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Your Car Will Tell You How To Hit the Next Green Light

Unknown Lamer posted about 8 months ago | from the drive-better dept.

Transportation 364

cartechboy (2660665) writes "Hitting that red light sucks. We've all been there, and you know what I'm talking about. But what if your car could tell you the ideal speed to maintain to hit the next green light? That's exactly what's going to happen in the near future thanks to car-to-car technology. Many automakers are already working on this new tech, and Honda's the latest to trial such systems. This is all part of what's known as Universal Traffic Management System which will eventually provide feedback on car-to-car and infrastructure systems before they go into practical use. The system will also be able to tell the driver if a red light is likely to show before reaching an intersection so the driver can slow down, or notify the driver when that red light will turn green. All of this may seem like something that's supposed to benefit the driver's temper, but in reality it's to help save fuel and lower emissions without any physical changes to the car. This is the future, and your vehicle will talk to other vehicles whether you like it or not."

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In a society that has destroyed all adventure (1, Insightful)

korbulon (2792438) | about 8 months ago | (#46638123)

the only adventure left is to destroy society.

Re:In a society that has destroyed all adventure (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 8 months ago | (#46638421)

the only adventure left is to destroy society.

For some reason, when I read your title+post, I heard it in Don LaFontaine's voice, may he rest in peace.

Re:In a society that has destroyed all adventure (1)

korbulon (2792438) | about 8 months ago | (#46638437)

HA! Of course I should have written: "In a world..."

Re:In a society that has destroyed all adventure (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 8 months ago | (#46638499)

And geeks and other "smart people" working in finance, law, and the NSA are doing just that, one egregious breach of trust at a time.

Its called paying attention (3, Insightful)

kid_wonder (21480) | about 8 months ago | (#46638127)

Isn't this why they put those countdown timers on the crosswalks?

Victoria (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46638347)

No, those are for pedestrians so they don't get stuck in the middle of the street when the light changes on their side. Where do you live that you can see those from your side of the intersection?

Re:Victoria (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | about 8 months ago | (#46638645)

Houston, for one, so long as you're one of the first few cars at the light.

Re:Victoria (1)

Loether (769074) | about 8 months ago | (#46638847)

Agreed, in Houston, I often look ahead to see the crosswalk timer to decide if I need to speed up to make the green or slow down because I won't make the green. As a manual transmission driver I find I pay more attention to things like that in an attempt to minimize coming to a complete stop.

Re:Its called paying attention (2)

bondsbw (888959) | about 8 months ago | (#46638385)

This would be great if all or most of traffic signals had countdown timers or even the Walk/Don't Walk signal. But they don't.

I like a system I saw in Mexico and I've heard exists elsewhere, where the green light flashes for a few seconds before turning yellow. Requires no extra signage, still gets the point across and makes for safer intersections.

Re:Its called paying attention (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46638503)

Yeah, that's Mexico.

And in Germany the lights flash before turning green, so that people are ready the light turns green.

If only we could combine the two.

Oh, and make Michigan Lefts universal. And modern roundabouts (not old-fashioned traffic circles).

Re:Its called paying attention (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46638837)

Err, no. Germany has red - red+yellow - green - yellow - red. No blinking involved. And yes, red-yellow means "get ready".
Austria has the same plus flashing green before yellow.

Re:Its called paying attention (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46638869)

News to me. This is how traffic lights turn from red to green in Germany: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqOcw6XeOeg [youtube.com]

Re:Its called paying attention (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about 8 months ago | (#46638703)

Would be simpler just to have the light at yellow for longer though in some jurisdictions yellow means stop unless its unsafe to do so , so some rules might have to be changed.

Fewer tickets? (2)

sjbe (173966) | about 8 months ago | (#46638723)

I like a system I saw in Mexico and I've heard exists elsewhere, where the green light flashes for a few seconds before turning yellow.

But then the police department can't raise money by issuing tickets for running red lights. Oh Noes! We might not even be able to justify those fancy red-light cameras. Isn't it the 'Murican Way (tm) to profit from punishment?

[/sarcasm]

Re:Its called paying attention (2)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 8 months ago | (#46638445)

Isn't this why they put those countdown timers on the crosswalks?

No, those are for pedestrians. But many countries put BIG count down timers next to the traffic lights for drivers, such as this one [tqleds.com] in China. I have never understood why these haven't caught on in America. They provide all the benefits of the fancy car-to-car technology in TFA, plus have the added benefit of working with existing cars. Traffic flows more smoothly, accidents are reduced, gas is conserved, and the cost is minimal.

