Man at His Best

MIT Is Working On A Way To Kill The Traffic Light

It's every commuter's dream.

BY JOHN WENZ | Mar 21, 2016 | Technology

MIT is prepared to kill the stoplight. In a journal article published in PLOS ONE, a group of researchers from MIT's Sensable City Lab laid out a plan to make the old fashioned traffic light obsolete. 

Essentially, the idea revolves around a series of sensors in a smart car, whether that's a driverless car or one that is human controlled but has sophisticated computing. The driver or rider signals their intention to the car to, say, turn right, and the car communicates with nearby traffic infrastructure to determine if the way is clear to move through the intersection. 

This signalling would speed up or slow down a car, depending on the needs, briefly stop it if another car was at the intersection, and, in general, get people moving more quickly toward their destination. This process works like slot-based scheduling, something like the Southwest boarding of an airplane. To use that example, drivers might be grouped in a line of 1-15, then shuttled through the intersection, while 15-30 on the other side would be slowed down to let the others through.

The idea MIT lays out would require radical shifts in infrastructure and autonomous automotive technology, so the stoplight-free city isn't going to be coming anytime soon. But MIT is working on finding a test area to bring the idea to fruition, so it may not be as far off as we think.

From: Popular Mechanics.