With insights from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab, we’re building a new routing model that optimizes for lower fuel consumption based on factors like road incline and traffic congestion.
Apple Maps sometimes features alternate routes that are "simpler" or with "fewer turns", which I think is a very nice feature. I'd rather not cut through small side streets just to save 1-2 minutes.
It seemed to be more aggressive than Google Maps. I thought that was interesting since they’re both Google. Different engine? Different default options? User intuition wrong?
(Source: my pre-covid commute was always under 15 minutes on side streets, but regularly 45-60 minutes on main roads.)
Don't get me wrong, I love this feature but I can understand others would not.
That being said, you really have to watch that. There is a popular google maps cut-through near me that takes you down a road we call "bridge out" for, well, obvious reasons. At least once or twice a year the local tow truck operator has to figure out how to haul a car out of the creek down there.
There is another road that has been closed long enough that there is now a 30-40' oak tree in the middle of it, and yet google maps thinks it is an appropriate cut through between highways.
You really have to watch that in the country. The data is not great sometimes.
But yeah, I have been sent on 'roads' that are just a little more than overgrown goat tracks, or across private land.
TBH I would try a lot of these roads even if I didn't use google.
"But it's 2 minutes faster!"
Not when I'm going half the speed and starting to slow down halfway through the block to make sure I don't slide right out into traffic.
While I guess some people:"lowest stress = fastest time"
For me it is: not having to do a turn across 4 lanes of traffic(2 in either direction) without traffic lights.
Wife and I constantly scan google route and make up something when it does that.
It would be the cheapest if it accounted for toll prices.
Soon, Google Maps will default to the route with the lowest carbon footprint when it has approximately the same ETA as the fastest route. In cases where the eco-friendly route could significantly increase your ETA, we’ll let you compare the relative CO2 impact between routes so you can choose. Always want the fastest route? That’s OK too — simply adjust your preferences in Settings.
Because I've been wanting that feature for long-distance EV trips for a while now.
1. I don't like it (Folks didn't have a clear answer. Maybe ego?).
2. Batteries are too expensive (Which I think is acceptable for such tech).
The other commenter's frustration with automatic transmission vehicles that start the engine upon releasing the brake sounds valid to me, especially if there isn't a convenient way to start the engine preemptively.
Both of them started the engine just before my foot leave the brake pedal. I think they sensed the rate I eased them and decided that I'm going to roll.
I also drive an automatic Focus as my daily driver which doesn't have start/stop and didn't have a noticeable difference in their driving experience during stops, TBH.
Maybe some cars have different implementations and algorithms. A brand had on demand stop IIRC. You pressed brake a little harder to command the car to stop the engine.
It wasn't so bad with a manual transmission (~2016 Mini Cooper) as I often start to ease off of the brake pedal as I start to depress the clutch, so once it's time to give it some gas, the engine is probably running.
That lag felt extremely annoying and potentially dangerous in an automatic ~2018 Volvo S90 though. Maybe I move my feet faster than the average person, but if I quickly moved my foot from the brake to the gas, the car would just sit there for a split second ... wait for the engine to start ... and then start moving. I know it's a low probability, but I definitely felt as though that car would give me a lesser chance of a making a successful evasive maneuver if, say, I noticed an out-of-control vehicle hurtling towards me.
I think with the latest iterations, the damage part is not that definitive.
What's being damaged and why is it worse during startup/stopping?
It just does not let you specifically route for energy use. You can choose to route for money (tolls), charging stops or traffic if you enabled online routing.
When you plan a trip, it has a page that shows a graph with predicted vs actual energy use. If you keep the "actual" line above the "predicted" line, you will make it, otherwise you may not.
Thing is, the predicted line clearly shows the route ahead with the slope of the curve mapping against climbs and descents.
If you read the manual it says:
"The calculation is an estimate based on driving style (predicted speed, etc.) and environmental factors (elevation changes, temperature, etc.)"
Even if you don't care about CO2, you might want to care about burning less fuel. That stuff ain't free.
(And the beauty of CO2 taxes would be that they make worrying about fuel costs equivalent (or equivalent enough) to worrying about emissions.)
> Not so much when you have no choice but to travel for work and you have to spend several hundred dollars a month to do so.
People always have choices on the margin.
In any case, I am not arguing for a higher total tax burden. Eg I'd be very happy for the CO2 tax to be distributed equally to all voters. Or for petrol taxes to substitute for other government revenue.
