The Storm Water Management and Road Tunnel (Smart) is a convenient – if a little expensive – way of getting around the city, but it’s also a source of annoyance for some drivers. That’s because the lack of GPS signal in the tunnel stumps most navigation systems, causing motorists to miss key mid-tunnel exits and resulting in costly U-turns.

But worry no more, because the world’s longest dual-purpose tunnel now gets Waze Beacon technology thanks to a partnership with Waze and telecommunications provider U Mobile. This technology uses a series of battery-operated Bluetooth low energy micro-controllers, emitting wireless signals that enable Waze to provide uninterrupted navigation and traffic data even when underground.

The beacons were installed just before the movement control order came into effect, and to date, nearly 240 transmitters have been fitted along the 5.2 km route. To take advantage of the technology, users will only need to enable Bluetooth connectivity on their smartphone, regardless of their chosen network provider. In fact, the Waze app will prompt them to turn on Bluetooth if their selected route uses the Smart Tunnel.

“This latest partnership with Waze and Smart Tunnel has made U Mobile the first telco in the world to power uninterrupted GPS navigation in a tunnel,” said U Mobile chief marketing officer Jasmine Lee. “With Waze’s Beacons technology, all mobile device users, regardless of which telco service they are subscribed to, will now be able to leverage on the full features of Waze uninterrupted throughout the tunnel.”

Waze Malaysia country lead Kelvin Sim added, “Waze has always been about more than just giving people driving directions – we’re about solving transportation challenges and making roads better together. With 30,000 commuters using the Smart Tunnel daily, we’re happy to collaborate with U Mobile and Smart to ease traffic congestion and reduce drivers’ hesitation and confusion caused by signal loss.”

Smart chief operating officer Mohd Noor Mohd Ali said, “Our users’ travel experience will become smoother and more convenient as they will enjoy uninterrupted GPS navigation and are able to share real-time information that may translate to updates on traffic conditions and proposed directions. Users will also be able to get updates on traffic jams, road closures or accidents that may have happened inside the tunnel and its surroundings, enhancing drivers’ safety as well.”