Virtual Traffic Lights Could Revolutionize City Driving – [Or Not] |TechNewsWorld

I was briefly quoted in TechNewsWorld in an article about Virtual Traffic Lights, a long-discussed possibility with “Connected Vehicles”.

“Optimizing traffic lights is a great idea,” said David Levinson, a transportation analyst and professor at the University of Minnesota.

Getting them deployed any time soon, however, “is impossible, since it won’t be useful until all cars have such devices,” he told TechNewsWorld. “You can’t eliminate regular traffic lights until every car has VTL.”

Further, all the infrastructure — including hundreds of thousands of traffic lights managed by thousands of jurisdictions — would have to be upgraded, he pointed out.

“Even if all new cars have this, it will be decades before every car has this; old cars will need to be banned, retrofitted or somehow accommodated in a way that diminishes the utility of VTL,” he explained.

“Autonomous vehicles have a much more viable deployment path, and rely on the ability of the vehicle to sense conventional lights,” Levinson noted.

I really wish technology promoters would think about the deployment path instead of the end state. And discussing “carbon emissions” assumes this is deployed while gasoline is still used for powering cars, in other words, in 30 years when this may be feasible, we will still be burning fuel instead of using batteries or something else, which may be true, but would be sad.

2 thoughts on “Virtual Traffic Lights Could Revolutionize City Driving – [Or Not] |TechNewsWorld

  1. “I think this technology can hit the market in most large cities around the world within one to two years,” Tonguz told TechNewsWorld. “We are currently looking for partners and investments to implement this technology on a large scale.”

    These sentences really made my chuckle. I wouldn’t call this futurist but fancy-ist as talking like this means not only the speaker knows nothing about the technical details but also has no clue as to a realistic path to a commercial product beginning from the initial idea to a REAL WORKING one.

    The challenging technical part is not the idea to have the info projected on windshield what whatever dashboard – those are fancy, but easy to implement, get a 4-year college kid with a CS degree would easily implement it. The challenging part is how to get real-time signal status information and ACCURATELY synthesize such that boils down to get three types of real-time info
    1. Fixed timing
    2. Actuated timing
    3. Adaptive timing

    Actuated timing and adaptive timing are unpredictable in real time – yeah yeah yeah even with those fancy Connected Technology people are talking about – and to get *accurate* info would require more sophiscated system level regional level cross multi-system integration, data fusion which is ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE. Don’t get me talk more technical details on this subject and I am so amused of this.

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