organize your travels accordingly.

More detailed street maps

Another improvement will be made when it comes to street maps. These updates will make pedestrians’ lives much easier because they can show obstacles on the path, such as sidewalks and crosswalks. The 3D architecture can also signal whether a place is located on a more elevated level than the road (like on a bridge, for instance), it can show stairways and other “irregularities” on the path; this will be very useful for people using a stroller or a wheelchair.

 

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