News hardware This city is the first in Europe with traffic lights managed by an AI
The city of Bad Hersfeld, Germany, will leave control of traffic lights in the hands of artificial intelligence. An approach that has a very specific objective for the safety of the population.
When traveling on the roads, in town as elsewhere, it is impossible to miss the traffic lights. These indicators are essential to regulate traffic but also to save lives. However, there are specific situations in which traffic lights can be a problem : this is particularly the case when emergency services such as ambulances or firefighters have to cross roads as quickly as possible. Dodging a red light and slaloming through road traffic is very dangerous and can also lead to a stake-laden waste of time.
In Germany, a city has decided to tackle this problem: this is Bad Hersfeld, which is located in the Hessian Lande. This town of just under 30,000 inhabitants announced last August that it had validated the financing of a “smart city” project intended to give traffic control to artificial intelligence.
Traffic lights managed by an AI
The project aims to use a huge amount of data related to road traffic in the city, in real time, in order to optimize traffic. Priority is given to optimizing the routes of emergency vehicles when they need it: the objective is to enable them to reach their destination within a maximum of 10 minutes.
In concrete terms, the system will take the form of a tool accessible in emergency response vehicles: not only will it allow responders to have immediate knowledge of the shortest route, but in addition, it will allow them toactivate an artificial intelligence capable of synchronizing traffic lights to create “green corridors”.
To prevent this system from creating bottlenecks in the city, the associated artificial intelligence will be able to synchronize the lights via a “complex algorithm” in view of effectively relaunch traffic after the emergency vehicle has passed.
The city of Bad Hersfeld intends to start test this solution with firefighters. Depending on the feedback and the effectiveness of the system, it can then be extended to other medical emergency professionals.
Connected traffic, a project for the future
If the test that Bad Hersfeld intends to carry out very soon could prove very useful in facilitating the circulation of emergency vehicles,‘this could be a first step towards road traffic managed by artificial intelligence’ in Europe. This is a vision shared by many manufacturers of semi-autonomous vehicles, who see it as the complement to the autonomous cars of tomorrow.
Last March, Elon Musk even shared a reflection on Twitter : “Maybe Tesla should create a device with AI that plugs into old traffic lights. This would make it possible to simply visualize the traffic and optimize the passage of cars”.
Maybe Tesla should make an AI vision device that plugs into these legacy traffic lights. It could just look at traffic & automatically maximize throughput.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 6, 2022
However, we can point out that this kind of technology Already exists : in Pittsburgh, USA, an adaptive traffic control system developed by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute was gradually rolled out starting in 2012. It equips 50 intersections in the city and has made it possible to reduce waiting times at intersections by up to 40%, and reduce journey times in the city by around 25%. The other argument in favor of such a system is ecological, since vehicle emissions would have been reduced by up to 20% thanks to this solution. Enough to allow everyone to be a winner in the story. So, when will there be a solution of this type in France?