Automating out Traffic Inefficiencies

Cars and traffic signals are communicating with themselves, soon to leave the driver ou.

Major automobile manufacturers are experimenting with technology that allows cars and traffic lights to communicate and work together to ease congestion, cut emissions and increase safety.

Volkswagen collaborated with Siemens in October to test a smart light system in its German hometown of Wolfsburg.

With a section of road that has 10 traffic signal systems the companies have information transmitting about their light phases.

The idea is that the system will be able to tell the driver when to expect a wave of green lights. The goal is to eventually make the system work with a range of cars and brands.

The network uses WiFi technology and sensors to produce position data than is more accurate than GPS.

The system will help cars avoid unnecessary stopping and starting, reducing the amount of gasses they emit. Cars produce more emissions when idling than when in motion.

The technology could also help improve safety by transmitting information about traffic conditions directly to the driver.

Volkswagen and Siemens are using sensors to detect pedestrians and cyclists at two of the crossroads in Wolfsburg.

The sensors process that information, and then the traffic controller can send a message to everyone that there is a cyclist on the left.