Google Maps have unveiled a new motorcycle mode in several Asian markets where two-wheelers are a very popular form of transportation including Thailand.
The new routing mode accounts for travel times on typical motorbike and scooter speeds, offers driving directions for narrow paths and shortcuts that a full-sized car can’t access, and avoids toll roads where they’re not allowed to enter. The mode launched first in India last December, a country that recently overtook China as the world’s biggest two-wheeler market. Unlike a typical driving direction that tells you to turn at certain streets, navigation would use the most current street view information to inform directions with landmarks, such as “turn right at Bangkok Hospital” instead of the formal street name. At an event announcing this feature in Thailand, Google Maps’ head of product Krish Vitaldevara says the goal is for drivers to read through the directions first to help memorise the path before they start navigating, especially since these countries tend to contain roads and alleyways without actual names. Motorcycle mode on Google Maps is now available in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam, though the update will come first to Google Maps on Android. Google did not specify when the routing option would be available on iOS or the web or whether it plans to expand this to Western markets.