Re:Its called paying attention (2)

Mr0bvious (968303) | about 8 months ago | (#46638553)

Actually I think the count down timers are somewhat superior to the car-to-car-trafficControlSystem tech with regards to:

1) Works for ALL cars that already exist.
2) Doesn't require interfacing the car to the traffic control system (which are different in many countries - we use SCATS here in most of Australia).
3) Doesn't require the traffic control system to interface with external networks (eliminating a possible attack vector).

Re:Its called paying attention (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46638725)

Because the red light camera makers would not turn a profit on that intersection.

Where I live, the lights are deliberately designed to turn red once the previous one turns green, as proven by a civil engineer. This is done to "encourage" people to move closer into town.

If things were sane, there would be green light countdown timers and red light countdown timers, with 1-2 seconds where both sides are red so a red light runner won't cause a wreck. However, there are vested interests in making sure lights are as inconvenient as possible in most of the US.

Re:Its called paying attention (1)

geekmux (1040042) | about 8 months ago | (#46638615)

Isn't this why they put those countdown timers on the crosswalks?

Yeah, or people could just drive somewhere near the speed limit, since most series of lights are timed correctly to ensure traffic flows well, and at the correct legal speed.

But we're asking impatient people already late to work to slow down and pay attention behind the wheel. Two things that will receive a resounding fuck you as a response. It will become most evident with the impatient asshole/bitch in your rear-view mirror flipping you off as your new car features throttle your speed in the fast lane. Remember not every car will talk to each other in an attempt to create zen on the road, and not every driver will listen to their car.

Re:Its called paying attention (3, Interesting)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 8 months ago | (#46638619)

The idea is that when you are 1000m away from the light and can't see the countdown timer your car tells you something like "maintain 30kph to avoid having to stop". By driving slower than you normally would you reach the light just as it goes green again, rather than having to stop/start.

Re:Its called paying attention (2)

DickBreath (207180) | about 8 months ago | (#46638695)

> The idea is that when you are 1000m away from the light and can't see the countdown
> timer your car tells you something like "maintain 30kph to avoid having to stop".

It would be much more welcome news to hear my car tell me: "increase speed to 85 mph to avoid having to stop".

Re:Its called paying attention (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46638715)

"The idea is that when you are 1000m away from the light and can't see the countdown timer your car tells you something like "maintain 30kph to avoid having to stop". By driving slower than you normally would you reach the light just as it goes green again, rather than having to stop/start."

And the person two cars behind you? Face it, stopping is a fact of life. The worst people in the world are those that try to "time" a light. Pull up, stop and take it like a man. If you'd been driving the speed limit, you would have been stuck at the red. Speaking of which, is there going to be something to tell people to go when the light is green? You can lose four seconds for each car while the driver is deciding when to press the accelerator.

The second worse people are those who don't drive the speed limit.

Re:Its called paying attention (4, Informative)

mcrbids (148650) | about 8 months ago | (#46638799)

Ha ha... paying attention goes oh so much deeper than countdown timers...

What most people don't know is that you can improve your fuel economy rather dramatically using a variety of techniques commonly referred as "Hyper-miling". [wikipedia.org] I didn't think much of it myself until I got a car that has a fuel economy computer built into the dash, and then it started to click.

See, brakes are death to fuel economy. Sounds obvious, but what isn't obvious is what that translates to in real world use.

Example: negotiating a red light. Most people don't pay attention to red lights until they are half a block or so away. If it's red, they start to apply the brake, and then as the light stubbornly refuses to turn green, they apply more and more brake until they stop behind the next car. Which is exactly the *wrong* way to get best fuel economy. Instead, you should be looking ahead as far as possible, and apply the brake as early as possible to reduce speed as early as possible to increase the amount of time it takes to cover the block distance while losing as little forward momentum as possible. Instead of waiting until the last minute and losing all forward momentum, you brake early and keep perhaps 30 MPH. This means that you don't have to accelerate to 30 MPH and you save that much fuel.

It was rather surprising to me how much difference I could accomplish using these techniques! On the freeway, if I drive around 50 MPH unless going up a hill, then more like 40-45, the normal 25-28ish MPG becomes closer to 34 MPG. Around the town, normally, my car (a 4-seat Chrysler convertible) gets around 18-20 MPG, but using these techniques about braking and reduced acceleration, I can get over 30 MPG on town surface streets! (flat land) Unfortunately, I do have to get used to being flipped off in order to achieve this.

In any event, you *can* get a rather sharp increase in fuel economy by paying attention to the forces of momentum, timing and friction.

nope (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46638821)

In our state stoplights with those timers only work when there is a pedestrian waiting to cross. They do not work any other time

Backdoor to Woe-land (0)

Baby Duck (176251) | about 8 months ago | (#46638129)

Until that ambulance, fire truck, or police cruiser comes by, spontaneously changing the light.

