If you’ve ever managed to experience a traffic jam, you know there’s just no getting out of it for hours. But if you are aware of the recent AI developments, then you may have heard of AI-controlled traffic lights. So now, the million-dollar question is, can AI make everyone’s morning commute smooth and traffic-free? Many researchers, including researchers in Ashton University and the institute branch for industrial automation INA in Lemgo, are using Artificial Intelligence to power traffic lights.
This smart traffic light system will keep the flow of cars going smoothly and eliminate jammed traffic by monitoring live camera footage and working the traffic lights accordingly. In simpler words, if the AI finds that there are no cars coming from one direction, it will allow traffic from other roads to move.
As a result, there will be no (or at least a lot less) congestion or jams. This AI technology utilizes “deep reinforcement” learning. This means that the traffic system will understand when the traffic is clogging the street (traffic jams) and react accordingly to support the vehicles that are able to move.
The researchers developed a photo-realistic traffic simulator (Traffic 3D) to train the AI-powered traffic lights. This simulator taught the AI program how to react to different traffic and weather situations and produced the best results.
In fact, the several rounds of testing displayed how these AI traffic lights outperformed all the tested methods. But that wasn’t enough. So, the researchers tested this AI program on real junction footage.
And lo and behold! The AI system worked even better and adapted well to real traffic intersection situations. The success of AI traffic lights defines how useful they can be across multiple real-world settings.
So how exactly do they differ from traditional traffic lights?
The traffic light automation system which we have currently is simple and relies only on magnetic induction loops or a wire that detects when a car passes over it. Then the program responds according to the stimulus.
However, these AI-powered traffic lights can monitor and see the traffic and its volume before the cars even reach the lights. This makes this AI system much more responsive, with the ability to react quickly and intelligently.