Waze is testing out technology it calls “Waze Beacons” to keep drivers connected to GPS navigation systems in tunnels. The concrete used to build tunnels serves as a barrier, making tracking using GPS signals impossible when driving in tunnels. Developers at Waze have created small battery operated, low-energy “microcontrollers” that attach to tunnel walls and transit navigational information via Bluetooth to drivers. The project is the brainchild of Waze Engineer Gil Disatnik who was inspired to address the challenge of navigating unfamiliar tunnels when he got lost after losing a signal in a Boston tunnel.
These beacons allow drivers to acquire real-time navigation directions and traffic alerts while in tunnels. The access to timely navigation information is essential for drivers to known when to make in-tunnel exits and helps to to reduce dangers caused by drivers making last minute lane changes due to navigational confusion.
Currently, Waze Beacons are being tested in select tunnels in Pittsburgh and Haifa, Israel and will soon be tested in Paris, France and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Wake Beacon is open to Waze Connected Citizens Program municipal partners and those organizations that are interested in participating are invited to apply.