Currently, map databases combine the location of roadways with their posted speed limits to estimate the time it will take a driver to get from point A to point B. So, if a driver looks up directions from her house to the airport using an in-car navigation device or portable navigation system, the system would use the posted speed limits. Depending on the time of day and where the driver lives, that information could be grossly inaccurate, explains Mistele. The new software gauges how fast each segment of road is flowing based on the time of day and the day of the week, providing a more precise estimation.
The only comparable product on the market today is developed by LandSonar, a San Francisco-based company. Its software is also based on historical traffic data that is integrated with digital maps. The company recently partnered with TrafficCast to launch an updated version with more data and real-time content, but its product remains limited to only 450,000 miles of roadway for three days of the week.
Tele Atlas’s product also offers real-time updates. But this real-time coverage is limited to about 94 cities right now. It will be most efficient when used with the historical traffic-speed information, says Mistele.
A new version of the Tele Atlas software will be released every quarter, or every time the company offers a new map database. The software will be constantly upgraded, incorporating the changing traffic patterns and giving drivers a more robust, efficient navigation experience.