Data is Going to Change How and Where You Drive – Dash GPS Navigation

Posted to Statistics  |  Nathan Yau

Dash, an Internet-connected GPS device, is going to change the way you drive by making use of traffic data. Where does the data come from? Well, that’s the best part.

Dash Uses Crowdsourcing

Utilizing the power of crowdsourcing, Dash uses traffic data from other Dash devices already on the road. Those who have a device make up the Dash Driver Network. Each device uploads data to the Dash servers, which in turn, communicates this information to the rest of the network. The more people who are in the network, the more data there is.

  1. Each Dash Express anonymously and automatically sends its position and speed back to the Dash servers
  2. Dash also receives traffic info from road sensors, commercial fleets and other sources through our partnership with Inrix
  3. Dash then calibrates these sources against “ground truth” provided by the Dash devices actually driving the roads every day
  4. Dash then sends out updates to all of the Dash devices in the area with current road speeds

The greatest part of this setup is how Dash uses the data. Unlike run-of-the-mill GPS, Dash modifies your trip based on traffic so that you really do end up taking the shortest trip. If you ask me, that’s pretty amazing.

Exploring the Possibilities

I know, Dash devices aren’t even on the market yet, but can you imagine if they tied in other types of data? What if Dash could calculate carbon footprint? Could drivers have the option to choose the route that spews the least pollution? What else could this be used for?

Dash is Taking Pre-orders

Dash Order

I won’t mind at all if you want to buy me one. I signed up for the beta testing a year back but didn’t get accepted, so really, it’s no trouble. Really.

[via Gizmodo]


  • I wonder what other uses this kind of data could have. Could it be used by the transportation department to find causes of congestion? Could it be used by police to see where people speed the most? Or even by police to find what areas need to be monitored the most to prevent accidents.

  • Remembers me of the “Spime” theory which Bruce Sterling described in his book “Shaping Things”. A network of more or less intelligent objects which crawl data all the time.

  • @steffen: I thought you were talking about an academic paper, so i was a little surprised when I googled and found that mr. sterling is science fiction :)

  • @nathan: Actually he has been „Visionary in Residence“ in 2005 at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. You find his blog via

  • If this becomes ubiquitous, an interesting question is whether the individual unit’s information could be used in criminal cases. For example, to determine the time of day an individual was in a particular area, etc…

  • Hi everyone, this is Mark Williamson from Dash. I wrote the blog post out our traffic data, and have been heavily involved in the design of the solution, and I am happy to tell all of you that we don’t collect any data on servers that is personally identifiable. So if the FBI came in and and asked “where was Mark yesterday?”, we couldn’t tell them because we simply don’t collect that data.

  • That’s really fascinating. Too many technological solutions these days seem to come at the cost of some of our privacy.



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