In the Future Cars and Traffic Signals Will Talk To Each Other but Will it Happen Before Level 5 Autonomy?
You have to be brave to trust this technology anytime soonby Sidd Dhimaan, on
The world’s top automakers are working towards creating a technology that would allow cars and traffic signals to communicate with each other. This way, there won’t be any major congestion, carbon footprint would be reduced, and there would be fewer accidents. Given the traffic conditions, this is the need of the hour, but is it feasible while humans are still behind the wheel and in control?
Every Automaker Is Innovating In Its Own Way
Companies like Ford, Honda, BMW, and Volkswagen are working towards creating such technologies.
Volkswagen and Siemens have even collaborated to test a smart light system in Wolfsburg, Germany. They have set up a section of road with ten traffic signal systems that transmit information about their light phases.
The main idea is that the technology will notify the driver, or the car in case of self-driving cars, when to expect green lights at a particular signal. Volkswagen and Siemens are also using sensors to detect pedestrians and cyclists at two of the crossroads in Wolfsburg. Franz Schober from Siemens’ Connected Mobility Systems team, said, "[The sensors] process that information, and then the traffic controller can send a message to everyone that there is a cyclist on the left," Volkswagen will start equipping this technology in its cars from next year.
Other companies have their own ways of developing the technology. Describing it in a nutshell, Franz Schober said, "BMW has a counter, which counts down 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1 second to green, while Mercedes says ’if you drive between 32 and 52 kilometers per hour, you’ll get green”. Honda revealed its "smart intersection" technology last month in Ohio, where four cameras would be mounted in each corner of an intersection, creating a 360-degree birds-eye-view of cars and pedestrians moving around. That data was then sent to connected cars and decoded by their onboard computers. When necessary, the system provides visual and audible alerts to the driver.
Ford also unveiled its technology earlier this month.
The system allows cars to communicate with each other when going through intersections.
However, the drivers are still in control of the vehicle and need to alter their speeds to avoid a collision. Ford said it took inspiration from how pedestrians move around in a crowd to avoid those crossing their path and also that through this technology, it envisages a future where traffic lights will become obsolete.
The system uses Wi-Fi and sensors to determine that exact location of the vehicle and is said to be more accurate than the system used in smartphones. Emission levels will go down as there won’t be any unnecessary starting and stopping. Cars produce more emissions when they are idling than when in motion. The technology would also help improve safety by transmitting information about traffic conditions directly to the driver.
Although the idea seems promising, it requires all automakers to work together to make this a reality. They can’t have one car with the technology and others on the road without it. There are still a lot of hurdles to be cleared, but at least companies have taken baby steps towards it. Since it requires every single car on road to work in tandem, can it become a reality any time soon? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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