Photo: Inrix

Most “real time” traffic reports are outdated by the time they’re delivered, or they’re so scattershot that they have nothing to do with the course you’ve set. But BMW thinks it may have a better solution in the form of a new service called Advanced Real-Time Traffic Information (ARTTI) that promises to deliver traffic info faster and more accurately.
It uses technology from traffic information titan Inrix, which supplies BMW and most other automakers as well as aftermarket navigation device suppliers and smartphone nav apps with data. The company aggregates data from DOTs and other governmental agencies and millions of “probe” vehicles and matches it with historical traffic patterns as well as live events such as concerts that can cause tie-ups.
But existing data pipelines — FM broadcast via the Radio Data System or satellite radio receivers – are the primary cause of delays in delivery of traffic information, Inrix spokesperson Jim Baks told Wired. “By the time incident data is reported and sent out over these networks, the traffic could clear up,” he says.
Plus, current methods don’t allow personalizing the information that’s unique to drivers and their particular route, “If you send information about an incident, you have to send it out in a 360-degree radius,” Baks adds. “Because that radius is fixed, this often results in sending data that’s irrelevant. I don’t care what happened behind me; I want to know what’s happening 10 miles in front of me on my route and any of the feeder routes I might take.”
The ARTTI system differs in that uses a technology known as TPEG, an instrument panel protocol for delivering traffic and travel information to a vehicle and that’s tied to the vehicle’s location — and is also much quicker. “What TPEG allows us to do is send out packets of info that’s very specific to that driver for the route they’re taking and where they are,” Baks says. It also allows traffic updates as fast as within a minute, he adds. “It gets rid of the latency issue. It doesn’t have to go through the usual cycle.”
Only one other automaker is using the TPEG standard: Audi in Europe. BMW will be the first to use it in the United States. ARTTI will be a standard feature of the in-dash navigation systems on all 2013 7 Series vehicles, 550i sedans, the 550i Gran Turismo and ActiveHybrid 5 sedan, and it will be an option on the 2013 528i and 535i sedans, 535i Gran Turismo and ActiveHybrid 3. According to Baks, vehicles with the technology will start shipping in the next three weeks and will be in dealer showrooms by the beginning of July.
And as ARTTI becomes implemented and upgraded, it could get better at predicting traffic tie-ups by tying in more with the car. “For the first time we’re working with an automaker that’s allowing us to see data that’s coming off the CAN bus, the Car Area Network,” Bak adds. “So we’re able to get data coming from the ABS system, data coming from the windshield wiper systems. What BMW wants us to do is use this data to not only recommend the fastest route based on traffic, but the best route based on travel conditions. If you get a lot of data firing off several vehicles from the ABS system on a certain road, you know there’s probably a blizzard going on and you know which roads are icy or maybe haven’t been plowed or salted. That way you can recommend a better route. That’s not something that will be active in the rollout, but is something we’re exploring for future upgrades of the system.”
Photo: Inrix


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