BMW has partnered with traffic data company Connected Signals (formerly known as Green Driver) on an in-dash app that lets motorists stay ahead of upcoming signals.
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The app, called EnLighten, is already available on iPhone and Android devices, but this latest application marks its first appearance in an integrated vehicle setting.

For BMW owners, that means the ConnectedDrive system, a suite of on-board apps that offer connectivity to BMW-managed and general online services directly from the vehicle’s dashboard display.

With EnLighten installed, owners in participating regions overseas are given countdown details for the current or next set of traffic lights, allowing motorists to more efficiently manage their commute.

Only a handful of cities have made the necessary data available to Connected Signals, but the access means that drivers can view information about the likelihood of making the next green light at their current speed, or whether they should begin to slow for an impending change to red.

Likewise, if the light is already red, motorists will have an accurate view of the time remaining until the signal goes green, allowing them to slow rather than stop - potentially saving fuel and reducing emissions.


The obvious flip side to this, however, is that motorists may also be inclined to rush through the next green light, aware that the displayed time remaining may not ordinarily be time enough to make the light under regular lawful driving.

It’s a moot point for Australian motorists, though, with BMW’s version of the EnLighten app not available locally. User reviews for the Android and iPhone apps also suggest that drivers are unlikely to gain much more than frustration from the service in its current form.

Outside of the BMW realm, fellow German carmaker Audi has been testing a similar system for more than a year, with a limited pilot program operating in Berlin, Las Vegas and Verona.

As with the EnLighten system, Audi’s technology allows motorists to anticipate changes in the signals ahead, with the promise of delivering a smoother commute through reduced congestion.