News

Google Maps Launches ‘Motorcycle Mode’ for Millions of Two-Wheel Drivers in Egypt

Google Maps Launches ‘Motorcycle Mode’ for Millions of Two-Wheel Drivers in Egypt

Photo courtesy of Google Mena

In its largest event to date in the Middle East and North Africa region, Google on Tuesday announced the rolling out of Motorcycle Mode, a feature to help motorcyclists navigate traffic and avoid congested routes, exclusively in Egypt.

“There are four million motorcycles in Egypt, and they move very differently from cars,” said Amanda Bishop, product manager of Google Maps, as she announced the launch of the feature.

“To get this right, it took a lot of work. We spent time talking to hundreds of riders about the challenges they face getting around on motorcycles. We’ve customized routes that include shortcuts and local roads so that motorcycles avoid congestions on highways,” Bishop said.

Motorcycle Mode is currently functioning in Southeast Asia. In response to what they learnt from the experience and want to avoid in Egypt, Bishop told Egyptian Streets that when the feature was first launched, one of the challenges was how to detect small alleyways that can be used from those which are not ideal.

As well, Google Maps saw in one market that one of the ways they can get tripped up is a hack motorcycle users do, mixing the Motorcycle Mode feature with using toll roads they are not allowed on.

Google Maps paid a lot of attention to safety, Bishop stated. They considered a user interface that could be mounted on the handlebar, which would have been much more simple. However, they abandoned that, and decided to try to make the route overview memorable through marking landmarks along the way. There is also voice navigation to avoid distraction from driving.

In talking about the behind the scenes of how Google Maps developed this feature, Bishops said that Google Maps used known travel times of tens of thousands of anonymous motorcycle riders, combined it with their real time data on travel conditions, and used machine learning to build a model that provides significantly better and customized arrival times that reflect the speed at which motorcycles travel.

Photo courtesy of Google Mena

The Motor cycle Mode will be launching in Algeria and Tunisia next, Bishops announced.

Google Maps also launched Stay Safe, a feature that gives users an “off-route alert” when a driver has deviated from the suggested route by more than 500 meters, with an option to share live trip update with friends and family.

Stay Safe is targeted at passengers of taxis, ridesharing, and all the ways you might get around when someone else is driving. In the case of rideshares, which is considered safer than a regular taxi, users would book a rideshare, get in, open Google Maps, enter their destination again and follow it along the way. This is a common behavior.

Instead of having to sit there and stare at Google Maps, which uses battery and makes a person on alert, a passenger can put their phone away and get a notification if the driver deviates from the Google route.

The feature can also be shared with friends and family to get a notification if a deviation occurs.

“It is a small step but it is an important step, and hopefully just the beginning of what you will see from us with regard to go how to keep people safer,” said Bishops.

Main image courtesy of Flickr/ Thom Chandler.

Cairo University's Anti-Violence Against Woman Unit Aiming to Create 'Safe Environment for All'
Egypt’s Sharm El Sheikh Airport Leads Africa’s Top Fastest Growing Airports

Subscribe to our newsletter


News
@AyaNaderM

Aya Nader is an independent journalist based in Egypt, published in Open Democracy, Daily News Egypt, The National, and Al-Monitor, among others. She is an MA candidate in International Relations at the American University in Cairo.

More in News

Government Launches Local Goods Website to Boost Consumer Spending

Nadia SalemAugust 3, 2020
Ramy Youssef. Image courtesy of @Ramy on Instagram.

Egyptian-American Series Ramy Snags Three Emmy Nominations

Noran Alaa MorsiJuly 29, 2020

Anti-Harassment Egyptian Instagram Account Assault Police Forced Into Silence Due to Threats

Egyptian StreetsJuly 29, 2020

Two TikTok Influencers Sentenced to Two Years in Prison for Violating Family Principles

Egyptian StreetsJuly 27, 2020

Egyptian Racists Sentenced to Two Years Imprisonment for Bullying 14-Year-Old Sudanese Boy

Egyptian StreetsJuly 27, 2020

COVID-19 Deaths Edge Closer to 5,000 in Egypt: Ministry of Health

Egyptian StreetsJuly 26, 2020

Egyptian Female Students at Higher Institute of Cinema Speak Out Against Sexual Harassment

Egyptian StreetsJuly 25, 2020

5 Things to Know About Egypt’s Upcoming Senate Elections

Amina ZaineldineJuly 24, 2020