Smart Cars Eliminate Waiting At Traffic LightsBy: Zach Walton - March 14, 2012
Have you ever sat at a four-way intersection and wondered if you could zip in and out of oncoming traffic to get across? If you have, you’re a dangerous person and I never want to be in a car with you. Good thing smart cars are here to do all the zipping and weaving for us.
The Atlantic recently spoke to Peter Stone, a computer scientist at the University of Texas. He is one of the biggest proponents of the introduction of the truly smart car. While we do have smart cars now that offer capabilities that one expects of their smart phone; we don’t really have a car that can drive itself.
This is where Stone comes in. He and his partner, Kurt Dresner, decided to begin researching the idea of an autonomous automobile. One of the things they addressed was what smart cars would do when faced with an intersection. As you are all painfully aware, drivers currently have to sit at a red light even when nobody is coming in the other direction. Smart cars would eliminate this.
Under our new smart car overlords, traffic would constantly flow thanks to the computers on board the cars that can detect other cars and swerve in and out to avoid collisions. This would lead to a beautiful ballet of cars all in motion avoiding even the slightest scrape.
The scientists have provided a simulation of what the future of intersections would look like. Intersections right now scare me enough as it is, this animation absolutely terrifies me. I’m not scared of getting into a collision, it’s just how close the cars are to each other. I jump whenever a car pulls up beside me because I think it’s going to hit me. Good thing smart cars won’t have manual input where I’ll freak out and swerve into somebody.
Do you like the idea of a driverless car? Does that simulation freak you out? Let us know in the comments.