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Your Car Will Tell You How To Hit the Next Green Light 364

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the drive-better dept.
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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Your Car Will Tell You How To Hit the Next Green Light

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  • by kid_wonder (21480) <public AT kscottklein DOT com> on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @08:54AM (#46638127) Homepage

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

    • by bondsbw (888959)

      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.

      • by Viol8 (599362)

        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.

      • 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]

        • by bondsbw (888959)

          I totally hate red light cameras. I used to work at a public safety/traffic research center and knew people who did studies on RLCs that basically said they do nothing good and tend to cause quite a bit of economic damage.

          That said... the police departments are almost never the direct beneficiaries of RLCs. And once the vendor gets their cut, and after court costs in cases that didn't hold up, etc., the city usually winds up in the red. Which in turn leads to taking down RLCs after the contract expires.

          F

          • by Sporkinum (655143)

            That's the generic term for speed cameras. Our city put in red light cameras to get their feet in the door with that type of system. Where they have made bank is putting them on the interstate highway that goes through town.
            Red light citations: 2,892 (4.9 percent)

            Speed citations: 55,308 (95.1 percent)

            Total citations: 58,200

            THE MONEY

            City gross: $2,601,125
            Due to Gatso: $1,017,900
            Revenue: $1,583,225

    • 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.

      • by Mr0bvious (968303)

        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).

      • Does the China system only countdown to the next green? Or does it also countdown to the next red.

        The former is a good thing, and is a parallel to the technology in TFA. The latter is a bad thing that would encourage speeding to beat the red. So I hope it isn't that.

        As to the fancy car-to-car technology - autonomous cars are coming. Stepping stone technologies such as these will inevitably come along before full autonomy. That's the way to judge them - skate to where the puck is going rather than where it

    • by geekmux (1040042)

      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.

      • by Drethon (1445051)
        I wish they were timed properly in my area. I tend to drive with a cruise controller for a bit more gas efficiency (or my inability to control my right foot properly...), on most of the streets in my area many lights are synchronized but about every five miles there is one sstreet that is not on the usual grid pattern and always seems to be out of synch.
    • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo AT world3 DOT net> on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @09:57AM (#46638619) Homepage

      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.

      • > 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".
        • Yeah, my first thought when I read the summary was, "This only works if the projected speed is the same or lower"...wouldn't knowing how much to accelerate to make the light mean that other drivers would less accurately predict the speed at which you're likely to be traveling through the intersection?

          But I'm generally paranoid when driving, especially at stoplights. Ever since I was driving down a straight 4-lane-wide-in-one-direction road (in the second-left lane!) and another driver turned on and randomly

    • by mcrbids (148650) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @10:11AM (#46638799) Journal

      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.

      • Hypermiling (Score:5, Funny)

        by sjbe (173966) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @10:20AM (#46638889)

        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".

        People are well aware that hypermiling improves fuel economy. What they care a LOT more about is actually getting where they are going in a timely manner. Driving behind someone who is hypermiling is enough to drive even Mother Teresa to want to bust a cap in the asshat in front of them. If you really want to improve fuel economy, drive a motorcycle. You'll get FAR better gas mileage than any car you can buy and you won't have to drive slower than my grandmother while doing it.

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

        At the cost of driving very slowly, getting in the way of others and annoying everyone around you who have zero interest in driving like that because they have things they care a lot more about than maximizing fuel economy. Even at 50mpg your car still is incredibly wasteful. It's like trying to put out a forest fire by urinating on it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by BasilBrush (643681)

          Why is your desire to put your foot down, and your misapprehension that you'll save much journey time by doing so a hyper-miler's problem?

        • People are well aware that hypermiling improves fuel economy. What they care a LOT more about is actually getting where they are going in a timely manner. Driving behind someone who is hypermiling is enough to drive even Mother Teresa to want to bust a cap in the asshat in front of them.

          Look, the guy you were replying to was "hypermiling" and managed to get 30 miles per gallon! My battleship sized Mercedes did better than that without me even trying. My current car does about 70mpg UK / close to 60mpg US by driving carefully but without being in anyone's way.

        • by arth1 (260657)

          People are well aware that hypermiling improves fuel economy. What they care a LOT more about is actually getting where they are going in a timely manner. Driving behind someone who is hypermiling is enough to drive even Mother Teresa to want to bust a cap in the asshat in front of them. If you really want to improve fuel economy, drive a motorcycle. You'll get FAR better gas mileage than any car you can buy and you won't have to drive slower than my grandmother while doing it.

