Few things are more frustrating than waiting for a red light when there are no other vehicles in or around the intersection. But long waits at low-traffic intersections could become a thing of the past by using “virtual” traffic lights on each vehicle’s windshield.
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have developed a system where the traffic signal is super-imposed onto the windshield, directly in front of the driver. Here’s how it would work: If you approach an intersection where there are no other vehicles, you would receive a “green” signal to continue through the intersection. Only if there are other vehicles either within or approaching the intersection would you receive a yellow or red signal.
In effect, traffic signals become information that you need only if there are other vehicles that you might come into conflict with at a given intersection! And not only would this system reduce your driving time, it would also reduce vehicle exhaust emissions and perhaps reduce collisions. Stay tuned for the results of research looking into the exact effects of these “virtual” signal lights.