A new connected traffic technology has signal lights speaking with driver's smartphones, constantly relaying information related to traffic and telling drivers how fast or slow they need to be travelling to effectively have green lights all the way. Real world road testing of this tech will soon begin in parts of the UK.
The idea is to have the driver arrive just as the traffic lights change, reports TechXplore. As to why this would be a good idea, at traffic stops, the bulk of the traffic seems to be concentrated around or near the lights, with drivers having to go through frustrating stop and start driving, instead this new tech will keep drivers at a pace where they do not have to race through from light to light, waiting for it to turn green, rather, the app will guide the driver to a pace where they are mostly moving through from light to light.
While this is something that human drivers can make use of, level 4 or 5 autonomous cars will require this kind of technology to keep traffic stops to a minimum. If all the autonomous cars are part of a connected network, then it might even become possible in future to not have lights at all as cars simply talk to each other and continue on their way through even crowded intersections.
Apart from reducing driver frustrations, for now, keeping cars moving has several other benefits as well, notes the report. Braking, for one, will be brought down to a minimum, preserving the wear and tear of brakes. Driving continuously will also make for much fewer emissions, notes the report. Traffic congestions are also a big burden on the economy. This concept is one of five that have been shortlisted as emerging technologies for future roads and driverless cars.
This competition is being hosted by the National Roads Commission (NIC), Highways England and Innovate UK. "We can see for ourselves the progress in developing cars for the future, with trials of driverless cars taking place across the country," said NIC chairman Sir John Armitt. "We now need to make sure the technology on our roads keeps up."