June 22, 2024

Self-driving cars could lead to a fourth, white traffic signal — or none at all: researchers


The creation of self-driving cars could lead to a variety of modifications to traffic legal guidelines down the street, together with a attainable fourth traffic signal, researchers say.

On high of the ever-present pink, yellow and inexperienced, a white gentle could signal that autonomous autos are answerable for the intersection. Or the vehicles could presumably make alerts irrelevant altogether.

North Carolina State University affiliate engineering professor Ali Hajbabaie is amongst these imagining the way forward for traffic lights. 

“When we get to the intersection, we stop if it’s red, and we go if it’s green,” Hajbabaie instructed The Associated Press, “but if the white light is active, you just follow the vehicle in front of you.”

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Intersection in Birmingham, Alabama

This undated photograph supplied by the University of Michigan College of Engineering exhibits autos as they journey via the Old Woodward Avenue and East Maple signalized intersection, which was re-timed utilizing the Optimized Signal as a Service in Birmi (Jeremy Little/University of Michigan College of Engineering by way of AP / AP Images)

An various could be pink and inexperienced flashing lights, with no white gentle obligatory. 

The modifications couldn’t come about till about half of all autos on the street are self-driving, he acknowledged, however University of Michigan civil engineering professor Henry Liu thinks it could be before later. 

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“The tempo of artificial intelligence progress could be very quick, and I feel it’s coming,” he instructed AP. 

University of Michigan researchers additionally landed a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation by way of the bipartisan infrastructure regulation to check traffic gentle modifications in actual time utilizing pace and placement knowledge from cars. 

A Waymo car

A Waymo autonomous car travels alongside Masonic Avenue in San Francisco.  (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images / Getty Images)

The college is conducting a pilot program within the Detroit suburb of Birmingham. 

“The beauty of this is you don’t have to do anything to the infrastructure,” Liu mentioned, noting that Birmingham’s traffic lights are on a mounted timer and don’t make changes for various traffic flows. “The data is not coming from the infrastructure. It’s coming from the car companies.”

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More than half of traffic lights nationwide don’t account for congestion or lighter-than-normal traffic like in the midst of the night time. 

Liu mentioned though there are higher-tech options to monitoring traffic, they require cities to make complicated and costly upgrades.

The first “municipal traffic control system” appeared in Cleveland in 1914, in accordance to Smithsonian Magazine. At first, there was simply inexperienced and pink, with the yellow gentle added a few years later. 

Dr. Xingmin Wang

Dr. Xingmin Wang, postdoctoral analysis fellow at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, exhibits a visualization of linked car trajectory knowledge insights that support within the optimization of traffic alerts.  (Jeremy Little/University of Michigan College of Engineering by way of AP / Getty Images)

Since then, traffic lights haven’t modified a lot. 

While absolutely autonomous autos usually are not but in the marketplace, firms like Tesla, Mercedes, GM and Ford are bridging the hole, together with Waymo, the autonomous rideshare service owned by Google’s mother or father firm, Alphabet.

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“While it is good at this early stage of AV development that people are thinking creatively about how to facilitate the safe deployment of safe AVs, policymakers and infrastructure owners should be careful about jumping too soon on AV-specific investments that may turn out to be premature or even unnecessary,” Waymo spokesperson Sandy Karp mentioned in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

Karp famous cars function with out a fourth gentle in choose cities, together with Los Angeles, Phoenix, Austin, Texas and San Francisco.



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