Re:Backdoor to Woe-land (4, Informative)

Mr0bvious (968303) | about 8 months ago | (#46638587)

It doesn't spontaneously change the light - it puts a priority request to the traffic management system (which may or may not be granted depending on the system rules) and the signal change times are adjusted accordingly - any interfacing with the system would be able to be aware of this change to.

This is actually no different than a pedestrian pressing the walk button to possibly change the sequence sooner.

Disclaimer: I've worked on interfacing to some traffic control systems for providing priority through intersections to specific vehicles (GPS+GPRS+known route).

The problem (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46638139)

The problem is all the people behind you that will speed up and tailgate you so you can they can have the pleasure of sitting at a red light faster. Your car, in a 35 mph zone - tells you to go 20mph to avoid the red - the person behind you tailgates you and honks their horn.

Re:The problem (3, Insightful)

Cryacin (657549) | about 8 months ago | (#46638177)

That's when you start driving 10 mph

Re:The problem (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46638297)

If cars are slowing down so that they can hit the next light green instead of red, then there will be some cars further back that are slowed down instead that hit the light red instead of green. This is a zero-sum game and adding complexity just for complexities' sake is never a good solution. You should always move as quickly as possible to your next waypoint. If you get stopped there, so be it - regenerative braking is the answer to that problem.

Re:The problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46638633)

No, if the cars had to slow down because of you, then they would have also reached the light when it was red if they hadn't slowed down. If the cars happen to hit a red light instead of a green light after travelling slowly behind a long line of cars, originally they would have stopped at the end of the long line of cars at the light, the light would turn green, traffic would start moving, and they wouldn't reach the intersection before the light turned red again due to the length of the line of cars.

You should only move as quickly as possible to the next traffic light if you don't have prior knowledge as the he state of that traffic light beforehand.

Re:The problem (1)

PFactor (135319) | about 8 months ago | (#46638307)

It would probably work best if all cars had that information, so other drivers didn't incorrectly assume you're just an asshat driver.

Green wave (1, Interesting)

loic_2003 (707722) | about 8 months ago | (#46638147)

I'm fairly sure in parts of the UK they implemented staggered green lights along busy stretches of road. If you accelerated modestly to the speed limit, or just below, the lights were timed to turn green as you got to them. Those with lead feet would be accelerating hard, then waiting at the lights as you cruised by.

Re:Green wave (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 8 months ago | (#46638249)

They've finally caught up to the rest of the world?

Re:Green wave (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46638463)

The lights in my town are purposely calibrated so you can't go through all 5 on green. They want you to go around town instead of through it. You can get through them, but it requires heavy acceleration and a speed slightly about the limit. But that sure beats 10 minutes of waiting which is also shorter than the 15 it takes for the bypass.

Re:Green wave (1)

overshoot (39700) | about 8 months ago | (#46638361)

Those with lead feet would be accelerating hard, then waiting at the lights as you

... arrive in queue behind them.

Re:Green wave (1)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about 8 months ago | (#46638481)

Yep. We've had this for a while here in the US. The problem is that it only works with one direction of traffic.
What I like that the UK has that we do not are roundabouts. In the Chicago area one that we have is nicknamed "suicide circle".
Despite that it is one of the most safest intersections around. Shame we don't have more, but most drivers hate them I guess.

Re:Green wave (1)

Entropius (188861) | about 8 months ago | (#46638551)

Are these the sort of moron roundabouts that have traffic lights too, combining the worst features of both, or are they normal ones with no red lights?

We've got the red-light moron-roundabouts in DC, and they are a pain in the ass. (They also have lanes that merge and split unpredictably, so people get confused about what lane goes where. And, since people are jockeying for position in traffic, they tend to not see bikes...)

Re:Green wave (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46638825)

I hate roundabouts in any way, shape or form. They're for idiots who can't figure out a four way stop. The safety factor that is touted is simply because most people haven't a clue how they work so they slow down. In my town they've taken to putting a potted plant in the middle of an intersection and calling it a roundabout. Idiots. All of them.

Re:Green wave (1)

bossk538 (1682744) | about 8 months ago | (#46638483)

I'm positively sure in parts of NYC the red lights are staggered so that you will have to stop at every single one of them, unless you are going 20 MPH or so above the posted speed limit.

Re:Green wave (3, Informative)

NikeHerc (694644) | about 8 months ago | (#46638811)

... red lights are staggered so that you will have to stop at every single one of them...

Around here, the traffic control idiots time lights so that you stop at every other traffic light. I've experimentally determined if you drive about 48mph in a 40mph zone, you'll rarely stop.

OTOH, cops love speeders, so this is not an optimal solution. The optimal solution is to time lights so as to present as few red lights as possible, but people in government around here are generally complete losers.

