US startup and BMW prepare to deliver feature that sees red lights ahead of the driver image

Germany’s BMW, the largest luxury automaker in the world, has partnered with an Oregon tech start-up to deliver the EnLighten system, a feature that could save time, fuel, and lower accident rates.

BMW drivers could soon see on their priced vehicles an advanced alert allowing them to know when the next stoplight is about to go green or red, and offer the best spped assessment that can mitigate a wait. The system works in coherence with the ones in certain cities, where the stoplights are networked, operating in sequence and can even be adjusted to improve traffic. The EnLighten app, developed by Connected Signals, of Eugene, Oregon, can access these urban arrays and knows when you are close to a light thanks to the GPS system. The Enlighten app can already be used by owners of iOS and Android smartphones and BMW is going a little further. For Apple owners, the car’s system – if equipped with BMW Apps – can read the application and display its findings on the instrument panel.

Besides the obvious – telling you if it’s green or red – the display will also deliver an alert if the light is about to change and can predict if you need to speed or slow down to catch the green. BMW’s version is also smarter, recognizing if the car has a turn signal on, making the connection to lights that are separate for left and right. For now, BMW’s own version works only in the US cities of Portland and Eugene, Oregon, and Salt Lake City – but the company says it will add more cities in the near future as the app’s developer says it monitors “10,000 lights in over 100 cities and towns” including overseas markets, such as New Zealand.