Waze – Setting Out to Eliminate Tunnel Blindness for the App

Waze, the popular navigation app, is now putting in a new twist to the term “tunnel vision.” Unlike what you might have envisioned, the term tunnel vision here means that the company behind the application is now placing “eyes” on tunnels so that you will still be able to use the app even when going through a tunnel. Because of this move, the company is ensuring drivers to keep on track of their routes as they won’t lose their way when their GPS signal disappears while inside a tunnel.

Waze - Setting Out to Eliminate Tunnel Blindness for the App

Waze Brings “Eyes” Inside Tunnels so Motorists Won’t Lose Their Way

Waze plans on keeping drivers connected in situations wherein GPS signals become a scarcity. In order to deal with this challenge, the company behind the popular navigation app is installing low-cost battery-powered beacons within tunnels. These beacons will then be able to transmit signals towards smartphones and tablets that are found within tunnels that the company has in its database. With it, they can cover approximately 7,500-miles (or about 12,000-kilometers) across the globe. The beacons are able to maintain map connections, for as long as motorists turn on the Bluetooth signal on their devices.

The first batch of beacons will be turned on Wednesday within two Pittsburgh tunnels: Liberty and Fort Pitt. There is also another batch of beacons found in Israel, wherein the Waze app was founded prior to Google purchasing it back in 2013 for $969-million.

The development team behind the app is trying to persuade all tunnel operators (that are mostly government agencies) to purchase and install the aforementioned beacons in order to address the problem. A set of 42 beacons will cost approximately $1,200, and that figure is the required minimum to provide coverage for every mile within a tunnel. Each of the purchased beacons will have a guaranteed warranty from the company for four years.

Because of this, there are now plans for the Waze beacons to be installed in tunnels found in Paris and in Rio de Janero. Waze is not projecting how long it will take before it will realize its goal of having all tunnels blanketed with beacons so that drivers can make full use of the app, even under difficult circumstances. It should also be noted that the transmissions being sent from the beacons will be unencrypted. Hence, other digital map services, such as the likes of Google’s and Apple’s own navigation apps, can also connect whenever there isn’t a GPS signal.


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