Waze launches crowd-sourced satnav product

An Israeli start-up called Waze hopes to do for satnavs what the Wikimedia foundation did for encyclopaedias, by building a crowd-sourced map of the best driving routes through an area.

His idea revolves around the fact that locals know the fastest routes to places. By mounting a Waze satnav in your car, or even by just installing a Waze app on your GPS-equipped handset, it keeps an eye on your driving routes and assigns them different weights.

A route that you take every day, it assumes, is one that you know well and is probably the fastest way to do it. Therefore, when someone who's not from the area needs to go from A to B at the same time of day, then your route will be recommended.

If you're in the middle of nowhere, though, then there might only be one or two people having driven that way before - in which case it'll suggest one of those routes which you're free to follow, or go your own way.

It's an elegant solution, but it'll only work on a large scale if lots of users sign up. Since it launched in January, 150,000 of Israel's population of 7.4 million have grabbed the app. CEO Noam Bardin says "If enough people do this, it's basically teaching us about what are the best routes to drive through".

It doesn't currently offer European route-finding, but by the time it goes global, it could provide some handy advice for parts of the world that aren't traditionally covered by satnavs, avoiding the fees that licensed route navigation consists of. Check out the demo above.


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