Using Cabs To Find Cellphone Coverage Holes

Ericsson has a plan to find cellphone coverage holes in the New York City area. They are going to install modem-sized sensors in cabs that will report back signal strength and clarity.

Sensor-laden vehicles are a great way to gather information about a metro region. Laptops and cars are used for wardriving and Inrix uses truck fleets to determine traffic conditions in its 20+ metro regions. Ericsson chose cabs because they are always on the road and they cover most of the city. They’ve used other methods in the past.

“Our favorite vehicle is the taxicab because of the randomness in its circulation,” said Niklas Kylvag, Ericsson’s manager of fleet services.

But, he added, “We have used trains, trucks, buses, delivery vehicles, limousines, pretty much anything that is moving and has electricity in it. I have myself done testing in the Swiss Alps with this on my back at a ski resort.”

There are already two sites that track dead cell zones, Dead Cell Zones and, with user submitted data. They have this data (location, network, signal rating) in table form – you may want to use them before you select your next cell provider. This work is being done for an undisclosed cell company. It sounds like a great way to discover (and plug) coverage holes before sites like these grow in stature and start to hurt sales.

[via Digg]