In the cities of the future, will traffic lights be intelligent too?


The mobility of the future? After cars, it is time also for intelligent traffic lights. Austrian researchers from the Technical University of Graz have developed a new camera system that allows intelligent traffic lights to automatically predict pedestrian crossing intentions.

No more waiting at traffic lights! No more cars waiting for the traffic light to turn green or restless pedestrians: this innovative technology, which will be installed for testing at the end of 2020, recognizes the intention of pedestrians to cross the road and automatically changes to green. The field of vision of the camera (8x5 meters) installed in the intelligent traffic lights allows you to see the people waiting on both sides and to recognize the intentions of pedestrians in seconds, or even to extend the green phase in the case of large groups of persons.

Likewise, the traffic light can detect when there is no one crossing and thus significantly reduce waiting for cars. "It requires one second to estimate the intention of pedestrian - said Professor Horst Possegger at the head of the 3-year long research project - after two seconds the estimation becomes reliable". 

We live in an era in which the limitation is often mental rather than technological. We should allow ourselves to think of different and innovative solutions: this would make the difference. We will need more and more people with adequate soft skills to find solutions and put together the various Lego pieces.