Count down clocks on signals? (3, Insightful)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 8 months ago | (#46638171)

Even in India there are count down clocks on many signals, telling you how many seconds of red is remaining or how many seconds of green is remaining. Just simple feedback like this would reduce accidents and save fuel for the drivers. This technology is easier to implement in a phased manner all over the country rather than fancy-nancy technology involving "the cloud" and such stuff.

Re:Count down clocks on signals? (1)

Bacon Bits (926911) | about 8 months ago | (#46638425)

Yes, but those are proven to decrease ticket revenue. Why do you think red light cameras are so much more popular?

Personally, I'd love to see this system running in my town. Traffic control here involves trying to impede drivers and preventing them from reaching the speed limit by forcing all lights to be red by the time you get to them as much as possible. Your choice on a clear road is either to speed, or drive 10 under. It's so pervasive in this city that nobody outside of town or in the surrounding cities likes to drive in this town.

Re:Count down clocks on signals? (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 8 months ago | (#46638471)

Even in India there are count down clocks on many signals, telling you how many seconds of red is remaining or how many seconds of green is remaining. Just simple feedback like this would reduce accidents and save fuel for the drivers. This technology is easier to implement in a phased manner all over the country rather than fancy-nancy technology involving "the cloud" and such stuff.

We kind of have this in the US, at least indirectly. As you are coming up to a light, you can look at the cross signal for the intersecting street. If it is counting down, then you are about to get a green light. Vice versa, waiting at a red light you can just look at your own cross signal for the countdown. Of course, not every light has crosswalk timers yet.

Driving in India (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 8 months ago | (#46638747)

Even in India there are count down clocks on many signals, telling you how many seconds of red is remaining or how many seconds of green is remaining.

That might be useful if drivers in India paid even the slightest bit of attention to traffic laws. Seriously, driving there you take your life into your hands.

(I joke but only a little)

Re:Count down clocks on signals? (1)

gtall (79522) | about 8 months ago | (#46638789)

We had one on a busy road I need to get to work. The effect was for drivers to speed up to get in under the time limit. It became a, in a word, game. I cannot see it causing fewer accidents if it is causing people to drive faster.

The problem is that so a certain crowd, the goal of life is to avoid red lights. When on the road, it becomes the sum total of their existence. It is all they have to live for and they are going go for it no matter if they die trying.

Will never be hacked (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46638193)

This communication from car to car will never be hacked or spoofed I am sure. In no way will someone be able to craft a message telling cars around it a red light is coming up and so they should all slow down, when there is a green light, thus causing congestion. Certainly no one will try to use it to slow/ stop a car so that it can be 'acquired' by a party other than the driver. No one would ever consider sending stop data to a set of cars in front and go data to cars behind increasing the odds of a collision. No government would mandate such technology, forcing the elimination of generations of otherwise working vehicles.

Re:Will never be hacked (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 8 months ago | (#46638311)

But we cannot abandon projects just because of the fear that there might be attacks against it. Then make it secure. Or try your best, at least. That's all we have.

Hope they put a limiter on this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46638201)

...because there's several disconnected lights in my town that are a few hundred yards away from each other that end up having completely different cycles. An autopilot drag racing to exploit a 3-second "green" window would be fun, but the cops might not see it that way. "Honest, it was the autopilot doing it, not me! I can't shift that good!"

That, or the whiplash would open the maker up to personal injury lawsuits.

BS (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 8 months ago | (#46638207)

If you can't run a red light, how can the red-light camera not be rigged to issue you a ticket. And other thing, red lights in some instances will *only* turn red when you arrive. It's called speed control. Oh, and Austin, TX loves to do this around 2am so that the green starts on an UP HILL! Fine, I'll burn more gas and contribute to global warming...with fucking glee!!!

Did I mention that I really hate the traffic in Austin and the bullshit timing of the lights there?

Re:BS (1)

DickBreath (207180) | about 8 months ago | (#46638791)

> Austin, TX loves to do this around 2am so that the green starts on an UP HILL! Fine,
> I'll burn more gas and contribute to global warming...with fucking glee!!!

Don't think of it as increasing global warming, which some Texans would tell you doesn't even exist. Rather, think of it as helping the business of all those poor, underprivileged oil producers. Texas is a PRO-business state. One of the legislators said so.

Part of this is a late April fools joke. (5, Funny)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 8 months ago | (#46638213)

The system will also be able to tell the driver if a red light is likely to show before reaching an intersection so the driver can slow down.

Ok all you slashdotters under the age of 75. Do any of you actually think anyone would slow down if there's a chance of hitting an upcoming red light?

Based on what I see on the roads on a daily basis some people don't even slow down when they know the red light is imminent. Instead they try to turn it green again through a lame 150hp attempt at changing its colour via doppler effect.

