By: Ramon Martinez

Picture this: you’re GPSing to the airport or other location that involves time-sensitive arrival, you enter a tunnel and all of a sudden, the GPS loses you and freezes up. Now you feel lost and in a panic, because what are you without a functioning GPS?

Thankfully, Google-owned Waze has designed Beacons to guide the way through signal-crushing tunnels. Beacons are small electronic pucks that send out an open standard signal by way of Bluetooth, so that even when your internet signal cuts out, you’ll still be able to navigate. It works by taking over the heavy lifting of your GPS and funneling location data into your phone.

Now, I know you’re saying to yourself, “But I don’t use Waze, so how does this help me?” Interesting you should ask. Beacons are open-sourced, allowing the signal to reach any phone and be used by anyone.

Already established in tunnels in major cities like Boston and Chicago, these signal boosters have now made their way to one of the busiest cities in the world, New York. In a partnership with the MTA and Port Authority, Waze set up these little devices to help people going in and out of the city’s main borough.

Manhattan, lest we forget, is an island. And islands require bridges and tunnels to access. Numerous entry points including the Holland Tunnel, the Lincoln Tunnel and Queens-Midtown Tunnel are lined with Waze Beacons.

“The Port Authority is strongly committed to leveraging new technology to improve the customer experience for the tens of thousands of travelers who use our crossings each day,” Rick Cotton, Port Authority Executive Director, said of the partnership. “Today, we are activating new technology pioneered by Waze that will provide better GPS navigation capabilities for drivers as they drive through the Lincoln and Holland tunnels and MTA tunnels.”

This isn’t the only news this week on the Google and Waze front. It looks as though some of the best features of Waze are finally making their way over to the Google Maps app – namely, incident and speed trap reports.

Here’s to avoiding tickets and getting lost a little less in 2019!


Ramon Martinez is a regular writer and tech beat producer for NewsWatch. He loves all things tech and exploring the newest gadgets.