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Stuck at a red light? Tampa tech company has an app for that

Margie Manning

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Photo by Nabeel Syed on Unsplash

Tampa technology startup CēVē has developed a smartphone app that could take some of the frustration out of driving in heavy traffic while also saving fuel.

The CēVē app, which launched Friday morning in the Apple App Store, adds information about traffic lights, speed advisories and event alerts to the most popular smartphone map apps.

David Aylesworth

The app can create safer, faster and less stressful trips for commuters and commercial drivers, said David Aylesworth, founder of CēVē.

It’s the first of several planned traffic technology initiatives from CēVē — pronounced “C V” and an acronym for “connected vehicles” — said Aylesworth, a veteran of the defense communications industry.

The CēVē app has its roots in a hackathon called “Talking Traffic Lights” hosted the Georgia Department of Transportation in November.

“They were going to provide data from traffic signals and wanted participants to take the data and build a product demonstration. That was the first prototype of this application,” Aylesworth said. “We continued that work afterwards and that’s what led to launching this first product.”

He highlighted three aspects of the new app.

CēVē app

Traffic light timing. “When you are waiting at a red light, it will tell you how long before the light will change to green.” It lets a driver know that a light is not broken, and by providing an audible countdown, it helps people who are doing other tasks while stopped at the light know when the light is about to change.

Eco-driving benefits.  Using a feature called “green light advisory speeds,” the app can recommend the speed a driver should travel at to arrive at a light when it is green. “You don’t have to accelerate your car and better, you don’t have to stop your car and then start it again. There’s significant fuel savings from not stopping at red lights.”

The app also provides speed limit information for drivers who are on a road where no speed limit signs are posted.

Event alerts. Concerts, sporting events and school pick-ups and drop-offs can cause traffic slowdowns. “We look at what road you are on and what events might be ahead of you. If you are in a certain window of time of the start or end of these events, we’ll give you information, either show it on the screen or tell you audibly. Say there’s a hockey game at Amalie Arena tonight. That would allow someone to change their route or even their destination.”

The app has access to signals in five Florida regions — the cities of Tampa, Orlando, Gainesville and Jacksonville, as well as Seminole County — and also an area in Northern Virginia. Additional markets will be added over time.

“This is work that has to be done in the next five to 10 years as we start seeing autonomous vehicles start sharing the road with drivers,” Aylesworth said.

The CēVē app is compatible with iPhone models running iOS 13 and higher. Subscribers receive a seven-day or 30-day free trial, followed by tiered subscription pricing from $1.99 to $4.99 a month.

Aylesworth has bootstrapped CēVē and the app will provide the first revenue stream.

“We’re also looking for some other transportation projects in this area. There’s a lot of work going on in smart work zones and connected vehicles that are being funded by the Department of Transportation. We’re talking to various agencies about supporting them in their connected vehicle projects with things aligned with this type of product,” Aylesworth said.

CēVē, with a team of five people, is based at Embarc Collective in downtown Tampa.

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