Google Maps rolled out a new feature, developed specifically for motorbike-dominated countries, for users in Vietnam on Wednesday.
With its latest update for Android devices, Google Maps add a motorbike mode to its platform to better meet the needs of the country’s motorcyclists.
Android users are able to access this mode with version 9.79 of the app.
Prior to the update, commuters who depend on the app were limited to car, walk, and public transport options.
The new feature’s machine learning capabilities allow it to analyze the difference in speeds between motorcycles and cars using data collected from countries where ‘motorcycle mode’ has already been launched, while enabling it to provide users with more accurate travel time estimates.
Data from Vietnamese motorcycle mode users will also be taken into account as it becomes available.
Google Maps is now able to mark out shortcuts and narrow roads that only motorcycles can access, or restricted roads that motorbikes are not allowed to travel on.
|Google Maps generates a live traffic map by highlighting sections of road as green, orange, red, and dark red to denote the density of traffic.|
The safety of motorcyclists is also expected to be improved with the mode’s simpler routes which rely on local landmarks as points of reference, similar to how humans provide directions, so that bikers can easily memorize the routes and do not have to check their phones on-the-go.
For example, the navigation app might instruct you to “turn right after Starbucks," instead of “turn right into Dong Du Street” when you are on Hai Ba Trung Street in District 1.
Motorcycle mode first debuted in India in December 2017, followed by Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Myanmar.
As of Thursday morning, the iOS and web versions of Google Maps have yet to be updated with the feature.
A real-time traffic feature for major roads and highways is also available in the app’s latest updates.
By calculating the speed of Google Maps users on a given road, the app can generate a live traffic map by highlighting sections of road as green, orange, red, and dark red to denote the severity of traffic.
The feature is activated in the map system when a certain threshold of users is noted in a particular area.