Eg in my adopted home of Singapore there's a cap of about one million cars on the road total in the whole country. To operate a car, you need a Certificate of Entitlement (CoE). Each CoE is valid for ten years. Each month approximately 1% of CoE run out and are thus re-issued via an auction.
We also have pretty high pretrol taxes.
But overall government revenue is only about 15% of GDP.
The beauty of CO2 taxes is that I pay more at the pump (at least till I can afford a Tesla) and the state gets an incentive to grift off of climate change.
No whereas with Waze it is a lot more aggressive and it will take faster routes and shortcuts even if it means taking a gravel road to save 30 seconds.
Why can’t a third party routing software assess safety? It’s not a realistic expectation to expect all roads to be equivalent in safety.
Even if you agree with that, it's still not the governments responsibility to make all possible routes exactly equally safe. (That's actually not possible, for any non-zero level of risk.)
So even if the overall risk was low and in some sense reasonable, you might still want to pick the less risky route.
Also keep in mind that different people have different risk appetites.
No they aren't. They're being completely transparent about this and giving you the option to keep the old behavior with a one-time settings change. So what's the problem exactly?
I guess maybe I'd like a little bit of say in how the software I use gets updated. I don't know how that would be implemented, but this got me thinking that maybe there is a way that this software thing could be move a little closer towards a partnership than the autocratic "hey we're going to arbitrarily change this piece of software you use frequently". (You can see similar thoughts with people complaining how Big Sur uses more space, or the complaints when GMail changed things to be less dense.)
I'm fine with the feature though as long as it gives an option. In fact, I would enjoy having the new capability to optimize for fuel economy.
It's about network effects. The more people we get to make the more eco-friendly choice, the better the place gets for all of us.
You aren't going to shame me over a few miles when I make a concerted effort to drive 1/10 of the average American, sorry.
But hey good news, Google is abandoning remote work and making its employees drive to and from work every day probably negating any benefit from this feature whatsoever.
If addressing climate change relies on people changing habits against their selfish interests, then we are doomed.
The externality should be internalised with a carbon tax. It's the simple, most obvious solution and it will cause selfish interest and ethical choices to align when it comes to carbon emission.
A tax will always be passed on to the consumer, even if the govt taxes Ford, it will just make the car more expensive.
Using game theory, a question could be "how do we get Ford to make more electric cars, improve efficiency of electric car production, and incentivize them to advertise electric cars?"
My take is that businesses drive change, not consumers. On the whole, consumers are told what they want.
Consumers will see that EVs are cheaper (post-tax) and will switch to EVs as a consequence.
You can make the tax revenue neutral.
Consumer want cars (and appliances in general) that, all else being equal, are cheaper to own and use.
With a carbon tax, Ford can decide whether they want to offer more efficient ICE or electric cars to reach that goal.
(And consumers can decide whether to use any of these options that Ford offers, or to just drive less.
Or, for some, to just suck up the cost and drive the same as before.)
That's one outcome, but not the only one. Things like emission taxation make sense, even if there's no remediation financed with the proceeds.
See eg the sulphur dioxide emissions cap and trade program. (https://voxeu.org/article/lessons-climate-policy-us-sulphur-...) I don't think they used the proceeds to fund sulphur dioxide capture.
> This is possibly meaning different mode of transport, some things maybe remote, bicycles, trains, others.
Yes, exactly. Also: just forgoing some trips. Or driving more efficiently etc.
*This has since been repealed, a decision I strongly disagree with.
I'd want to put driving-less on similar footing to buying a fancier car.
A carbon tax does that automatically with no extra bureaucracy.
(I'm all for taking the proceeds of a carbon tax and distributing them equally amongst all voters, if you want to make the whole thing revenue neutral for both the government and the 'average' consumer.)
Actually, you do. Your environmental values happen to be efficiency (Km/hour) trumps efficiency (Km/gram of CO2). You wish the software to continue to express only your environmental values. It is an activist stance nonetheless.
Do something much more likely to be useful: implement a reasonable, even revenue-neutral carbon tax and stop with this non-sense.
The second part of your comment, seems to assume only one kind of action is possible. Others might say, great let's do both.
On its face, this argument is clearly wrong. "Absolutely nothing", is not equivalent to extremely little. Especially when, as in the case of Google Maps, there is a large multiplier.
Elections are a different beast. Assuming first-past-the-post system where impact is only at the margin (50.0001%).
Whereas direct action on CO2 production is incremental. We can argue it's not enough, but we cannot argue it is literally nothing.
It makes sense to look at these things normalised per-capita.
