Saturday, March 26, 2016

A Future Without Traffic Lights

New advances in technology have been flooding the news over the last decade. However, according to Popular Science, MIT has created an entirely new and unheard of idea. MIT has created an interaction system called “Light Traffic”. This system uses sensors to keep driverless cars at a safe distance from each other as they approach an intersection. The speeds of the vehicles would be automatically adjusted as the vehicle approaches the intersection in order to ensure that the vehicle turns or passes through the intersection without having to stop.
            This new technology could make a significantly big impact on travel. This could allow people to save a lot of time when driving anywhere they chose to go. I think this would be especially beneficial in a city where people have to constantly stop and go at traffic lights. Additionally, as well as making travel more time efficient this system has several other benefits as well. Since less time will be spent stopping and going, less emission will be released. As a result, cars will be slightly greener than they previously were. On the other side of things this could potentially save a lot of lives. According to Insurance Information institute 900 people die each year from red light running, and over 2,000 people are injured. This new technology would ideally prevent all deaths and injuries from red light running.

            Although there are several benefits to this program, the article fails to mention all the things that could go wrong with this technology. This seems like a really good idea but any malfunction in this technology could be detrimental and cause back to back accidents. If they were to go through with this “Light Traffic” system, I think it would be crucial to have several back up systems in case one went down and cars were not slowing down as they approached the intersection. Overall, I think this new system is a great idea however I believe it will be awhile before this technology is every actually introduced on our roads.

 "MIT Envisions A Future Without Traffic Lights." Popular Science. Web. 26 Mar. 2016.
"Auto Crashes." III. Web. 26 Mar. 2016. 


  1. I think that an infrastructure like the study MIT proposes could be very beneficial in increasing the efficiency and flow of intersections. Additionally, it was reported through the study that the model could ultimately save and minimize energy consumption. I think this is a big step in encouraging the production of autonomous cars because it comforts consumers in knowing that autonomous cars are going to be safer than driving yourself.
    The problem to me comes with the other factors, which is the cost of implementing this system world-wide. To me it seems that the only way to have a fully functional system would for it to be put in every road-way and intersection there is. This could be timely and costly. Additionally, there are external factors and other transportation devices that share the road with automobiles, including motorcycles and bicycles. If a system like this was to be created it would restrict the use of these devices. Not only would it restrict these devices, but every car would have to be an autonomous car.

  2. Although this technology has intriguing implications for a world of solely driverless cars, how would the traffic lights interact with cars being driven by humans? Considering the direction automotive technology is heading, I think it would be possible to have the software interact with cars being driven by people since all cars have computers in them these days. However, I personally don’t want a traffic light sending signals to my car to stop it. As helpful as technology can be at preventing accidents, I think this would be infringing on a person’s right to operate their own vehicle. We don’t need cars to brake for us when we come close to other cars, or stop us at traffic lights because that’s a part of our responsibility as drivers. Instead of coming up with life-saving technology that could be disastrous if it fails, we should emphasize good driving habits and penalize more heavily those making the roads a dangerous place (people texting, aggressive driving, etc.) I fear if we were to go ahead with this type of traffic technology, what would stop legislators from implementing these controlling devices on highways to prevent people from speeding over a certain threshold in the name of safety? Also a potential problem would be emergency vehicles passing through red lights once they ensured it was clear. How would this technology decipher between these vehicles? Being slowed down at every red light on the way to an emergency could have detrimental consequences. In a world of only driverless cars this technology could be useful, otherwise I think it would be an invasive hindrance.

  3. I believe that this technology that allows traffic continue without traffic lights is not practical for the near future, but rather shows that there are scientists in society that are able to provide solutions for problems that many citizens deal with on a daily basis. The biggest reason I do not believe this technology is logical is that is reliant on the idea that all cars drive themselves. Self driving cars are just now becoming a common technology, so I believe that it is to early to be trying to change the traffic pattern in the major cities. However, it is important that scientist are already developing technologies in the event that society does change to fully self driving cars. Although I don't believe this traffic system will be beneficial in the near future, I believe it's important to continue to change technology to adapt with all the advancements that come with scientific advancements. As one scientist said, solving the traffic intersection problem on the city level will help alleviate all traffic problems throughout society, which will be especially important if citizens no longer have to physically drive their own cars.



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