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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 javilon ( 99157 ) on Monday August 29, 2011 @06:17AM (#37239720) Homepage

    If you look at all the available safety systems coming in the next generation of cars:

    - automatic braking
    - infrared night vision
    - reverse backup sensors
    - adaptive cruise control
    - lane departure warning systems
    - traction control systems
    - electronic stability control
    - emergency brake assist
    - cornering brake control
    - precrash system
    - automated parking

    It is just a couple of steps away from turning you into a mere supervisor of your car's automatic driving.
    If you add fuel efficiency to the safety concerns, it will add a new set or constraints that will give automatic driving an advantage over human driving.

  • Re:Roundabouts (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MrDoh! ( 71235 ) on Monday August 29, 2011 @06:22AM (#37239736) Homepage Journal

    They're installing 'traffic circles' in a few places in Miami now and they're making a mess of it.

    A). No-one knows what todo at a roundabout. Both approaching it, and whilst on it. Whilst I've been on a roundabout, I've had people hurtling into my path. As I'm waiting for someone to pass in front of me, they stop in the middle of the roundabout and try to wave me on. (I'll let the fact that no-cars appear to have indicators in Miami go amiss...) Actually, no I won't let it go amiss, as it continues with lack of education that when there IS a roundabout, no-one ever gets the correct positioning it appears. Luckily, it's usually single lane roads, but the occasional 2 lanes feeding into it? NO-ONE gets into the correct lane for their turning (and I recall plenty of public service announcements in the UK to drill it home). So, education of what' they're trying to achieve needs to be implemented.

    B) They have STOP signs AT the roundabout in many places. Apparently the city wants them, but the county has different rules, leading to Yield/Stop signs next to each other, not helping people learn what's supposed to actually happen. (Sure this part will be resolved shortly, but it's confusing everyone who's first experience of a roundabout is this).

    C) Some places (key biscayne), they've filled the middle of the roundabouts with beautiful plants. That in Miami climes, grows RAPIDLY. Many roundabouts now, the vision is blocked horribly on your exit. There's going to be accidents, and it'll be totally avoidable..

    D), Some states have no 'right of way' rule. Florida for example, if you're on a roundabout, you don't have right of way, no-one does. If you have an accident of someone plowing into you from the side, they may be able to fight in on court that you crossed their path. (never underestimate the power of lawyers to make a further mess of something). "He drove in front of me!" "yes, I was on the roundabout" "this court doesn't recognise a roundabout as a valid traffic item'

    E) They've done a great job of building roads in the US, but without any though for the placement of a roundabout. Retro fitting them in some places is making some odd designs. (that probably just need a single stop sign, and a yield in the other direction, but no doubt funds are already appropriated)

    F) And, like many other places, they put crossings RIGHT on the nearest part of the road, that with the amount of Flora previously mentioned, and the requirements to give way to pedestrians crossing, no indicators, no education on how to drive round a roundabout, means there's going to be issues.

    G) odd planning. To place a roundabout at a junction, requires the 4 homes on each corner to give permission. If anyone disagrees, it won't be built (at least that's how I'm understanding it in Coral Gables). Many, not understanding what it's about, say no. The next junction, all the people may allow it. Leading to a confusing road journey filled with Stop sign, roundabout, roundabout, stop sign, roundabout, yield, roundabout with a stop sign, stop sign, roundabout. With some roads having more, some less. If you're going to do it, at least be consistent.

    So, when I'm a passenger in a car and the driver encounters a roundabout and starts cursing that it's a terrible thing, and that they cause accidents, and don't improve traffic flow, I mumble under my breath "yeah, but only in America it appears..."

  • Its been tried (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Monday August 29, 2011 @06:36AM (#37239766) Homepage Journal

    tells drivers the optimal speed to drive at to avoid waiting at the next set of lights."

    The problem is that the speed to travel at to not stop at the next set of lights could be 12 km/h or 1.5 times the speed limit. It is hardly ever a speed you are actually going to travel at. We had a system in Melbourne which did this. They had to change it to not display a speed above the speed limit and then the displays showed stupidly low speeds.

  • by mjwx ( 966435 ) on Monday August 29, 2011 @09:51AM (#37240908)

    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.


    People travelling above or below the speed limit +/- 10% ish are the ones who cause traffic jams and accidents. Especially the lane weavers.

    Saving on fuel whilst driving is about driving your car the way it was designed to be driven, along the acceleration curve the engineers designed it for (especially if you drive a manual). Over or under revving will use more fuel then driving properly. Manufacturers design most cars to be most efficient at the speed limit in most nations (50-80 KM), if you're driving an urban car, it's designed to be most efficient around 60, not 80.

    If you drive an urban tank, please take yourself out and have yourself shot. Our roads could use less of you.

Adding features does not necessarily increase functionality -- it just makes the manuals thicker.