Science & Technology

Google Responds to Climate Change Challenges With New Sustainability Features

New Google tools will help people, cities and organizations that have sustainability high on their agendas to tackle more transportation and energy issues.

Google Responds to Climate Change Challenges With New Sustainability Features

Google, on Oct. 10, introduced new sustainability features, including EV insights, fuel-efficient routing, mitigation of airplane contrails impact, assistance with the clean energy transition, and solar planning.

In its latest blog post, Google shed light on the new sustainability-related updates that address the most pressing transportation and energy issues. Many of Google’s innovative eco-friendly solutions involve artificial intelligence (AI). The company also shared its sustainability progress update at the Sustainable with Google event in Brussels.

The new Google sustainability features include:

  • Project Green Light that aims to reduce urban emissions using AI. The tool helps engineers design the traffic lights system in such a way that enables drivers to reduce the number of stops cars make at red lights and cut emissions accordingly. At launch, the feature is available in 12 cities across four continents, with more locations to come next year.
  • Fuel-efficient routing launched in India and Indonesia, adding to the list of the U.S., Canada, Europe and Egypt that already availed the tool. In these newly-added countries, fuel-efficient routes are also included for two-wheelers enabling more people to travel more sustainably.
  • Enhanced EV insights now offer a comparison engine with EV prices and battery range. The tool will help customers discover new EV models and find federal government incentives for qualifying vehicles. The latter option is currently available in the U.S., with German and French national incentives coming soon.
  • Fuel Cost Calculator was updated with electric and fuel-based car results that can help drivers adequately compare the cost of charging with filling the car’s gas tank at the gas station. It is now available in 21 countries around the world.
  • Battery range explorer shows how far drivers can get on a single charge. Drivers can now customize a trip route to see how many charges may be needed, taking into account elevation change and speed limits. The battery range insights are to roll out in the U.S. in the coming weeks and in Europe early next year.
  • Avoiding contrails, which account for roughly 35% of aviation’s global warming impact, is possible with Google AI capabilities. Those can predict where contrails could form and how planes would avoid making them.
  • Home cooling and heating suggestions will now appear in Search along with their energy efficiency information and financial incentives helping to obtain the most sustainable heating and cooling options for your household.
  • Tapestry product that offers a single virtualized view of the electricity system was enhanced with new AI-powered tools for grid mapping and urban planning. It is now able to help governments and utilities efficiently model various scenarios regarding clean energy facilities.
  • Optimizing solar placement is now available on Google Earth. This capability will be helpful for cities and organizations keen on reducing their carbon emissions.

Google also announced that new train route suggestions will soon appear on Search when you look for flights to offer more sustainable travel alternatives. Besides, in France, when people look for driving directions in the near future, Maps will also suggest public transit or walking routes next to driving options if travel times for both transport means are comparable and practical.

Earlier, Google introduced Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro smartphones powered by AI.

Nina Bobro

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Nina is passionate about financial technologies and environmental issues, reporting on the industry news and the most exciting projects that build their offerings around the intersection of fintech and sustainability.