Late last year toll-road operator Transurban announced an Australian first: GPS Signal beacons had been installed in 18km of Brisbane Tunnels, now that same technology is coming to Sydney to make navigation easy!
Bluetooth beacon technology is not new, but I’d suggest it’s struggled to find its place in society – once lauded as the hero for wayfinding in supermarkets and even within stores, they haven’t really taken off.
Fast forward to today, and the new M4 Tunnels in Sydney join Brisbane’s tunnels with the installation of over 500 beacons to aid navigation.
Interestingly, Transurban refer to them as Waze beacons when referring to the M4 Tunnels, and refer to both Waze and Google Maps when referring to Brisbane’s tunnels.
I’m unsure if the beacons can differentiate between one app or another, and am particularly keen to see if Apple Maps users are able to take advantage of the beacons.
Essentially how they work is the beacons transmit a location signal into the tunnel, and your phone uses that signal to place itself on a map, where the GPS satellites are not visible because you’re underground.
This means you won’t miss that in-tunnel exit, which is a key issue for those using navigation apps to get around a city or road they don’t know.
Transurban say “Waze™ beacons will be rolled out progressively as future WestConnex motorway stages open”, referring to the massive project under construction to link the M4 and M5 Tunnels.
This is a great advance in technology, and given Transurban owns pretty much every tunnel and motorway in Sydney, it could make getting around a breeze going forward.