By Andrew Liszewski
Researchers at MIT and Princeton have developed a new smartphone app called SignalGuru that lets drivers know the optimal speed they should be driving (within reason) to avoid having to stop and wait at red lights. Which in turn means better fuel efficiency. The app relies on the cameras of dashboard mounted smartphones and their ability to connect and talk to each other over a wireless network, keeping tabs on the color of the lights ahead of a driver on a given road.
The system has been tested in Cambridge, Massachusetts where traffic lights run on a fixed schedule, and the success rate of its predictions helped drivers reduce fuel consumption by an average of 20%. But when tested in a city like Singapore where traffic light timing dynamically adjusts based on the traffic flow, the system wasn’t as effective. However, the results should improve once the app becomes a commercial product, and more and more drivers start using it and contributing information about the status of traffic lights around a given city.