Why is it necessary to consider a fourth color in the traffic light? Who is promoting it? Autonomous cars. Researchers at North Carolina State University weighed in. What would this additional white light be for?
“It would warn that autonomous vehicles are intelligently managing the flow of traffic at the upcoming intersection,” explains portal Science alertWhat would that help? Reduce traffic congestion levels and overall fuel consumption.
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“Red lights will still mean ‘stop.’ Green lights will still mean ‘go.’ And the white lights will tell human drivers to simply follow the car in front of them.” So reports the portal to civil engineer Ali Hajbabaie. This concept was dubbed the “white phase”. It is based on the computational capabilities of autonomous vehicles.
The system proposes the communication of autonomous vehicles with each other and with traffic lights at intersections. They will exchange information within a certain range. Thus they coordinate traffic flow more efficiently and intelligently and advise optimal speeds.
“Human drivers would follow the vehicle in front of them on seeing a blank traffic light. Stop if you stop, continue if you continue. If the number of autonomous vehicles at an intersection drops, the traffic light will return to the usual colors.” Simulated models were made. Operating through this system further improves traffic flow. This has an impact on reducing fuel consumption. In some cases, delays are improved by 40% to 99%.
“Granting some of the control of traffic flow to vehicles is a relatively new idea. It’s called the mobile control paradigm,” Hajbabaie explains. “It can be used to coordinate traffic in any scenario involving AVs.”
A fourth color on the traffic light would be activated if autonomous vehicles exceed 70%. Some technological innovations are already being made to facilitate its implementation. “Commercial vehicles have higher adoption rates of autonomous vehicles. There is an opportunity to implement a pilot project in that environment. It could benefit port traffic and commercial transport,” concludes Hajbabaie.
The study was published in IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems.