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Google Maps Unveils Updated Stoplight, Road Information

It’s been a busy week for Google Maps.

On Tuesday (April 5), the tech giant announced it was updating Maps to detail toll prices thanks to local tolling authorities.

On Thursday (April 7), the company said it was making a number of updates to its business hours and road information functions.

And as Ars Technica reported Friday (April 8), the company is moving to improve a feature on Maps that shows stop signs and traffic lights on everyone’s route while they’re navigating. Google’s new navigation map is due to roll out in select countries in the coming weeks on Android, Android Auto, iOS and CarPlay.

See also: Google Maps Gets Toll Update

The tech blog noted that this feature had existed in some areas since 2020, but it never seemed to work while navigating and wasn’t something everyone could access.

In the case of the business hours update, Google noted on its blog that it had developed a machine learning model that automatically identifies if a business’ hours are likely wrong, “then instantly updates them with predictions generated by artificial intelligence (AI).”

“With this new AI-first approach, we’re on track to update the hours for over 20 million businesses around the globe in the next six months — helping you know exactly when your favorite store, restaurant or cafe is open for business,” the blog post said.

Google said it’s also examining ways it can use imagery to update other information. Among these steps: launching a third-party imagery pilot in the U.S. to make sure drivers see the most up-to-date speed limit information in the community.

“Say our systems think that the speed limit information on a particular highway needs to be updated,” the company said. “With the help of third-party imagery partners that already gather roadway imagery to improve delivery routes, we can request a photo of the specific stretch of road that also includes a speed limit sign.”

If that photo is available, Google said it can use a combination of AI help from its operations team to identify the sign in the image, glean the new speed limit information, and update Google Maps accordingly.

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