          Hypermiling doesn't imply driving slowly. It does, for example, include accellerating harder than most drivers do, and then switching to neutral. For most modern cars, creeping from 0-50 burns more gas than going from 0-50 quicker, and then coasting with the drive train disengaged.
          Hypermiling also means avoiding speed reduction in curves and turns, making wider turns and cutting corners closer to maximize the speed you can take the curve at, so you won't have to burn more fuel to get up to speed later.

          The

    • I'm not sure why this is modded insightful.

      First off, they put the timers on the crosswalks for the *pedestrians* who use the crosswalks. It just so happens to greatly benefit drivers who can make a better judgement on how fast to go.

      Second, big surprise, not all intersections have those countdown timers. I find that most don't.

      Third, if there is no countdown, and you are unfamiliar with the intersection, or the internal timer has schedules/triggers you cant depend on, no amount of paying attent
  • The problem (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    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 (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Cryacin (657549) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @09:01AM (#46638177)
      That's when you start driving 10 mph
    • Re:The problem (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @09:15AM (#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.
      • 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.

        No. The system is advising you so that you can go through the next green without having stopping first. There is nothing to be gained by those behind you to have you arrive at the red signal and stop, before starting again. That would actually mean you went through the green light later (having to start moving from a stop), and so would be more likely to delay the people behind you and make them more likely to hit a red.

    • by PFactor (135319)
      It would probably work best if all cars had that information, so other drivers didn't incorrectly assume you're just an asshat driver.
    • Why is the opinion of the person behind me my problem? If he's a tailgater, he'll probably tailgate at any speed. And if we are travelling at a slower speed, that's then safer for me.

    • by Immerial (1093103) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @11:04AM (#46639317) Homepage
      Or as it has happened IRL... they mash the gas peddle, swerve around you to get in front, flip you the bird, scream at you with the window rolled down, only to have to stop four seconds later, as you slowly drive up right behind them at the light :P
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @09:01AM (#46638171) Journal
    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.
    • 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

    • by Nidi62 (1525137)

      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.

    • 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)

    • by gtall (79522)

      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.

  • by DigiShaman (671371)

    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?

    • > 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.
  • by thegarbz (1787294) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @09:06AM (#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.

    • by photonic (584757) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @10:04AM (#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.
    • 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 per

    • by HnT (306652)

      Real world examples: in certain towns in Austria the red-green phases are synced up to the speed limits in such a way that you will continue having "green" when you stay within the limit.

      In the Netherlands, speed limits on the freeways are set to prevent traffic jams from building up and people are quite likely to follow the limits because they know they won't get stuck in jams that way.

  • Green wave system (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Knightman (142928) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @09:09AM (#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.

  • by Konowl (223655) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @09:10AM (#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.

    • by Joce640k (829181)

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

    • by alen (225700)

      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

    • 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.
    • by steelfood (895457)

      Teach people how to drive.

      We're having trouble teaching people even the most basic things like arithmetic. What makes you think there's any hope for a complex skill like driving?

  • Wrong assumption (Score:5, Insightful)

    by smooth wombat (796938) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @09:10AM (#46638241) Homepage Journal

    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.

    • by number17 (952777)

      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.

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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

  • 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.
    • 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

  • 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.

    • Typo. It should be Corpus Christi. Too much politics on the brain.
    • Agree 100% on this. I would rather traffic be "slow-and-go" rather than "stop-and-launch". Traffic Calming is anything but!

    • by alen (225700)

      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

  • by youn (1516637) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @09:18AM (#46638321) Homepage

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

  • by lazarus (2879) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @09:24AM (#46638369) Journal

    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.

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @09:24AM (#46638379) Homepage

    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.

  • by ai4px (1244212) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @09:25AM (#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?
  • by Afty0r (263037) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @09:28AM (#46638413) Homepage

    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".

  • by PseudoCoder (1642383) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @09:29AM (#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.

  • by stevegee58 (1179505) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @09:41AM (#46638501) Journal
    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
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • ... 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,
  • 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.

  • by kandresen (712861) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @10:08AM (#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 ;)

  • 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

  • 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...

  • You just have to travel at 0.3 c. Thanks to the Doppler effect, the red light appears green. You can safely ignore the blue ones.

  • It's called "Hypermiling [wikihow.com]"

    And it's difficult to do when everyone around you is hell bent on getting to that next red light before it turns green.

  • by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @03:12PM (#46641915)

    What a waste of technology. Back in the 70s, in many locales, signs were posted that told you for what speed the lights were timed for. If you drove those speeds, you made the lights, plain and simple. To use inter-vehicle communication just so one can make the lights is lame. There are a number of valid reasons for this technology that should be what is promoted, but if the main focus is on making the lights, well, what a waste. They were doing it decades ago before there was even the IBM PC.

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