New sat nav will see jams aheadThe Cadre could go on sale in 18 months

03 July 2008

Cars in a traffic jam

A new hi-tech sat-nav device is being developed which can tell when there is a traffic jam ahead, scientists revealed today.

The Congestion Avoidance Dynamic Routing Engine (Cadre) shares information from sat-nav systems in other vehicles to create a picture of how busy roads are.

And using this data, it can interpret the live traffic information and warn drivers of queues ahead and how to avoid them.

Route planning

Which? motoring expert Anthony Hume says that the TomTom sat nav system is offering a similar service, in the Netherlands, and this may become available in the UK within a year. 

He said: 'The sat nav market is maturing fast and consumers are now beginning to expect better traffic information and route planning. The problem with current traffic avoidance software is that it’s of little use once you're away from major roads, because there's scant information about traffic conditions on minor roads.

'Using traffic speeds in real time, measured from other sat nav users, should help drivers beat the jams. The Cadre system sounds promising and mirrors the TomTom and Vodaphone system set up in the Netherlands recently. 

'UK buyers should expect to see the UK launch of the improved TomTom traffic avoidance system within the next 12 months.'

Artificial intelligence

The Cadre system, which could be in the shops in 18 months, takes into account how traffic speeds vary by day of the week and time of day and on individual roads.

The project is being developed by a consortium, consisting of the University of Portsmouth, ComSine, Smartcom Software, the Transport Research Laboratory, ViaMichelin and Hampshire County Council.

The device relies on computer artificial intelligence (AI) software being developed by the University of Portsmouth's Institute of Industrial Research (IIR).

Current traffic conditions

Dr David Brown, head of the IIR, said: 'The system interprets live data from current traffic conditions so the motorist receives up-to-the-minute advice and can make an informed choice.

'It's designed to take the pain out of that agonising decision about whether to try an alternative route which could be equally congested.'