by Ivey Ingalls-Rubin
There’s nothing quite as frustrating and infuriating as being held up in traffic, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University may have found a solution. By exchanging all physical traffic lights with virtual lights that appear on your windshield, they suggest that this could reduce the commute time of urban workers by at least 40 percent.
The use of this technology will be created “on demand,” explains Ozan Tonguz, a professor at CMU who aided with the virtual traffic lights development. When two cars reach an intersection, the virtual lights will appear, and then disappear as soon as the intersection is passed.
Virtual traffic lights will display themselves on the dashboard for the driver and will explain using green and red arrows which direction they can safely travel in, just as conventional traffic lights do now. The only difference is that once the junction has been safely crossed, the arrows will disappear.
The researchers and developers claim that the use of virtual lights will cut carbon emissions, reduce accidents and diminish some of that obnoxious time spent commuting.
This concept may sound futuristic; however, the virtual lights will use connected vehicle technology that will soon be mandatory for cars as part of the U.S. government’s vehicle-to-vehicle communication program.
“Our solution leverages this capability,” Tonguz said. “Since cars can talk to each other, we can manage the traffic control at intersections without infrastructure-based traffic lights.”
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