So for Google, making a small change has a big impact per-Googler, but it's still a small change per-capita.
Making a small per-capita change is still a small change overall.
"small changes alone are not enough" -> "only big changes can work" -> "small change X ought not to be undertaken"
To me parts of this looks like the fallacy of the excluded middle. To claim that X has some merit is not to claim that X on its own has sufficient merit. I apologise if you are not making such an argument, but throwawayboise and arsome certainly seem to have been. And such arguments are far from uncommon.
I do see your point about scale and multipliers but I believe efforts like these are important not only for their admittedly small yet not negligible impact, but also to help establish a foundation for the next steps that should be taken.
In the eighties, the cost-effectiveness of wind-power was way off the charts. However, you'd quantify it. Per turbine, per $, per power consumer. Turbines were just small and inefficient with few deployments. Now, many incremental improvements later, the same technology is in the right ballpark. It's a good thing those pioneers like Vestas didn't just give up when the absolute impact seemed far too small.
I agree that this is wrong.
To make small changes do a lot, you have to have a lot of them.
You can still judge small changes by how much bang they provide for the buck. (Or more formally, employ the standard marginalist framework of economics.) A small impact is fine, if the cost was small, too.
Wind-power (and other renewables) are a bit complicated too judge on these historic efficiency measures, because there was so much government interference.
(I think government should perhaps tax CO2 and other emissions, but not offer any subsidies. I want eg turning the lights on less be on the same footing as switching to 'green' energy suppliers.)
(I also don't think the government subsidies for wind and photovoltaic actually helped that much in the long run. Eg as you can see, once the subsidies ran out, the photovoltaic industry mostly left Germany for China.)
Since you have seemingly already abandoned google maps due to their activism before reading this story, what were the other reasons that made you quit?
The faster you go, the more your fuel efficiency decreases. For the most part this is due to wind resistance, because there is a velocity^2 argument there(ie if you double your velocity, you quadruple your wind resistance). Your engine is also designed to operate more efficiently at certain speeds but that is less directly quantifiable than wind resistance.
So you might be able to get 40MPG while doing a steady 40 mph, but only get 20MPG when doing 80mph.
So if you need to go 40 miles, if you can do it at 80mph it will take you 30 minutes, and will cost you 2 gallons of fuel. If you do it at 40mph it will take you 1 hour and cost you 1 gallon of fuel. So in this contrived example the longer trip has a lower carbon footprint.
In the real world, there are rarely two parallel roads going exactly the same place but just with a different speed limit. Usually you need to drive out of your way to get onto a highway to make your trip go faster. On the other hand driving directly at a slower speed usually entails more starts/stops at traffic lights which eats into your fuel efficiency. Google is probably in a good place to answer the question of how fuel efficient is a given route because they have so much data about average speeds, accelerations/decelerations required/ etc.
High petrol prices automatically discourage speeding. (Just as a carbon tax would.)
Of course, the US also had price controls on petrol. And the ensuing long queues and fights at the petrol station.
Their anarcho-capitalist utopian neighbour  to the north did not enact price controls for petrol, and subsequently did not see any queues or fights.
 Only half joking here: in many respects Canada is more what we'd call neoliberal today than the US. Compare also https://www.alt-m.org/2015/07/29/there-was-no-place-like-can...
For example, a super-fast route that's up an extremely-steep incline on the way may technically be faster from point A to B, but would be less carbon efficient than taking a slightly-longer route that is flatter.
What's really eating into your battery in a way you can't recover with regenerative breaking ever is wind resistance.
Routes that make you drive faster for longer cost more energy. (And given the way wind resistance works, for the same average speed, a variable speed is more expensive than a constant one.)
Every 100 feet of elevation change amounts to ~1% of the battery capacity of a Chevy Volt; a couple of small mountains, with lots of ups and downs, and it's easy to lose 5-10% of your range versus taking a more level route, 5% if you brake well, 10% if you brake poorly.
[Which is not to say that hitting the thruway doesn't also kill your range fast.]
As a simple, unimaginative example. I'm sure you can think of others if you put in the time.
On average people won't even notice.
Provide the option, sure. Plenty of people care enough to use it.
But don’t force it on me. I’ll find software that actually wants to serve its purpose.
My personal annoyance: their walking directions assume you don't know parkour and there isn't even an option for that
Seems to me that these are the easiest places to navigate indoors, because of the plentiful signage. Malls probably the hardest of the three, but still pretty easy IMO. I've never had any issue finding a gate or baggage claim at an airport, since there are signs every 10 feet or so.
I'm sure this will be valuable to people especially with accessibility needs.
Took me a while to figure out it's actually behind the ticket booth, and that you can only access it if you're taking a train (or have bought a ticket just for ramen).
This may be by design - the local taxi mafia usually gets the front door and then the rideshare pickup is somewhere out of the way with bad signage.
You should try getting around Toronto's main transit hub "Union Station". Legend has it the TV show Amazing Race lost contestants for several days after they were trapped in undecipherable signage hell! Good luck to Google.
1. airports are a place where a non-insignificant number of visitors have never been there before and may be unfamiliar with the language of the signage.
2. ever been late to a flight? That's a high-stress situation wherein you may be more likely to become frustrated with signage and any human-made error can lead to you missing your flight.
Of course, these two do not usually apply to malls, but still a pretty handy feature there (IMO the less time spent navigating a mall the happier I am).
We just snap a photo of a tourist or transit paper map and use that on holidays. Way faster and easier to use for just walking around or planning a non-direct transit route.
Even a basic information like, "will we be walking up a hill" is hard to see on gmaps. Even on terrain overlay, the shading is sloppy an imprecise, and contour lines are a mess (too sparse, and marked too sparsely), no hills are marked with height so it's hard to see what's up/down.
Same location (lol):
: For some reason, both Google Maps and Apple Maps have terrible contrast, to the point where they're completely unusable for me in dark mode, especially while driving. Apple Carplay is useless to me for this reason. Garmin's default map theme is pretty decent, but they actually let you change map themes, and load custom ones if you're so inclined. So I made the street lines bright and bold, with high-contrast keylines. It's an absolute joy to use now.
The latter two use cases are exactly what a map is supposed to be for. Hence, Google Maps suck at being a map.
Regardless of the semantic shift that there is probably no way to stop now, I'm hoping real maps will still be around, they are the best tool to give you spacial awareness at different scales.
Or city transport route with as few changes as possible, to enjoy the booknor to make travelling with toddler easier.
Guess these won't get a middle manager a promotion for rising some key metric, though.
That's the first I hear of this conspiracy, are there really people that believe this? FUD has honestly gotten out of control into very strange territory.
What I want to know is how much increasing volume and congestion on the greenest route reduces its greenness.
1) "I already know this part" where the navigator is muted for part of the journey and you can just get directions for the parts you don't know. I feel like this is a very common occurrence for people but we just leave the navigation on and it consumes the battery (increasing carbon footprint) and distracts us (increasing danger)
2) Multi-method transit. It's a nice day out. I don't want to drive directly to my destination. Show me free parking and let me walk half a mile to finish. This would also encourage more people to walk and be a far greener option.
Using web-searched estimates, the carbon cost of leaving this on constantly for a full year is approximately equivalent to the carbon cost of one single liter of petrol.
Also has an in-car mode that is somewhat usable for cars that have an integrated web browser with access to location data.
With Google Maps driving and reaching the ETA is very stressful (and burns a lot of gas) as you often have to "max out" the speed limits. I guess the AI that is used is based on the average person that drives like this and/or does not care about the speed limits (which is the case here in Germany). And so I doubt that anything ecologically can come out of an AI that is based on the current state. To change something you would have to assist people how to reduce fuel consumption.
This would have many advantages: it would reduce stress and accidents (people would be less willing to overtake a 'slower' car) and the time of arrival would be only 2-4 minutes later on a 1 hour trip.
To be fancy you also do things like account for deceleration and acceleration at nodes (turns).
Artificially capping the speed limit is easy. You often do this for things like tractors that don't drive at the speed limit.
If people want to drive under a certain speed it's a trivial technical problems for the individual vehicle and path finding.
I'm not sure the calculations are made individually however, so an individual speed limit may be a non trivial problem
I look at the options that Citymapper gives and then have to recalculate the route, in my head, correcting for wrong decisions about where I'll have access to a bike.
(Yes, it'll be quicker if I cycle my own bike from my home to the nearest station. No, I won't be cycling a hire bike 111 minutes away from its closest docking port.)
Any additional micro-optimizations are going to be fractional.
One routing algorithm I'm really hoping for:
Instead of navigating to a point, I wish Google Maps would let me draw a circle on the map and navigate to wherever within the circle I can drive to the quickest.
Often, Google will send me on a circuitous route to the destination pin, which takes ten minutes longer than it would to go to the parking lot off the big avenue a couple blocks away.
