Traffic Lights Inspired by Insects May Reduce Commute Times by Up to 60%
Instead of measuring, calculating and executing, they just ‘know’ based on instinct what to do and where to go. For instance, when two groups of ants, let’s say, approach one another, the smaller group will always let the larger pass first, thus optimizing the ‘flow of traffic’, if you will.
Just such a system is in the works, with the aim of being applied in the real world, to control traffic lights, to better direct the flow of cars. The work is being carried out by a telecommunications researcher, Ozan Tonguz, from Carnegie Mellon University, whose Virtual Traffic Lights system, in simulations, at least, has shown a reduction in the average commute time by between 40% and 60% during rush hours.
The system adjusts the lights according to the flow of cars, thus making every intersection work at full efficiency, or as close to full efficiency as possible. Next, Tonguz wants to add additional algorithms, to account for bicyclists and pedestrians, to get a more accurate simulation.
Story via gizmag.com