Nokia to study real-time road traffic using GPS

Having invested billions in mobile navigation technology, Nokia has launched a project that will look to create a more detailed real-time picture of road traffic conditions. The company is looking for volunteers with GPS-enabled handsets to contribute road-traffic information so a significantly more comprehensive picture of road congestion can be obtained.

The six-month project, labelled Mobile Millennium, a collaboration involving Nokia Research Centre, UC Berkley's California Centre for Innovative Transport, the California Department of Transportation and digital map maker Navteq--which is owned by Nokia, will initially run in the US although European contributors could well be involved in the future.

Nokia says traditional traffic monitoring systems are expensive to install and maintain, and that they provide unreliable traffic information. It believes data collected from GPS-enabled handsets using real-time information will enable drivers to make more informed decisions about routes and time travel.

Traffic update services are already available from the majority of MNOs, but their reliability and accuracy remains questionable, although operators have in the past talked of using cell ID as a technique for a more comprehensive and real-time traffic congestion service.

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