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App predicts traffic light changes for drivers (VIDEO)

Wednesday - 9/19/2012, 6:15am  ET

Adam Tuss, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Drive a couple hundred feet. Stop at a red light. Drive a couple hundred feet. Stop at a red light.

It's a cycle most drivers go through on a regular basis. But there may be a way to get around all the stopping and starting.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have come up with an app called SignalGuru that predicts when signals will change from red to green. The app also lets the driver know how fast he needs to go at an intersection to make a smooth, seamless trip through the light.

The app works with a smartphone that is mounted on a dashboard. The camera inside the phone collects data from other participating drivers and makes a determination about when the signal will change.

"Safety is always the first thing, but if you are able to maintain a cruise safely, that's actually a good thing for fuel economy," National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Administrator David L. Strickland tells WTOP.

Researchers with the project say that there was a 20 percent drop in fuel consumption while testing the app in Cambridge, Mass.

SignalGuru is not commercially available yet.

See how it works in this YouTube video:

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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