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SignalGuru Helps Drivers Avoid Red Lights 436

cylonlover writes "Researchers at MIT and Princeton have now devised a system, dubbed SignalGuru (PDF), that gathers visual data from the cameras of a network of dashboard-mounted smartphones and tells drivers the optimal speed to drive at to avoid waiting at the next set of lights." In their testing, the system saved drivers about 20 percent in fuel.
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SignalGuru Helps Drivers Avoid Red Lights

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  • by FireFury03 ( 653718 ) <> on Monday August 29, 2011 @05:33AM (#37239568) Homepage

    (with the shift stick in neutral, so the car doesn't brake on the engine)

    On a modern car this is bad for fuel consumption - in neutral, the engine is burning fuel to idle, but under engine-braking conditions the ECU cuts the fuel entirely. So if you used the brakes (wasting kinetic energy as heat) and then put the car in neutral to avoid slowing down further, you wasted a load of fuel. Better to just let the engine brake the whole way.

  • It won't work here (Score:4, Informative)

    by rust627 ( 1072296 ) on Monday August 29, 2011 @05:35AM (#37239574)

    In the interests of efficiency, most lights here in Melbourne have been converted to a triggered system.

    The idea is that the main road (determined by some guru in a government department) has right of way and light changes are triggered by cars moving over sensors at the stop lines of the red lights, in some cases (though not all) they can detect 2 cars per lane. Of course the habit of many drivers to sit back a good car length from the stop lines often means that they do not get close enough to the coils in the road to properly trigger them and as a result you get a few drivers saying"to hell with it" and running through a red light after waiting for 10 minutes. It is really funny to then see the lights change a matter of moments after, in response to the car driving over the sense coils in the road.

    The result is that there is no correct speed to catch the green light because there is no direct coordination between lights.

  • by cbiltcliffe ( 186293 ) on Monday August 29, 2011 @07:06AM (#37239856) Homepage Journal

    You can in every automatic I've ever driven. Are the transmissions so different in the states?

    No. The drivers are so different in the states. :-/

    I've driven in the US, Canada, and England.

    Canadian roads are full of indecisive morons who can't figure out where they need to go, or how to get there. They also have no idea how a car works, as everything is automatic and done for them.
    US roads are full of inconsiderate asshats who think everybody else on the road should get off it, so that they can change 3 lanes at once with no signal, since they're too important to have to plan ahead. They mostly have no idea how a car works, as everything is just about as automatic as Canada.
    UK roads are full of speed demons who know where they need to be, and want to get there as quickly as possible. If you're going in the same direction as them, you'd better be moving fast enough to not hold them up. Other than that, they're quite refreshing.

  • by dunkelfalke ( 91624 ) on Monday August 29, 2011 @08:46AM (#37240356)

    Insightful my fat arse.
    Aggressive drivers who try to get from A to B as fast as possible cause traffic jams. Drivers who flow with the traffic don't. That technology is made explicitely for a smooth traffic flow.

  • by mapkinase ( 958129 ) on Monday August 29, 2011 @09:34AM (#37240748) Homepage Journal

    The only reason for "aggressive" driving during traffic hours are idiots who DO NOT "flow with the traffic". Because of them now the traffic (which you call "aggressive") flows around them causing extra speeding diff between lanes, extra lane changes.

    As for speed. The higher the speed, the better the smooth traffic flow fixes the problem of jams, because of the extra space that the car takes from the road. At the same 3 sec interval you will take more time-space on the road at lower speed, because larger part of your time-space is your car length.

    I have driven 120K in 6 years in Maryland commuting to the city and I haven't seen a single aggressive driver on the road during traffic hours.

    What I see plenty are dumbasses who drive -10 mph at the leftmost lane talking on the phone, chatting with their carpool (another commie abomination) buddy and generally being oblivious to what is happening on the road. But, of course, it is much easier to fine a guy who dares to speed up in the 400 feet gap caused by the aforementioned idiot, that to stop that idiot and hang him head down from the closes automobile bridge.

I owe the public nothing. -- J.P. Morgan