This is just the first step to cars driving themselves, soon we will just get in the car and get out when we arrive at our destination. No worries about bad drivers, cell phone laws, or speeding tickets. How exciting.
The new experimental traffic management system enables communication between cars and traffic lights to reduce ‘stop-start’ inefficiency. The Travolution system, could dramatically reduce the number of actual stops needed by creating a communications link between cars and the traffic light network.
Fuel-sapping stops at red traffic lights could soon be the exception rather than the rule thanks to a new initiative being championed by Audi aimed at streamlining urban traffic flow and reducing CO2 emissions.
Communications modules built into each traffic light are able to send messages to cars in the vicinity, alerting them to the time remaining until their next green phase. The car’s onboard system is then able to calculate the speed which the driver must maintain in order to pass through the light during this green phase, and displays this via the Multi Media Interface display.
On Cnet they made some good points about the 2 problems with this system:
1. It relies on drivers to actually follow the suggested speed in order to make the light.
Solution: Gas savings may be a motivator for people to drive slower
2. The system is hardware based so vehicles must be modified to communicate with the traffic lights.
Solution: Create an application for GPS devices
A couple of other issues I see are:
3. The system requires the drivers attention to maintain the suggested speed, we had to pass laws to direct driver’s attention back to driving, will this be an issue?
Solution: Audio, we know how easily drivers can be distracted so an audio interface will take care of this.
4. Do you have to live in a rural area to use this, or only drive on Sunday, how will it work in traffic? When you are at the mercy of bumper to bumper traffic speed is not under your control.
Solution: Not sure there is one here, unless I can kick a million people out of my city…maybe move to Montana. When cars drive themselves this shouldn’t be an issue.
5. How does the car know the speed limit, what if it tells you that you have to speed to make all the green lights? Can you get out of a ticket by saying my car made me do it?
Solution: I am sure they have thought of one, I am just not sure what it is yet.
I think this is interesting technology and I can’t wait until it becomes mainstream. What do you think, can you think of some additional issues or solutions?