Sunday, June 20

Google Maps will soon use machine learning to avoid ‘braking moments’

Google Maps is getting a ton of new features that should make navigating a smoother experience. Additionally, Maps will soon provide more details about the hustle and bustle of an area, provide more detailed street maps, and more.

First, Google announced a Maps driving navigation feature that would try to avoid “hard braking moments.” Google explains that certain areas have a greater amount of hard braking – for example, a busy intersection where traffic can suddenly slow down. The company cited research from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute noting that sudden braking moments may indicate areas with a higher probability of accidents.

With that in mind, Google says Maps will soon use machine learning to reduce the number of sudden braking moments drivers can experience by sending them down alternate routes. Google explained that Maps already calculates multiple route options for drivers; In the future, Maps will automatically recommend a route with less chance of hard braking if the estimated time of arrival (ETA) is the same or the difference is minimal.

Google is also adding a feature to Maps that can plot a more fuel-efficient route.

Live View improvements and more detailed street maps

Left: current Google maps. Right: more detailed maps.

Google also announced enhancements to Live View, Maps’ sleek augmented reality (AR) navigation feature. Users will be able to instantly access Live View from the map. Also, you can now display useful information such as how busy the stores around you are, recent reviews, and photos. Live View can also display new road signs for complex intersections for easier navigation. Lastly, Live View can show where you are in relation to nearby places, like work or home, or for those traveling to a new area, in relation to your hotel.

The new Live View features will roll out globally on Android and iOS in the coming months.

The company also highlighted its more detailed street maps, showing road widths to scale, as well as sidewalks, crosswalks, trails and more. The detailed street maps were first released last August and will be expanded to 50 more cities by the end of the year.

Busy areas and most relevant maps

Google Maps will soon expand its “activity information” to entire areas. Maps currently provides activity details for specific locations, such as restaurants, shops, or transit stops. It is very useful information, especially during the pandemic, as it allows people to plan trips accordingly and avoid locations during peak hours.

In the coming months, Maps on iOS and Android will be able to show the hustle and bustle of an entire area, such as a neighborhood or part of a city. For example, users can check Google Maps and see that a farmers market has made the area around their local park more crowded than usual and plan a new route for their morning walk.

Maps will also begin displaying a personalized map experience that highlights relevant places based on factors such as time, location, and whether you are traveling. For example, someone who opens Maps regularly in the morning may see nearby coffee shops instead of places to dine. Someone traveling for a weekend can see local landmarks and tourist attractions highlighted on the map.

The most relevant map details will also arrive on Android and iOS in the coming months.

Image Credit: Google

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