‘Virtual Traffic Lights’ on Your Dashboard Could Make Driving Safer, Faster

Prof. Ozan Tonguz of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU)
Prof. Ozan Tonguz of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU)

Researchers are saying that “virtual traffic lights” that appear on a driver’s dashboard could revolutionize traffic patterns and make our drives faster and safer.

The researchers at Carnegie Mellon University feel that their new traffic light system could reduce the travel time of urban commuters by 40 percent by replacing real world, physical traffic lights with a system that displays traffic signals inside a motorist’s car.

“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,” professor Ozan Tonguz said.

The new technology would make use of the new vehicle-to-vehicle safety communication systems with which the federal government is mandating that cars be equipped.

“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.”

The researchers feel that their system could give time back to commuters and prevent them from “wasting their life on the road.”

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at igcolonel@hotmail.com


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