1) AI meets ML
People travel over 1 billion km with help from Google Maps in more than 200+ countries. Google uses artificial intelligence (AI) machine learning (ML) to predict whether the traffic along your route is more or less, an estimated travel time, and an estimated time of arrival (ETA).
2) Improving traffic accuracy
Google has partnered with DeepMind, which is an Alphabet AI research lab, to improve the accuracy of its traffic prediction capabilities in maps.” Our ETA predictions have a very high accuracy bar. In fact, we all see that our predictions have been consistently accurate for over 97 percent of drives,” said Johann Lau, Product Manager, Google Maps.
3) Learning from the data
To predict how traffic will look in the near future, Google analyzes historical traffic patterns for roads over time. For example, one way may show that the 280 freeway in Northern California typically has vehicles traveling at a speed of 65mph between 6-7 am, but only at 15-20mph in the late afternoon. So we then combine this database of historical traffic patterns with the live traffic conditions and using Machine Learning to generate the predictions based on both different sets of data.
4) Varied sources
Two other sources of information are essential to making sure Google recommend the best route, also authoritative data from local governments, and real-time feedback from the users. Traditional data lets Google know about the speed limits, tolls, or if certain roads are restricted due to things like the construction of highways or Covid-19. “And incident reports from drivers let Google quickly show if a road is closed, if there is any construction nearby, or if there’s a disabled vehicle or an object on the road,” – Google.
5) Looking at the big picture
With Google traffic predictions combined with the live traffic conditions, we let you know that if you continue down your current route or there is a good chance that you’ll get stuck in unexpected gridlock traffic about 30 minutes into your ride which would mean missing your appointment. As a result, Google Maps automatically reroutes you using its knowledge about nearby road conditions and incidents, helping you avoid the jam altogether and get to your appointment on time.