For the most part, when we’re at CES, we generally see many consumer devices and very few consumer services. Connected Signals is one service we happened upon because of a chance run-in with them in an elevator. The service sounded interesting, so we made it a point to check out their small and unassuming booth. As it turned out, the service is brilliant!
Connected Signals offers an app called, EnLighten. The app tracks traffic lights in cities who provide the company with their traffic light data. This allows the app to tell users exactly when traffic lights will turn red, green and yellow. The app will even tell you how fast you need to be going (within posted speed limits) to make the next light.
It’s an effort to provide some assistance in alleviating congestion on city streets and getting commuters to their destinations quicker. There is one caveat to the whole system though: cities and municipalities need to willing allow Connected Signals access to their traffic light data.
Of course, there are some cities who aren’t willing to do this. But there are even more cities whose traffic control systems are grossly out of date and cannot use the program if they wanted to. Connected Signals is also working with automakers like BMW to integrate the technology into their vehicles. We weren’t told what other automakers were being courted but we love this idea and hope they all jump on board.
Partnering closely with municipalities, we eliminate the complexities of securely gathering real-time signal data and making it readily available in a standard format. We combine this data with map, GPS, and speed limit information, and then apply proprietary analytics and algorithms to predict upcoming traffic light behavior. That information is then delivered to vehicles via cellular networks.
Unlike other connected-vehicle initiatives, our approach requires neither costly municipal infrastructure investments nor the addition of dedicated hardware to every vehicle. Compare that to the US Department of Transportation’s Dedicated Short-Range Communications program. DSRC will require billions of dollars and years to implement. Even a small city of 200,000 could expect to pay four million dollars to add DSRC to its lights, in addition to hundreds of thousands of dollars per year for ongoing maintenance costs.
Connected Signals says their software and technology could dramatically improve:
- Driver safety and stress
- Fuel efficiency and carbon emissions
- Urban traffic flow
- Time-to-destination estimates
- Autonomous vehicle safety