Bluetooth Can Be Used To Track Travel Time


West Lafayette (IN) - You can do much more with your Bluetooth-capable cellphone than connecting it to a wireless headset. Scientists have come up with a way to use Bluetooth signals to track the speed of pedestrians and vehicles, potentially proving you with reliable information how long you will have to wait in that security line at the airport.

Sometimes, the simplest ideas how to exploit the potential of a technology are the most convincing ones. Scientists from Purdue University have developed a way to track the speed of Bluetooth devices with technology that is available off-the-shelf today. This is possible since each Bluetooth device can be identified and tracked through a unique digital signature.

Researchers believe that this approach could become an inexpensive way to track a variety of travel times ranging from your morning commute to waiting in line at Disneyworld or at the airport. While cellphones will be tracked by, for example, roadside receivers, they can also receive information via Bluetooth and it is possible that your cellphone provides real-time data how long it will be until you reach your destination.

The method was tested on sections of Interstate 65, Interstate 465 and roads in and around Indianapolis, tracking 1.2% of the average daily traffic on specific routes - which means that about 1 out of 100 vehicles was tracked. The researchers said they have filed a patent on the method. The basic technology is available commercially to create tracking systems.