New Google Maps System Could Make Traffic Reports Insanely Accurate

Google says it might be able to determine the traffic type on each lane 6 photos
Photo: USPTO
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Google Maps is already a must-have tool for millions of drivers across the world, and the whole thing happens for a good reason: its navigation capabilities are outstanding, helping us reach a destination, faster, safer, and more conveniently.
As far as the faster bit is concerned, Google uses multiple ways to determine traffic conditions, including calculating the average traffic speed along a route.

In other words, Google looks at how fast cars are moving on a specific route, calculates the average speed, and then figures out if this is the best route for you too.

But the search giant itself admits that “determining the average traffic speed along a route without taking into account [different] lanes is likely to lead to inaccurate average traffic speed.” So what Google is trying to do right now is to determine the travel speed on each lane, therefore providing us with more accurate traffic reports overall.

First and foremost, Google says the problem is that some vehicles have access to special lanes where the traffic could be much faster than on the others. Carpool lanes are one such example, so relying exclusively on the average speed for a section of the road isn’t necessarily the best way to go.

A new patent called “Systems and methods for improved traffic conditions visualization” details how Google could address this problem and eventually figure out the speed for each line, which means each driver would be provided with “the correct type of traffic information,” as the company itself puts it.

The patent describes multiple ideas that Google has been exploring, including measuring the speed and analyzing traffic data for multiple points on the road. Then, Google says, the system could be able to determine the speed for each lane, which would eventually provide us with a massive Google Maps update that can indicate the traffic conditions appropriate for each car based on your account.

So if you do qualify for a carpool lane, then you could get a more accurate traffic report based on the information collected specifically for your car, therefore knowing exactly how long it’d take to reach your destination.

Of course, such a system would be first and foremost implemented in Google Maps, but on the other hand, it’s important to keep in mind everything is still in the patent stage, which means it could take years until it enters the development phase, if this even happens in the first place.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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