Virtual traffic lights could solve SA traffic problems

Virtual traffic lights seem futuristic, but a researcher from the US thinks it's a reality.

FILE: Out of order traffic lights. Picture: Siyabonga Sesant/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Researchers at the Carnegie Mellon University in the US on Wednesday said that virtual traffic lights could be a realistic solution to the problems associated with robots in South Africa.

Virtual traffic lights use vehicle communication technology, which will be mandatory for cars in America.

This week Eyewitness News is focusing on traffic lights in Johannesburg as part of a special feature.

Virtual traffic lights seem futuristic, but Professor Ozan Tonguz thinks it's a reality.

"Virtual traffic lights is a new technology which tries to address the daunting traffic congestion problem in major cities."

The Carnegie Mellon researcher said cars at intersections would use technology to talk to one another, and the lead vehicles would act as beacons managing traffic.

"So, in a round robin fashion, this process continues in a seamless manner and then the infrastructure-based traffic lights are obviated."

He said this was an ideal solution for South Africa where load shedding is such a big problem.

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