Re:Part of this is a late April fools joke. (4, Interesting)

photonic (584757) | about 8 months ago | (#46638701)

True story: The lecturer that taught us general relativity at university was a fantastic guy that was also pretty good at drawing cartoons. For one of the questions on the final exam, he drew a scene of a guy being stopped by a policeman: "I am stopping you for crossing the red light." "I saw it as green, I swear officer." "Fine, then I will write you a ticket for speeding." The question was to calculate the speed of the car, given the wavelengths of green and red light and the velocity of light.

Re:Part of this is a late April fools joke. (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 8 months ago | (#46638845)

That's the first thing I thought also.

Car: "The light will turn red in 30 seconds. I recommend driving at 30mph so that it will be green again when we get there."
Driver: "Thanks." *hits the gas and speeds up to make it through the light as the yellow changes to red*

This isn't to say that we shouldn't implement more safety features. (The countdown clocks on red/green lights that others have mentioned sound interesting.) However, we shouldn't be surprised when some bad drivers take those features and pervert them to make themselves an even greater danger on the roads. (All the while thinking that they are perfect drivers.)

I've never hit a traffic signal. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46638221)

And I doubt most of us have. Submitter is an idiot.

Re:I've never hit a traffic signal. (1)

youn (1516637) | about 8 months ago | (#46638333)

yes, never hit appliances, violence is bad :p

Accidents waiting to happen (0)

mrhippo3 (2747859) | about 8 months ago | (#46638223)

Cars, people, and "automation" is a great recipe for more problems. As with the red light cameras, there will be bias in reporting the effectiveness of the solution. wrt the cameras, the number of red lights NOT run and tickets issued are listed as benefits. What is missing from the glowing reports is the number of accidents CAUSED . The deletion is allowed because the accidents happen before the light. "Oh, this is a separate issue," does not cut it when I cautiously stop and then get rear-ended by someone trying to make the light.

Rational behavior in software will not necessarily result in rational behavior in driving.

Green wave system (4, Interesting)

Knightman (142928) | about 8 months ago | (#46638233)

In some parts of the world they have dynamic speed signs that tells what speed you need to drive to hit each traffic light when they are green, aka. a green wave. Works like a charm no matter what kind of vehicle you are driving.

Stop signs and lights everywhere. (5, Insightful)

Konowl (223655) | about 8 months ago | (#46638235)

Stop putting stop signs/lights every 50 feet. Build more roundabouts.

Why the hell do I have to stop at a stop sign at 3 in the morning with no one in site and waste gas. Make it a mini-roundabout. Teach people how to drive.

Re:Stop signs and lights everywhere. (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 8 months ago | (#46638277)

Because the oil barons are in charge of the country, that's why.

Re:Stop signs and lights everywhere. (1)

alen (225700) | about 8 months ago | (#46638469)

because the whole point is to slow traffic down in residential areas so you don't hit anyone who is walking
even at stop signs in some places people get wild and almost run pedestrians over

Re:Stop signs and lights everywhere. (1)

ComputerGeek01 (1182793) | about 8 months ago | (#46638643)

Yeah, more roundabouts are a great idea. Maybe if every ass-hat in an SUV didn't think that "Yield" was a synonym for "close-your-eyes-and-accelerate" then roundabouts might be a decent solution. But as it stands increasing everyone else's stress just because you can't bother to break for a half-second is a stupid idea.

Wrong assumption (4, Insightful)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 8 months ago | (#46638241)

This article presumes people give a rat's ass about saving fuel or driving safely. As those of us who drive on a regular basis can attest, more and more people seem to be of the mindset that no matter what, they will accelerate as hard as possible just so they can slam on the brakes as hard as possible at every opportunity.

This morning I had a guy literally on my rear bumper (less than 1 meter) and when it looked like there might be an opportunity for him to jump into the lane next to get around around me, he tried to take it. Unfortunately for him he misjudged the line of cars in that lane and had to swerve back behind me.

He wasn't going to get anywhere faster as there was a red light for us (a left turn), and he would have only gotten one car ahead, but by golly he was going to use every drop of fuel he possibly could just to try and do it.

I, and others, can relate story after story about people like this, and the only thing this proposal will do is add costs to vehicles (and those driving them when the system breaks down), cause more people to try and beat the red light which means more accidents, as well as people slamming on their brakes when they misjudge the timing, also causing more accidents.

Once again, we are trying to find a technical solution to a human problem rather than fixing the human problem.

Re:Wrong assumption (1)

number17 (952777) | about 8 months ago | (#46638339)

This article presumes people give a rat's ass about saving fuel or driving safely.

