As of this week, drivers of BMWs may be a little less frustrated by traffic lights. No, they don’t now have the power to change red lights to green, but they can at least find out how long it’ll be before lights change color. This feature comes courtesy of a partnership with Orgeon-based startup Connected Signals, which makes an existing app known as EnLighten.
The app works by connecting online with participating cities’ traffic light control systems. This lets it know the cycles on which the different traffic lights operate. Using the phone’s GPS, it then determines what light the driver is approaching, plus it checks the system to see how recently that light has changed to green, amber or red.
Based on records of how different lights’ cycles are affected by traffic flow at different times of day, it’s able to determine approximately how long it will be before the light changes color. This is indicated by a display on the phone’s screen, showing the current color of the light along with a countdown to when it should change.
So, what good is that information?