Waze Beacons Keep You Connected in Tunnels

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Dropping a satellite signal in a tunnel can mean losing access to favorite tunes for a few seconds, but it can also interrupt navigation systems, and leave drivers unsure of where to go once they emerge.

Waze and Bluvision are teaming up to combat this so-called "tunnel blindness" with Waze Beacons. Installed on tunnel walls, the battery-operated, low-energy microcontrollers transmit messages via Bluetooth to a mobile device, helping you stay on the correct route.

"This makes Waze the first navigation app to accurately route drivers, in real time, as they navigate through tunnels where Waze Beacons are installed," Waze said in a blog post.

It also means fewer collisions caused by last-minute lane changes, more accurate estimated times of arrival, live updates on traffic, and a heads-up about accidents from within the tunnel, the company said.

Bluvision's beacons are rated IP67, which means they can withstand splashes from tires and windshield wipers as cars zoom through tunnels. Approximately 42 beacons per mile of tunnel are required at a cost of $28.50 per beacon. They are currently being tested in Pittsburgh, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, and Haifa, Israel.

The Beacon program is open to Waze Connected Citizens Program partners, municipalities, and private tollway and road organizations worldwide, which can apply online. The beacons work with any service that supports Bluetooth, so it's not limited to Waze.

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