Taking the fight to CO2, Microsoft technologies make it happen

We live in a fascinating time where technology is interjecting itself in to our lives and we are quickly forgoing the roads forged by our ancestors. Long gone are the covered wagons and we are no longer donning suits to go out shopping for food.

In our progression of the horseless carriage to the automobile, we have become a dirty world. From the early onset of unregulated automotive traffic to coal power plants, we have pumped a lot of CO2 in to the atmosphere.

We have progressed a long way in terms of being environmentally conscious and an Imagine Cup team (Greenway) has created a useful app that tackles our CO2 emitting ways. The idea is relatively simple but ingenious at the same time and uses several Microsoft technologies to help you reduce CO2 next time you hit the road.

Greenway is an innovative navigation system which significantly reduces the CO2 emission of cars and thus helps ensuring a sustainable environment and climate. The system routes the entire traffic of a city in an optimal way. It knows the exact position as well as the route of every car at any point in time. With that information, our novel algorithm can calculate the best route for every car and communicate those routes to the cars. While navigation systems such as Google Maps only relocate a traffic jam from one street to another, Greenway reserves timeslots on streets such that traffic congestion is being actively prevented. We are using map data from OpenStreetMap as the basis of our routing-algorithm.

We had a chance to chat with team Greenway, who are from Germany by the way, about their application and to help understand their grand vision for the platform.

Their strategy is quite creative and will eventually turn in to a business that will shape our traffic options going forward. The idea is that the team promises that they can save you money, decrease your travel time and also reduce CO2 emissions by using Greenway; the team uses Azure and Windows Phone to make it happen.

When you select a destination, you are given options for your route. If you chose the ‘Greenway’ option, the application will provide you with your fuel savings based on their route which takes in to consideration several factors, most notable is traffic. If you select the Greenway, you will be assessed a fee which is a percentage of your savings as calculated by the platform; if the ‘Greenway’ ends up not being faster, no fee will be assessed.

The idea is simple, the team takes a cut of the savings you will receive by using their application and in the end, you will save more money, get home faster, and reduce your CO2 output.

Because the team uses more variables than Google Maps, or the basic re-routing feature on your current GPS, they can get your destination faster; they built a better mousetrap.

The team reported that they are in early talks with vendors such as Nokia and Bing maps but they have nothing to announce at this time regarding a possible relationship with these vendors.

These types of projects are the results of Microsoft’s Imagine Cup competition. The horizon-broadening challenges Microsoft presents spurs on the minds of all ages to create applications, services, and even companies that can tackle projects at the micro and macro scale to make an impact, of any size, that contributes to the advancement of society.

Neowin will be attending the Imagine Cup finals in early July that will showcase applications like the one you see above(and many others) on the grand stage.

Learn More: Greenway

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