Elon Musk wants to use AI to save time at traffic lights


Elon Musk wants traffic management in cities to be powered by AI. While Tesla could explore the opportunity, some companies are already tackling it.

Elon Musk teased the idea of ​​modernizing circulation management systems using AI. With self-driving taxis, self-driving electric vehicles and smart public transport, mobility is undoubtedly getting smarter, but what about cities and their traffic? The traffic signals managing cities around the world have changed very little since their introduction in the 1920s.

LiDAR equipment mounted on traffic lights is already being used to measure traffic, map it and make streets safer. These systems also automatically manage traffic light changes. LiDAR was developed by NASA in the 1970s for use in space. It works on the same principle as radar, but instead of using radio waves, it uses lasers to create a 3D map.


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Tesla could be the next big innovator in traffic management modernization. Elon Musk recently tweeted this “Maybe Tesla should create an AI vision device that plugs into old traffic lights.“In a separate space Tweeter the next day, Musk agreed that traffic management is tricky, and that “Defeating traffic is the ultimate boss battle.“Companies like Velodyne are already working to make cities and traffic smarter, and Tesla might not want to be left behind.

Smart cities, smart roads, smart traffic

Velodyne Lidar

Autonomous driving technology generates a very complex understanding of its environment. Powered by AI, the software uses a wide range of input data obtained from traffic sites, weather, maps, other cars, surface conditions, LiDAR mapping and cameras. Similar systems could be deployed on traffic lights and city streets to better coordinate and manage traffic. It also has useful apps for managing special events, emergencies, and long-term traffic vision information.

The Velodyne company creates hardware-software solutions for autonomous vehicles, mapping, robotics and smart cities. Working with the University of Nevada since 2020, she’s been using LiDAR technology to transform traffic in Reno. Velodyne LiDAR sensors count and track pedestrians, cyclists, traffic, improve analytics, automate traffic lights and increase safety. To a large extent, LiDAR technology preserves the privacy of people on the street, unlike cameras.

Maps generated by LiDAR can also be overlaid to create sky views, eye-level views, and other perspectives. LiDAR data, unlike camera data, can record distances and speed. The latest study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals that the number of deaths resulting from traffic accidents in 2020 is the highest since 2007. circulation Smarter isn’t just about reducing the time a driver waits behind a red light, or driving highways during rush hour, it’s also about safety and preventing unnecessary accidents through technology already available.

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Source: Elon Musk/Twitter 1, 2, Velodyne Lidar

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