New Virtual Traffic Light can reduce commute time by 40%


Carnegie Melon University researchers claim that their virtual traffic light could reduce commuting times by 40 percent. According to the research, traffic woes of commuters got reduced significantly by the replacement of physical traffic lights with virtual traffic lights in vehicles.

This virtual traffic light system was developed in the labs of Carnegie Melon University that appears on the dashboard of a vehicle, which is quite similar to physical traffic lights. The system displays red or green arrows to the driver which indicates the direction, they can safely drive in.

However, the major difference between the virtual and physical traffic lights is that these virtual lights disappear when the driver successfully navigates through a junction.  One of the researchers told TeCake that the virtual traffic light system not only reduces the commute time but also controls air pollution through carbon emission and avoid accidents.

Carnegie Mellon University Professor, Ozan Tonguz lead of the developer team of the system says, “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.”

Explaining the technology used, he further added, “Leveraging the new vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication capability of modern cars we propose to design and validate an alternative scheme of urban traffic control that envisions TL as in-vehicle virtual signs, enabling ubiquity of signalized intersections, and defining the synchronization of light phases, cycle durations and green splits based on distributed and self-organization techniques that govern a vehicular ad hoc network (VANET).”

The virtual light is delivered to the driver through a display unit. It provides a gaming like experience to the driver as there are three arrows in three different directions for navigation. Prof. Tonguz explained with an example, “when the driver is looking through the windshield, he sees that going straight is a green light, and turning right is a red light.”

Virtual Traffic Lights (VTL) LLC is the group behind the system, founded by Prof. Tonguz with co-founders Dr. Michel Ferreira and Dr. Luis Damas. The group expertise is in vehicular networks, vehicular human-machine interfaces, intelligent transportation systems,  wireless networking security and traffic management.

About the author

Rishabh Rajvanshi

Rishabh, with six years of experience in the newspaper industry, has co-founded The TeCake in 2013. Apart from writing and editing articles on Technology at The TeCake, he also contributes to other esteemed newspapers.

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