First you have Watson taking over our game shows and now IBM’s Smarter Traveler has your commute covered. This new system is better than your average GPS’ traffic alerts – it learns your routes and then analyzes data from various sources to actually predict how bad it is going to be before you even leave the comfort of your home or office.
The system is the product of IBM, Caltrans and a team at UCal Berkeley. It combines predictive analysis software with an existing network of road sensors, toll booths, and data from GPS equipped cell phones to learn travel habits, routes and areas of congestion. Alerts are then automatically delivered via email or text message with the status of the driver’s typical commute before the trip begins, eliminating potential driver distraction during the trip. What I really like is the app’s ability to suggest alternative routes before the traffic gets gridlocked – I cannot tell you how many times I get the traffic alert just as I am pulling up to the back of the wall of stopped traffic. It is anticipated that suggested alternative routes may include trips to the nearby public transportation along with current schedules for buses and trains. Useful and eco-friendly!
You can check out IBM’s press release here. Right now, it is being tested in the Bay area, but hopefully soon in an urban area near you. In anticipation, I already signed up. You can too here. Maybe, just maybe, we can all kiss traffic hell goodbye in the near future.