Google unveils “Motorbike Mode” to help millions of bikers get around

By Oliver Smith 5 December 2017
Image: Getty/ Ian Cook.

Rev your engines.

India is the home of the motorbike.

An estimated 37m of these small nimble vehicles grace India’s streets every day – one motorbike for every two cars – making the country home to the largest number of bikes anywhere in the world.

But, to get around, these riders have to navigate with regular old Google Maps for cars. An app that doesn’t take into account the size, speed and manoeuvrability of their vehicles… until now.

Wheely good?

Today Google Maps started rolling out “Motorbike Mode” across India, finally catering to the millions of motorbike and moped riders.

Along with car, public transport, and walking options, motorbike mode has shorter travel times which take into account the speed of bikes, and routes that take advantage of motorbikes’ ability to fit down smaller alleys and passages.

Google said it spoke to hundreds of riders and followed thousands of actual motorbike routes to create “machine learning models” that can accurately predict speed and bike routes.

Motorbike mode also includes details of road closures and motorbike parking status at your destination.

Rev your engines

It seems motorbike mode is part of a wider Google initiative to support two-wheelers.

Its other navigation app Waze added support for motorbike directions just last week across the UK, US and Canada.

For now, it’s not clear how long motorbike mode will remain exclusive to India for, but it’s clear the company has global aspirations. Riders in the surrounding motorbike-heavy countries like China, Indonesia, and Vietnam are likely revving their engines in anticipation.

Here’s hoping Google will start supporting all bikers to get around soon.