We’ve all been there. You’re sitting at a light, waiting for it to turn green, when you suddenly get a text, email, or maybe you just need something from the glove box. The signal switches from crimson to jade without you knowing, and the driver behind lays on the horn. You nervously drop what you’re doing and accelerate forward, leaving a cloud of exhaust and embarrassment in your wake.
With BMW’s new EnLighten application, situations like this could be a thing of the past. EnLighten works by connecting with participating cities’ traffic light control systems, granting BMW drivers (and owners of iOS devices) the ability to time stoplights perfectly. The app not only offers a countdown for red to green signal changes, it uses vehicle position and speed to calculate whether or not you should slow down for upcoming intersections or proceed through.
At crossings where there are dedicated lights for turns, activating the vehicle’s indicator eliminates notifications for everything except the relevant signal. According to BMW, the ability to anticipate traffic light changes can increase safety and help save fuel by avoiding unnecessary acceleration and stopping.
Or you could, I don’t know, pay attention?
EnLighten is currently available for free on the Apple AppStore, and it works with any BMW vehicle equipped with the BMW Apps option. The program was developed with Oregon-based startup Connected Signals and has functionality with more than 2,000 traffic lights in Eugene, OR, Portland, OR, and Salt Lake City, UT. More cities are expected to come on board soon.
For BMW, traffic signal anticipation is just the tip of the technological iceberg. The brand unveiled the 2016 7 Series in June, which boasts features like Remote Control Parking, a “Vitality Program” for passengers, and self-leveling air suspension. Digital Trends will be reviewing the car at the end of August, so keep an eye out for that.