Next fall BMW will be releasing an updated traffic feature built into ConnectedDrive in several European countries. This updated program will allow for more dense coverage, more frequent updating and quicker optimized re-routing. The program and the technology will eventually make it to the US but no time-table has yet been given.
Official Release: From autumn 2011, all new BMW cars can be equipped with an innovative traffic information system to ensure that sheer driving pleasure is compromised as little as possible by tiresome traffic jams and tailbacks. Real-Time Traffic Information (RTTI) has been developed by BMW ConnectedDrive for BMW navigation systems. It delivers unique dependability and accuracy in the automotive sector when generating, transmitting and applying information on the latest traffic situation in real-time. This data is used for calculating the most efficient route and making any subsequent detour recommendations.
BMW ConnectedDrive customers are able to use RTTI as a premium alternative to the continually available Traffic Message Channel (TMC). The key benefits are as follows: faster and more comprehensive data communication via cellular networks and the SIM which is integrated in the vehicle. In addition to motorways and major roads, the new system also covers country roads and numerous inner-city links. Considerably more data are taken into account for analysing the traffic situation and they are also updated more frequently. In the future, BMW drivers will receive precise information about the traffic situation on a potential diversion route in addition to warnings about traffic jams on the current route. Unexpected delays occurring on the alternative route are thus a thing of the past. Instead, the navigation system always seeks out the fastest route to the driver’s selected destination, even under the most adverse conditions.
This very tangible benefit for streamlined journeys compared with previous bulletins about tailbacks is based on the significantly increased volume of data that can be used for analysing the traffic situation. Apart from the traffic reports provided by the police, only a limited number of sensors are available on motorways and arterial roads so far, whereas the future will see both moving and stationary vehicles providing data that indicate the latest status on traffic flow and congestion. Apart from truck fleets operated by freight forwarders and taxis with navigation systems linked to a control centre, mobile phones carried in vehicles will also deliver data that indicate traffic jams or tailbacks.
The dynamic network connections of cellular phones will transmit anonymous movement profiles which will be matched with the entire road network. The number of locations and the speed at which they are changed within the cellular network will provide information about the current status of the respective traffic situation. Data are transmitted in real time via the GSM cellular network. An active smartphone app is not necessary.
Local authority traffic computers will also be included in data aggregation, which will allow drivers in many towns and cities to receive information about possible delays on ring roads and connection routes between cities. Coloured road markings on the navigation map displayed in the control display of the iDrive control system indicate the latest traffic flow. The appropriate traffic situation is displayed in four increments – from green for free traffic flow, through yellow for slow-moving traffic and orange for stop-and-go, to red for gridlock.
The analysed road network is divided into sections of 500 metres and information is updated every three minutes. This means that very precise data is provided on the length of queues and the resulting delays. The driver is also able to notice changes on the color map display to identify whether the traffic situation has gotten worse or the tailback has already started to disperse.
The detailed data covering a comprehensive and dense road network enables RTTI to provide much more precise and dependable recommendations on alternative routes. For example, if a tailback is reported on a particular motorway section, the navigation system can immediately calculate the resulting delay whenever destination guidance is switched on. However, this is not the only parameter that can be determined. Since the traffic situation on roads away from the motorway is also recorded for the first time, the system provides effective suggestions on the alternative route. Once again, the system substantially reduces the risk of driving into other congestion areas when travelling on the alternative route and losing additional time as a result.
Recommendations on alternative routes include precise data on the difference in distance and time compared to the current route. This knowledge provides the driver with the option of accepting the traffic jam on the main route, if the proposed alternative routes offer no time savings. Drivers also have the option of deciding to take a longer diversion in order to have a less stressful journey and perhaps even include a pleasant stop-off en route.
For many years, BMW ConnectedDrive customers have already been able to take advantage of exclusive supplementary information on traffic conditions in place of the TMC messages. The Traffic Info Plus service (V-Info+) provided by BMW ConnectedDrive supported drivers with information on the length of queues and delay times, as well as the weather conditions and corresponding state of the road along the route. The introduction of the succeeding system RTTI has further developed the intelligent integration of driver, vehicle and surroundings in order to further promote comfort and enhanced driving pleasure.
In order to use RTTI, the car must be equipped with the BMW Navigation System Professional including mobile phone preparation with Bluetooth interface. The new generation of traffic information will be offered as a priced option in addition to a BMW ConnectedDrive contract.