Vehicles often burn most fuel due to the stop-and-go movement at traffic signals. To minimise this, researchers of Princeton University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have now suggested a software service that uses mobile phones to detect and predict the schedule of traffic lights, which will help users in slowing down their vehicles to minimise frequent stoppings and thus reduce fuel consumption.
The service, known as the SignalGuru system, connects various smartphones to keep a centralised repository of information about traffic lights. The information is captured by the cameras of users’ smartphones and tells the driver when to slow down so as to avoid stopping at the next traffic light.
The paid version of the system would also have audio suggestions for drivers. For example, it can suggest when they should take another route.
So far the system has only been used in Singapore and Cambridge (USA). The researchers found that fuel consumption was reduced by about 20 per cent when SignalGuru was used.
The MIT website says, “The system is intended to capitalise on a growing trend, in which drivers install brackets on their dashboards so that they can use their smartphone as a GPS navigator while driving. But unlike previous in-car cellphone applications, the new system, dubbed SignalGuru, relies on images captured by the phones’ cameras.”