Imagine having a gadget in your car that could tell you how fast to go to avoid stopping at the next light. Well, now you can. A network of dashboard smartphones can monitor traffic lights and congestion helping drivers avoid idling, cutting fuel use by 20 percent.
SignalGuru collects and analyzes traffic data from images captured on dashboard smartphones, to inform drivers of the most efficient routes. The researchers installed iPhones on car dashboards in Cambridge, Massachusetts and in Singapore, where traffic lights have fixed schedules. SignalGuru can predict when lights will change with an error margin of two-thirds of a second.
The SignalGuru study won a best paper award at last month’s Association for Computing Machinery MobiSys conference, but the program would require many users to be a real solution for traffic congestion.
“If you can save even a small percentage of that, then you can have a large effect on the energy that the U.S. consumes,” Emmanouil Koukoumidis, a Princeton PhD candidate and visiting researcher at MIT, was quoted as saying.