I remember when gas prices started climbing a couple years ago and hit the $1CAD/L mark. The news had stories of changing driving habits and how to save fuel. Fast forward to $1.30CAD/L and nothing has changed. People love to complain about how high the gas prices are, but telling them that changing their habits will save them money falls on deaf ears.

Re:Wrong assumption (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 8 months ago | (#46638403)

Buddy of mine throws pennies out of his pocket for those people when he rides motorcycle. the suddenly back way off when loose change hist the windshield. I suggested a 3" bolt and nut, but he is nicer than I am.

Re:Wrong assumption (1)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about 8 months ago | (#46638539)

The answer is simple -- dashboard cams one front facing one rear. Cut the video of any egregious driver and send it to the cops.
These guys get enough tickets they will stop. Or be forced to stop by the state.

Bicyclists have started doing this quite a bit.

Re:Wrong assumption (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 8 months ago | (#46638601)

If anyone gets to within 1m of me at any kind of speed I'll slow down, to a crawl if necessary, until they get the hint*. Partly for both our safety, but also because it's fun to be a jerk to jerks.

*this rarely happens.

Pissing off tailgaters for fun and profit (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 8 months ago | (#46638775)

If anyone gets to within 1m of me at any kind of speed I'll slow down, to a crawl if necessary, until they get the hint*.

I do that too. I LOVE watching the steam come out their ears. I don't drive like a grandmother so anyone who is riding my bumper that closely is really driving recklessly.

Re:Wrong assumption (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 8 months ago | (#46638679)

I, and others, can relate story after story about people like this,....

I can also related dozen of stories of people who drove dangerously, passed me out, and flew passed the lights ahead before they went red.

So called "bad" or dangerous drivers are more often than not rewarded for accellerating quickly and swerving dramatically. Those of us foolish enough to stay within the speed limit, and not take risks, are left waiting at the red light.

There are only so many times you can see this happening before one say, you decide to speed up as well.

Why bother? (1)

overshoot (39700) | about 8 months ago | (#46638265)

I've been timing my lights for decades. When you arrive at that "next green light" you'll find that the cars that left the last green light with you are already parked there ahead of you, so you have to stop anyway while they jackrabbit out to beat everyone to the next red light.

Re:Why bother? (1)

PPalmgren (1009823) | about 8 months ago | (#46638389)

In some cases, it can save time. For example, if I hit the main intersection on the way home when the crosswalk signal shows '15' or higher and people aren't going 15 under the speed limit, I can hit every green light until the turn into my neighborhood. If not, I hit every red light. It ends up being a time savings of 5 minutes. Also, there's a left turn I commonly have to take that has a 30 second green arrow because so many people take it. Getting ahead of 4 people during the regular traffic before the light can mean making it or not, and the light commonly has idiots not paying attention so the light can turn yellow after 3-4 cars. Time savings at this light can be 3-10 minutes depending on how many people turn at a reasonable speed before the ground sensor kicks in.

Traffic Calming (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 8 months ago | (#46638303)

Some places, like Corpus Christie Texas, actively timed lights to minimize the flow of traffic. Officials used the term "traffic calming". You can't get to green when the intent is to stop you with red. It's been a while, so maybe that horrific policy is no longer in place.

Re:Traffic Calming (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 8 months ago | (#46638323)

Typo. It should be Corpus Christi. Too much politics on the brain.

Re:Traffic Calming (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 8 months ago | (#46638335)

Agree 100% on this. I would rather traffic be "slow-and-go" rather than "stop-and-launch". Traffic Calming is anything but!

Re:Traffic Calming (1)

alen (225700) | about 8 months ago | (#46638487)

they do this in NYC after 9am. all the lights are computer controlled

stupid people can't wait to cross the street and the few that die cause everyone to have to drive slower. on weekends some major roads in NYC are insane where the lights are timed to make you stop at almost every light

Don't listen to that blue sedan in the right lane (2)

youn (1516637) | about 8 months ago | (#46638321)

it lies a lot and has no clue on traffic :p

Re:Don't listen to that blue sedan in the right la (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46638665)

The "fogey blue" sedan is never in the right lane. It stays to the left, blocking all who wish to pass it legally.

If my car had missiles behind the headlights (like the cars in James Bond movies), the "fogey blue" sedan doing 20-under in the fast lane would be the first one to burn.

This is frickin retarded (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46638325)

This is frickin retarded. If cars can talk to each other and send speed, direction/route, etc., then there should be no need for stoplights at all. Should a pedestrian wish to cross, they can provide them with a device that tells the cars they are handicap and need to cross. Morons.

