Drivers will know better than anyone else how boring and frustrating it can be to travel a crowded intersection. Traffic lights might ease the whole crossing process, but they don’t make life any easier for drivers. MIT has come up with the idea that might make traffic lights a thing of the past.
Recently, a team of scientists from MIT proved in a paper that was published in the PLOS One journal that we don’t have to wait around for 20 years for traffic safety. Their idea is based on the fact that you don’t have to own a smart car to travel safely and smooth.
Paolo Santi from the Ambient Mobility Lab and Carlo Rati, who is currently working at the Senseable City Laboratory have come up with a concept that might help drivers reduce the time spent waiting for the green signal at a busy intersection.
Smart cars might be the thing now, but they are far from being ready to hit the road. The two scientists said that, very soon, we will not need traffic lights in order to pass through a busy intersection, interconnection being the key.
The two researchers have devised a nervous system that is capable of connecting intersections with the incoming vehicle. The future coordination system will adjust the vehicle’s velocity and bearing based on its present trajectory.
While this project sounds fancy and even science-fiction, the MIT think-tanks said that the project is entirely feasible. Furthermore, according to their statements, we don’t need smart cars to achieve intelligent traffic coordination.
Ratti from Senseable City Lab said that given the current state of technology, the system can be implemented without a problem, and it can be accessed even by those who don’t possess smart vehicles.
The owners of the cars need only to install a pair of sensors, and they’re good to go. According to the team of scientist, once a vehicle approaches a smart intersection, the nervous system will analyze the car’s trajectory and will group it with other drivers who intend to execute the same maneuver.
For example, if you intend to turn left at a junction, the system will read your trajectory and will instruct you to drive behind another group of vehicles which want to make a left turn. The system is designed to compensate for both speed and trajectory, meaning that the cars won’t crash into each other while crossing the junction.
However, the two scientists said that drivers are still at risk of being involved in an accident. While piloting a driverless car, the driver sits back and watches the computer perform all maneuvers. On the other hand, those driving a conventional car outfitted with sensors will still have to perform manually the movement and the risks attributed to human error is still high.
Presently, the team of scientists is negotiating with a few major city to test out their contraption that might one day replace traffic lights.