Car News

Virtual Traffic Lights May Reduce Commute Times

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University claim that they can reduce the commute times of urban workers by 40% by replacing physical traffic lights with virtual ones. A professor at the university who helped develop the technology, Ozan Tonguz, explained that virtual traffic lights would be “created on demand” when two cars crossed paths at an intersection.

With this technology, traffic lights will be created on demand when [two cars] are trying to cross this intersection, and they will be turned down as soon as we don’t need it.

Virtual traffic lights, which appear on the driver’s dashboard when necessary, have the potential to eliminate needlessly waiting for a traffic light to change from red to green at an intersection when no others cars are present.

While this may seem futuristic, vehicle to vehicle communication technology will soon be mandatory for cars as part of the United States government’s vehicle-to-vehicle communication program, which, Tonguz indicated that the solution he helped create “leverages this capability,” CNN reported.

Our solution leverages this capability […] Since cars can talk to each other, we can manage the traffic control at intersections without infrastructure-based traffic lights. […] It’s almost like we are giving additional life to people […] Life that is wasted on the road.

The system will use green and red lights on the dashboard, which it eventually hopes will be smart dashboard displays, to explain which direction drivers can safely travel in. The project, known as the Virtual Traffic Light (VTL) program, will use sensors in cars to coordinate their locations.

While researchers are Carnegie Mellon University believe windshield traffic lights could reduce urban worker commute times by 40%, a Daily Mail report indicated that this new technology could slash stop signs by 60%. The Daily Mail report cited Tonguz as having said that the “preliminary simulations of this self-organizing traffic paradigm show a potential to increase the average flow rates substantially by up to 60%.” Ozan went on to say that the system was so advanced it was even capable of taking pedestrians as well as cyclists into account and that it “adapts green phases accordingly.”

The system is so advanced, it even takes account of pedestrians and cyclists and adapts green phases accordingly

Do you think virtual traffic lights will eventually replace physical ones?

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