Anger Management Classes to Follow (2)

lazarus (2879) | about 8 months ago | (#46638369)

Except that the massive pickup behind me who is driving 3 inches from my bumper revving his engine and cussing has no idea why I'm driving as slow as I am. I drive a VW clean diesel and my fuel economy (on average over three years) is already over 50mpg from driving like this as often as possible. Trust me, this initiative will go absolutely nowhere until the cars are driving themselves. You can't change human behaviour like you are hoping to. Even when they can see the red light in front of them people MUST get there as quickly as possible so they can stop and wait.

Re:Anger Management Classes to Follow (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46638727)

MOVE THE FUCK OVER INTO THE RIGHT LANE, DIPSHIT. I DON'T CARE ABOUT YOUR FUEL ECONOMY, I JUST WANT TO MAKE A LEFT TURN AT THE NEXT LIGHT AND NOT MISS THE ARROW BECAUSE YOU'RE A FUCKING HIPPIE!

(no caps down here to balance the post out for the nazi-ass lameness filter. "it's like yelling." well, no shit! i didn't know that! oh, wait, yes i did. i meant to yell because the situation warrants it. fuck you, lameness filter. fuck you in your stupid nanny ass.)

Hint: Drivers are morons. (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about 8 months ago | (#46638379)

We need this "tech" only because the average driver is a complete and utter moron. we need lane assist because looking out the front window is hard, we need Light timing assist, because paying attention and thinking is hard, we need backup cameras because actually looking behind us is hard.

As a motorcyclist of 30 years, I have watched how the average car driver has turned into complete drooling morons every year. And the auto companies are catering to them.

Re:Hint: Drivers are morons. (1)

RocRizzo (1144133) | about 8 months ago | (#46638473)

Absolutely correct! I see it every day. People speed up to red lights, and don't signal when turning, etc. It's like they don't give a damn about anyone, or they have a suicide wish.

Lights always green for me! (2)

ai4px (1244212) | about 8 months ago | (#46638383)

Gosh, I just put an IR emitter on my dash flashing at 14.025hz and the lights are always green for me.... what's so new in TFA?

Fuck this! (1)

barrywalker (1855110) | about 8 months ago | (#46638387)

I don't want to be able to time lights. I want traffic lights to go away. I want cars that can either drive themselves and time their interactions with other cars or assist the driver with maneuvering between cars at an intersection. If I have to slow down, that means that everybody behind me has to slow down. No thank you. I hate spending my days in traffic and waiting at lights (ESPECIALLY when there's nobody coming from the side with a green light!). This is 2014. Let's make our cars smarter because humans sure as hell aren't getting any smarter.

NSA delighted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46638405)

no more need to track license plates with cameras, all the tracking data they ever wanted will be easily available

Making waves in traffic (3, Insightful)

Afty0r (263037) | about 8 months ago | (#46638413)

So correct me if I'm wrong, but if all drivers adopted this, wouldn't it result in traffic in a lane approaching a light from converging together into "clumps" or "waves"?

Cars near the front of any given clump would be slowing down in order to arrive at the light after it has stopped being red and become green. (Close) Behind those cars would cars which would have passed through during the green interval regardless of this system. At the back of a clump would be cars who are speeding up to attempt to "get in" on that same green signal.

Ultimately it would result in cars travelling very close together, with huge spaces between "convoys". It might even be more efficient, so sure - but while there are still humans behind the wheel, this seems dangerous as everyone will always be "tailgating". Once CPUs are behind all the wheels, it will be trivial to implement using the "Internet of Things".

Re:Making waves in traffic (2)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about 8 months ago | (#46638573)

We already have those kinds of convoys, as anyone crossing at unlighted intersections can tell you.

Re:Making waves in traffic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46638603)

Aren't these quite like the waves resulting from the same people waiting at the red light released at the same time ?

Are we slaves to the future? (2)

PseudoCoder (1642383) | about 8 months ago | (#46638419)

"This is the future, and your vehicle will talk to other vehicles whether you like it or not."

*This is the future, and your car will have a backup camera whether you like it or not.

*This is the future, and we've "proven" eating beef is evil and you will have to eat plants, whether you like it or not.

*This is the future, and your privacy is a luxury which you will be forced to give up for the "greater good", whether you like it or not.

*This is the future, and "evil" money doesn't exist so you will live by an advanced, centrally controlled credit system which is "fair and equitable" whether you like it or not.

*This is the future, and the government will have its hands in all aspects of your life whether you like it or not.

Nazi eugenics were the future too, until people realized that its practical implementation boiled down to genocide. Now they're an ugly part of the past that should remind us we can't fix human. But doesn't stop "the enlightened ones" from trying because it makes us feel good. Now I'm not against the future. I have more LED bulbs in my house than most people, and I'm going to get a Tesla as soon as I can afford one. I hate red lights as much as anyone, but how much of our humanity will we give up for the sake of "the future". Let's just be careful with this line of thought where we must sacrifice everything for a Utopian future that will never exist.

