Fourth Traffic Light For Self-Driving Cars | Inquirer Technology

In The Future, We Will Have A Fourth Traffic Light For Electric Vehicles

06:24 PM February 21, 2023

As electric cars dominate streets worldwide, we will need to change our roads in the future. Specifically, we might add a fourth color to traffic signals: white!

North Carolina State researchers are developing a way to help human drivers know when driverless vehicles are in a traffic intersection.

The white light will signal human drivers to follow autonomous cars. As a result, the researchers believe it could improve traffic flows.


How does the fourth traffic light work?


The contributing author for the study, Ali Hajbabaie, explained how their proposed fourth traffic signal works. 

“This concept we’re proposing for traffic intersections, which we call a “white phase’, taps into the computing power of autonomous vehicles (AVs) themselves,” told Hajbabaie.

He and his fellow researchers designed the white light to guide human drivers whenever a self-driving car or AV is nearby. 

You would still stop at a red light. The amber or yellow light will tell drivers to get ready, and the green would tell them to go.

Then, “white lights will tell human drivers to simply follow the car in front of them,” the North Carolina State expert said. 

Autonomous vehicles or AVs would use artificial intelligence to communicate with each other and map the quickest routes for drivers.


Afterward, the traffic lights would show red and repeat the cycle. We would let the machines direct how we drive and go along with the flow. 

Aji Hajbabaie said his unique project could reduce delays on the road. Simulated models indicated that AVs made traffic move smoother.

“If only 10% of the vehicles at a white phase intersection are autonomous, you still see fewer delays, Hajbabaie noted.

“When 10% of vehicles are autonomous, you see delays reduced by 3%. When 30% of vehicles are autonomous, delays are reduced by 10.7%.”

The fourth traffic light or white phase reduced total delay by 40.2% to 98.9%. Hajbabaie calls his system of letting AVs control traffic the “mobile control paradigm.”

Implementing this concept in real life would take time and money, but the North Carolina State researchers believe people could implement them easily.


We might see the fourth traffic light in our streets once Aji Hajbabaie and his team develop the white phase system.

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It would allow autonomous vehicles to direct human drivers on the road. As a result, the white light may reduce traffic congestion and accidents.

Technology is changing our streets, so it will inevitably transform more aspects of our lives. Prepare by following the latest digital trends from Inquirer Tech.

TOPICS: Autonomous vehicles, Trending
TAGS: Autonomous vehicles, Trending

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