Imagine being able to perfectly predict the change of each and every traffic light that you cross.
Believe it or not, in select cities, you can already access that clairvoyant ability – provided you have a compatible iOS-powered smart device and you’ve downloaded the EnLighten app from Connected Signals. And in carrying on a long tradition of connectivity firsts, the BMW Group has just announced that they’ve become the first automaker to integrate the EnLighten app into their cars; any of the German firm’s wares equipped with the optional “BMW App” feature will be able to interface with the iOS device and display real-time traffic light predictions.
Software similar in function to the EnLighten app does already exist, but importantly, these tend to use only (often unreliable) GPS data for vehicle localization. Connected Signals developed the EnLighten app to use a more sophisticated means of acquiring the vehicle’s instantaneous position, and its integration with BMW Group vehicles means that it can add Speedometer, turn signal, and brake pedal position to its host of tools.
For instance, when the driver has activated his or her turn signal, the EnLighten app will filter its information to only what is relevant – like, say, if an intersection has a separate left-turn-only signal. It will not only display the current color of the light, but a countdown timer to the next change, and a recommendation as to whether the driver ought to slow to a stop.
Of course, all of that useful information doesn’t come easily; for now, the EnLighten app has severely limited utility. A release from BMW states that just 2,000 traffic lights in three US cities use the requisite “smart” signal technology – in Portland and Eugene, Oregon, and in Salt Lake City, Utah.
More cities are soon to follow, but for the time being at least, the EnLighten app will only function in those locations.