WTH! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46638477)

Oh what is this garbage, now we have articles that can only be viewed in Beta? If I click for classic mode it sends me back to the main page, then when I try to view this article it takes me back to this beta view crap? To hell with this, I guess I don't need to read this one.

I don't need this. (0)

RocRizzo (1144133) | about 8 months ago | (#46638495)

I have a brain, and it can tell me (at least on my regular routes) when there is a "stale" red or green light. I simply use this to calculate the speed I have to go in order to make the lights. It's also easy on my brakes and tires, because I don't have to use them so much. Also, many lights are timed for the speed limit in the area. If you travel the speed limit, you will make many lights. If you speed up to the next light, and/or exceed the speed limit, you will get caught at subsequent red lights. We need drivers with more training, and more brains, NOT more technology!

LOL I do that now with my brain (2)

stevegee58 (1179505) | about 8 months ago | (#46638501)

Instead of going the speed limit until the last second and braking at a red light, I take my foot off the gas and coast up to it. Frequently I never have to use the brake at all.
Unfortunately it drives the type-A drivers behind me crazy. :p

Re:LOL I do that now with my brain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46638641)

However, some of them will be unable to cross the traffic light that you just crossed, because you are going slow. So they will be pissed within reason, and you will be the asshole.

Auto-move on green (1)

Stele (9443) | about 8 months ago | (#46638519)

On the flip side, I was sitting at a light the other day (in Florida, which has the longest lights in the world) thinking how great it would be if all cars sitting at a red light were somehow forced to start moving at once when the light turns green. It seems I'm the only person who understands that eventually the red light will turn green. This would allow many more cars to make it through each cycle.

Great for bikes. (1)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about 8 months ago | (#46638611)

Eaves dropping on these systems would be great. You could set your system up so it could tell you whether to change your pace to catch a green and not hit red, or to catch a red and get your wind.

The car behind you ... (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 8 months ago | (#46638741)

... will not appreciate this. You'll be lucky if you don't end up getting rear ended while driving with this technology. Yeah, it saves gas (and hence money) but the person who is 3 inches off your bumper is not concerned about your MPG, they just want to get to wherever they are going. You'll be lucky if you only get the finger from them.

And don't tell me about "no fault insurance". That is a giant load of crap. "No fault" is just a way for insurance companies to make even more money off accidents, by raising rates for both the person who caused the accident and the victim.

Whether I like it or not? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 8 months ago | (#46638743)

My car isn't a black box.
It has fuses and antennas and relays and switches.

If I want to disable a "feature," I can.

A much better method exist already and is even in (2)

kandresen (712861) | about 8 months ago | (#46638761)

Why have the car tell, when it is better to have the lightcross itself tell? The low tech solution is to simply show the countdown for when the light will change on the lightcross itself. You see a large counter sign the size of the traffic light triplet stating it will change in 37 seconds. You know it inmediately if you will reach it in time so no need to stress - you know it if you need to slightly increase the speed too, as well as you would know if you cannot make it.

I have already seen this system used extensively and it seem like a great success! The only reason you might not have heard is that the place it has been used for several years already is Havana, Cuba... I do not think they have the method patented, so go see and learn ;)

Really not interested (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46638803)

I don't want my car to be talking to other cars, or servers, or anyone else. Thanks, but no thanks. Omit all of that electronics and lower the price.

I question how well it work (1)

tatman (1076111) | about 8 months ago | (#46638817)

In the city where I live, the lights are timed in such a way that once you get one red light, without aggressive acceleration and speeding, you will be stopped at the next light. Unless the system and help you time when you leave, it seems like it wouldn't work without either driving well above the speed limit or well below it.

{begin soapbox}
And of course, this is just fodder for police departments. As we all know, red light running and speeding is the gateway crime into bigger badder behaviors. And, the we all know the police are not motivated by revenue or promotions for catching the most. {end soapbox}

Where it helps... (1)

David_Hart (1184661) | about 8 months ago | (#46638819)

I could see this type of thing helping on blind corners with lights and in relatively light traffic. It would also help people who don't pay attention to the lights or where the lights are too high to see.

One issue that no one has brought up yet, though, is that people will rely on using the system to the point where they will go through new or existing traffic lights simply because they not in the system...

Automated Cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46638839)

At this point I just want automated cars.

There are too many crappy drivers on the roads and automation could go a long way to reducing congestion caused by morons that simply can't figure out right of way and merging. Also, it removes the distracted human element, i.e. talking/texting/tired/drunk/etc.

I enjoy driving (at least when I'm away from DC) but I'm at the point where I think we'd be better off with less human control.

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