Because no driver wants to wait at a traffic light, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have been working on a solution that will revolutionize driving. According to a spokesperson, commute times for urban workers can be reduced by 40% using virtual opposed to traditional traffic lights.
As stated by Ozan Tonguz, professor at the University and who assisted with the development of the technology, virtual traffic lights would be activated on-demand anytime two vehicles get ready to cross an intersection at the same time. However, if only one car approaches the lights would be turned down.
In simple terms, researchers found a way to create virtual traffic lights that appear on the driver’s side dashboard. Using green and red arrows, the lights indicate the direction a vehicle can safely turn in but once the intersection has been crossed, the lighted arrows disappear.
Researchers found that virtual traffic lights would not only make commutes faster and easier, but also reduce carbon emissions and the number of accidents. Although many people think of virtual traffic lights as being futuristic, in truth, they would connect to automotive technology that will soon become mandated under Federal regulations as part of the government’s “vehicle-to-vehicle communication program”.
As Tonguz explained, the solution offered by this research is to leverage the new capability. Virtual lights currently use the same connected automobile technology that allows vehicles to communicate with one another so there is an opportunity to manage traffic control in intersections that do not have more traditional types of traffic lights. He added that virtual traffic lights stop people from wasting time on the road.
As to when this new technology will become available, no firm date has been set and according to experts, there is still work to do. However, with connected features being mandated by the US government and people interested in shorter commutes, this is a very viable solution.