Traffic lights prepare their revolution

After the gas bulbs of the XIXand century and electrical circuits of the XXandthe traffic lights of the XXIand century are getting a makeover. Their strengths? Use artificial intelligence to make our traffic more efficient. More than a century after the first tricolor lights, which appeared in Detroit in 1920, the American start-up LYT intends to become the pioneer in connected traffic.

Its software, explains The Hustle, uses data and machine learning to manipulate traffic lights to improve traffic flow. The LYT managers start from an observation: the cities are almost all equipped with traffic sensors, and the vehicles all equipped with GPS. Why not enjoy it?

LYT gathers all available data in a central cloud-based system, to then analyze it in real time. Example of practice: a bus is late for its usual schedule. The AI ​​gathers both historical information (for example, how long the bus typically waits at a stop), but also real-time data (where the bus actually is). Then sets up a “green wave”in which the vehicle benefits from green lights which are triggered as soon as it is needed.

More fluid, less polluting

A conclusive experience, since the test program involving seventeen intersections on a San Jose bus line has reduced travel times by 20%. For their part, the Netherlands have already implemented a system in this direction for several years.

In Germany, the manufacturer Ford has tested connected traffic light technology which could automatically turn green to provide smoother routes for ambulances, fire engines and police vehicles.

For their experiment, the brains at Ford used C-V2X (“Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything”) technology to communicate vehicles with road infrastructure and other users. By receiving the information before the light changes colour, the test vehicle can activate its adaptive cruise control and thus avoid sudden braking.

Who says more fluidity, says less successions of stops and restarts, and by extension less pollution. The reduction in overall urban congestion means reduced waiting times for drivers, cyclists, but also pedestrians. Result: less stress for users, less greenhouse gas emissions and also fewer accidents.

But then what about hacking these lights? In 2020, two Dutch computer security researchers demonstrated that iit was possible to take control of the signaling with a simple internet connection.

For what risks? Creating accidents, destabilization, or even political control: last year Amazon turned all the traffic lights to red to counter union rallies.

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Traffic lights prepare their revolution

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