In an unusual twist, the very first company to license technology from Microsoft Research is now licensing it back to Microsoft.
Inrix initially licensed predictive, real-time road traffic monitoring technology from Microsoft Research in 2005. Since then, it has built on that technology and now offers traffic data services in the US and the UK.
Microsoft will licence Inrix’s real-time, historical and predictive traffic data in online properties such as Live Search Maps, as well as in mobile applications.
Like other traffic information aggregators, Inrix collects data from sensors that US state departments of transportation deploy.
But it also adds information collected by 650,000 commercial vehicles. Companies that operate those fleets share with Inrix data that they are already collecting about the location, speed and direction in which their vehicles are heading.
In return, Inrix either supplies the company with traffic data or pays them, says Scott Sedlik, vice president of marketing for Inrix.
Inrix has another advantage over other traffic information companies: its predictive model.
Inrix uses information such as planned construction work, sporting events, school sessions and historical data to be able to predict traffic levels up to one year in the future, Sedlik says.
Currently, Traffic.com supplies traffic data for Microsoft’s Live maps. Sedlik could not confirm that whether Inrix will replace Traffic.com.
Microsoft and Traffic.com did not respond immediately to questions.
Shortly after licensing the technology to Inrix in 2005, Microsoft launched its IP Ventures initiative in order to spin off technology developed in the Microsoft Research group.