Waze Brings Beacon Tech to NYC to Clear Tunnel Congestion

By Michael Teich

Waze is rolling out its beacon technology in New York City to improve tunnel navigation and help drivers commute in and out of the Big Apple.

The company is teaming up with New York's MTA and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to install beacons in bridges and tunnels that are used to journey in and out of Manhattan. The launch follows installations in nine other cities around the world, including U.S. cities Chicago, Boston, and Pittsburgh.

"This allows us to basically locate the users inside the tunnels," said head of Waze Beacons Gil Disatnik in an interview on Cheddar Tuesday.

"With the beacons, we are to provide this continuous location throughout the tunnel."

Waze Beacons were invented in-house at Waze, and installations began in 2016. The technology brings navigation to drivers underground where GPS signal is lost. The microcontrollers, which transmit a Bluetooth signal delivering continuous underground coverage, have been added in the Lincoln Tunnel, Holland Tunnel, Queens-Midtown Tunnel, and Hugh L. Carey Tunnel. Waze said nearly 4 million people use its app in New York City, but it does not monetize the beacons.

"There's no financial stake for us in this. We don't make money selling beacons," Disatnik said. "For us, it's really all about making traffic smoother and better for everyone, Waze users and non-Waze users alike. This technology is open for everyone to use."

Google ($GOOGL) acquired Waze in 2013 for $966 million.

For full interview click here.

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