The driving dream is to have a car that does almost everything for you – and BMW understands this. The company’s new partnership with Connected Signals will bring the EnLighten app to drivers, a truly neat little piece of iOS dashboard tech that allows you to scan ahead for traffic light status.
EnLighten is part of the new wave of dashboard tech that is busy giving drivers the same capabilities found on their smartphones, except within hands reach next to the driver’s seat. There’s a growing number of touchscreens, car apps, in-car services, and of course competitive tech from Apple, Microsoft, Google and other companies. However, this latest “infotainment” feature from BMW is a bit different.
This is the first in-car service that can actually predict when traffic lights will change based on your car’s position and speed. Using your car screen (this is for newer BMWs with those fancy displays), the app will give you a countdown for the upcoming light, showing how long that precious green light will last or how long you will have to wait in the street before you can finally move on. The app will also make suggestions about whether or not to brake, if you are thinking about running that one last green light in hopes you can make it.
EnLighten provides a couple other services too. If you are at an intersection where there are dedicated traffic signals for turning, the app will use your car’s turn indicator to note which way the driver wants to go and provider status updates for the relevant light so that you don’t get confused (BMW drivers, please remember to actually look at the traffic lights in real life, thank you).
While this sounds cool and beneficial for all drivers everywhere, please note that EnLighten comes with several serious caveats. First, it is only available a few selection BMW models that have BMW Apps, so this feature will not suddenly appear in every car on the street. Second, this is an iOS app, so you have to be will to use Apple services – Android fans please don’t apply.
Third and perhaps most importantly, the app can only work in cities that have smart traffic signals. Currently, that means it only works in Portland, Eugene (both of Oregon), and Salt Lake City. That limits the tech to…well, dozens of people. Hopefully more support will be coming quickly.