Cars with infrared sensors, cameras and collaborative connectivity will eventually go a long way toward avoiding collisions, but human drivers will still be a wild card. Now a new algorithm can predict whether they'll behave at intersections, and could someday prevent crashes and save lives.
Researchers at MIT developed an algorithm that analyzes several several parameters, including a vehicle's deceleration, its distance from a traffic light and when the light turns red. It can capture a vehicle's motion in 3-D in less than five milliseconds, according to MIT News. Using this data, it is able to determine which cars are driven by potential violators, those likely to run a red light, and which cars were obeying the law.
Led by Jonathan How, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT, some MIT undergraduates and grad students tested the algorithm using traffic data at a busy intersection in Christianburg, Va. The state department of transportation had set up several instruments to monitor cars as part of a safety prediction project. The MIT team analyzed more than 15,000 vehicles in this data set, and found the algorithm was able to spot red-light scofflaws 85 percent of the time. That's about 15 to 20 percent better than existing algorithms, they say. It also generated fewer false positives than other safety-prediction technologies, which could be helpful if it's ever implemented for human use.
"If you're too pessimistic, you start reporting there's a problem when there really isn't, and then very rapidly, the human's going to push a button that turns this thing off," How tells MIT News.
They even tested it using robots, which used it to navigate a busy intersection. Watch a demo below.
The best part: The algorithm works so quickly that it can give drivers plenty of time to react. The team actually found a "sweet spot," lasting one to two seconds in advance of a potential collision, when the algorithm has the highest accuracy and when a driver could still have enough time to react to a fellow human who is about to do something dangerous. This could conceivably be integrated into future smart cars, perhaps combined with some kind of dashboard or windshield warning system, so that your car will tell you not to go — even if the light is green — when it senses another car is about to run the light.
The research will be published in the journal IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems.
who knew? That is pretty cool.That is one smart computer.This will help people.
P.S. I'm smart too.Don't mean to brag.=)
$$$$ they need this in japan sooooooo bad!!! the first VERY first thing you will notice when you star driving over here is that people run red lights ALL the time! INSANE how much they run red lights in Japan. will little to no traffic police nothing is EVER done about it!
I am quite random so here I go....
inaka-rob,I agree!That place is overpopulated.It's over 9,000!!!!!
People run red lights because of reasons. Why not concentrate on that. Things like poorly timed lights. People knowing that they have already included red back to back red. Poor street design, poor city planning.
When it comes down to it the reason for this is usually revenue for the city. Austin removed a red light camera because it wasn't making enough money. But it is about safety not about money.
"inaka-rob,I agree!That place is overpopulated.It's over 9,000!!!!!"
yeah. I agree this system COULD NEVER be adapted for a larger number of cars.
or be used in small cities like the one I live in!
you are 100% correct.
cities with 9,000 or less people dont run red lights, but cites with 9,001 or more do!
how could I not think of that before!
maybe they will make one that makes the offending car stop
by itself before an accident kind of an enhanced adaptve cruise control