Google Maps’ motorcycle navigation mode has come to Africa, Kenya precisely

Google, said on Monday it wants to help Motorbikes in Africa navigate more effectively with the introduction of Motorbike Mode on Google Maps in Kenya, offering the voice navigation service for bike riders in Africa for the first time.

The new routing mode offers turn-by-turn navigation, avoids restricted roads, suggests routes and shortcuts that are more efficient, and shows accurate arrival times.

‘The feature was first introduced in India last year and is currently available in other Asian countries such as Vietnam and Thailand, where motorcycle use is very widespread. Google also announced it would launch the Street View service in Kenya, allowing locals and tourists to explore up to 9,500 kilometers (5,900 miles) of roads including in coastal cities like Mombasa’, Quartz reports.

For over a million Kenyans, boda bodas are a convenient and affordable way to move and transport goods from one place to another. With Google Maps’ new Motorbike Mode, users across Kenya will now be able to get directions and turn-by-turn navigation, to suggest routes that are more efficient, Google said in a statement.

Navigating in cities like Nairobi can be difficult due to the poor infrastructure, insufficient street addresses, terrible roads, and the absence of efficient public transportation. Boda bodas, the local name for motorcycle taxis have grown more popular over the year. Google said over a million Kenyans using motorbikes as their preferred mode of transport. The influx of cheap motorcycles from Indian manufacturers and the availability of easy financing and maintenance solutions have also led to the growth of the two-wheeler market across Africa. The growth in motorcycles has also been noticed by ride-hailing services like Uber and Taxify, who have customized their products to allow riders to hail a boda boda in Nairobi or even a three-wheeled tuk-tuk in Mombasa. Besides being fast, these rides are usually cheaper options than car taxis, making them attractive to customers.

Google’s Kenya manager, Charles Murito, told Reuters the company had targeted farmers because it employed 40 percent of the population and accounted for a third of gross domestic product (GDP).

We want to see the power of technology elevate small scale farming. We hope that through this initiative, we will see a positive impact in food security, job creation and GDP growth in Kenya,” he said.

Adedayo Laketu

Adedayo Laketu is a creative inventor who's interested in curating a New Age for Africa across all mediums.


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