Practical example: I primarily walk and cycle, used to have a car but no longer do. I need to get 1-1.5 hours of walking in a day for my health. I chose walking because it is specifically calorie inefficient and unlikely to make me hungry like running or cycling.
If I can walk for all my business, I no longer need to take a separate walk in the evening to get my exercise. If I drive a car or ride the e-bike (the e part robs you off fitness benefit) I now need to take a separate dedicated walk.
If you consider that the CDC wants every American exercising several hours a week, I think your friend’s analysis would come out differently.
Also the analysis should factor in the reality that walking 6 miles will likely not trigger the same level of calorie intake increase as running or biking 6 miles; it is very easy to e.g. run and actually consume far more than you burned due to appetite response.
Surely you mean calorie efficient?
I can get from point A to point B faster and with less energy expenditure (I think) on a bike.
Theoretically running is even more inefficient (depending on speed apparently) but I hate doing it and it spikes my appetite in a way that makes dieting unsustainable. Maybe it’s genetic, I remember my dad going through a phase where he ran enough to the point where he could do a half marathon while obese; he easily consumed more than he burned despite a very heavy training schedule.
I can walk for 30 minutes, an hour, two hours, or almost literally all day and still eat less than I use which is extremely efficient for my goals but extremely inefficient at making me fat.
The question is borne of the understanding that electric vehicles merely frontload your carbon footprint, rather than eliminating it.
That way, the only source of carbon was making the additional drivetrain components.
Concerning indoor navigation: My minor concern is that I will take minor deviations eg. in an Airport, to pass by a potent Google add customer instead taking the shortest path.
It sais "Go down one level to Floor 2", to apparently reach gate E27. However, if you go down this escalator, all you will find is 2 train tracks with trains taking you out of the airport. You indeed need to take a train to gates E, but those depart from a totally different location.
This is not the title of the blog. And that matters because this doesn't make sense.
The fastest route should be the lowest carbon footprint, which it should currently default too.
"road incline and traffic congestion"
I find it unlikely road incline makes 'any' significant percentage difference. I'd want to see the mathematics on this. Adding this complexity seems like PR BS.
'Traffic congestion' might make a difference, sitting still in traffic might be better than going around. Not good for your mental health though.
How about better directions so we make less wrong turns and also save on CO2 emissions. How about better predictions on congestion. A better product will do both.
The PR Title - "Redefining what a map can be with new information and AI". And the PR last line - "All of these updates are possible thanks to AI advancements"
And that might be it.
> "classical" algorithms
They probably just need to change a constant on the time to tell the user to change lanes and they'd make a difference on screw ups.
The fact Apple now says "sorry" when it makes a mistake is quite clever, it's a quick word to stop confusion for repeated instructions.
I do think the voice on maps needs work, and it matters. Text to Voice might be 'AI'
Though I can envisage some places where the dataset might be a little “out of date”, where you end up being directed to the car park or a completely empty floor in the mall.
I recommend "Small Actions, Big Difference: Leveraging Corporate Sustainability to Drive Business and Societal Value"  on the topic to get started.
 Filament is a real-time physically based rendering engine for Android, iOS, Windows, Linux, macOS, and WebGL2 - https://github.com/google/filament
I've been complaining to google for years about it aggressively recommending and rerouting onto a 20+ mile long detour around the east bay to save a minute by its own estimation (but probably lose several minutes much of the time, in reality).
I also filed complaints with CARB and the state legislature because google was unresponsive.
I have no idea how Maps estimation works, but it's easy to imagine that it could make a decision based on a brief delay that will likely have cleared before you arrived, while the path it suggested congested ahead of you.
Even if they even managed to accurately give a solution that was correct in the expectation, a much longer route is almost always going to have a much higher 95th percentile time (unless the shorter route has a train or drawbridge or similar).
If given a choice between of an alternative that would be 1 minute faster on average but never more than 2 minutes faster and 5% of the time you're advised to use it it's actually >30 minutes slower-- which would you take?
But I doubt they're particularly accurate in terms of the expectation in any case-- at least not relative to traffic driven 1 minute differences.
Aside, I drive a stick, so I don't especially love stop and go-- but Maps has done far worse to me in an effort to avoid some stop and go on an arterial road, e.g. sending me off onto extremely hilly residential streets clogged with other drivers, leaving me chirping the tires to avoid rolling into the bumpers behind me in the Maps congo line.
It's better to be in congestion on a road that was designed for it than to still be in congestion on some detour in an area where the roads weren't designed for heavy through traffic.
Don't bother talking to people like that under the assumption they're acting in good faith, just downvote and move along.