A new smartphone app called EnLighten is telling drivers how long they might be waiting at traffic lights. Inventor Matt Ginsberg’s novel creation predicts when a red light will turn green.
The app uses GPS technology to gather location data and analyze traffic information. It can also calculate a car’s velocity using its accelerometer. In many cities, traffic light timing changes depending on real-time traffic, so the app generates a prediction based on a combination of factors.
Ginsberg’s goal is to have the app running in 50 cities by year’s end. So far, Portland and Eugene, Ore.; Pasadena, Arcadia and San Jose, Calif.; Salt Lake City and Provo, Utah; Garland, Texas; and Las Vegas, Nev., are on board.
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Ginsberg eventually hopes to sell the technology to carmakers, so it can be incorporated directly into cars, preserving smartphone battery life and allowing for further integration into the car’s other systems. He hopes his app will make sitting at red lights less of an ordeal for drivers.
Using the app means drivers don't have to constantly stare at the light waiting for it to change, Ginsberg told NewScientist. "It also doesn't seem as long because you can see the progress," he added.
EnLighten was exhibited at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.