Scenic sat-nav will take you on the prettiest route

Image credit: PictureScotland signs/Alamy Stock Photo

Smartphones and route-planning apps have changed the way we navigate, guiding us from A to B with maximum efficiency. But what if we want to take the scenic route?

Soon they may help us do that, too. An AI system called Autobahn can use Google Street View images to optimise your route for a particular type of scenery, such as mountains or views of the ocean.

Read the full article in New Scientist.

Autonomous cars will only ease traffic when paired with smart lights

Image credit: Global Warming Images/REX Shutterstock

A car with no driver, nor even a steering wheel, pulls up at your door. You jump in, bound for the airport. The car pulls away, turns off your street onto a main road and… hits traffic? It turns out that even when autonomous cars become reality, they won’t help much to ease the gridlock in our cities: for that, we need to overhaul traffic lights too.

Read the full article in New Scientist.

Simple Cartographic Exercises Can Radically Alter the Real World

A matatu in Nairobi. Credit: noodlepie on Flickr.

The lifeblood of Nairobi’s transit network is a collection of colorful minibuses so unregulated that a map of the whole system didn’t exist until a year ago.

Most people in Nairobi rely on these buses, called matatus, to get around. Thanks to a team of researchers at MIT, Columbia, and the University of Nairobi, an online map of matatu routes has already caused changes in Nairobi. This map-building approach could address transportation issues in many other places, since “the majority of global cities have these informal transit systems,” said Sarah Williams, a professor of urban planning at MIT and project contributor.

Read the full article in NOVA Next.