Google to use AI to time traffic lights more efficiently

By Laura Berrill
Alphabet Inc's Google says it plans to use artificial intelligence to optimise traffic lights

The move is said to be able to cut fuel use and traffic delays by 10% to 20% at four locations in Israel, by using artificial intelligence to optimise the signal lights. The company added it also had plans to test the software in Rio de Janeiro next, Google said on Wednesday.

It is still an early-phase research project, but is among new software initiatives inside Google to help combat climate change. This is after some employees, as well as advocacy groups, have called on the company, which is the world's third-most valuable, to more urgently use its influence to combat the crisis.

Prioritising sustainability features

While Google has not addressed critics' calls to stop selling technology to oil companies, or funding lawmakers who allegedly deny global warming, it has, however, been seen to prioritise its sustainability features.

Google plans in the coming weeks to allow its Nest thermostat users to buy renewable energy credits for $10 a month to offset emissions from heating and cooling. Further credits will come from projects in Texas including Bethel Wind Farm and Roseland Solar. A majority of the funds will go toward credit purchases and utility-bill payment costs, Google said. However the company did not elaborate on the remainder.

Across the United States, Nest users can soon be able to automatically shift heating and cooling to times when energy is cleaner, at no extra charge.

Rolling out in Rio

Based on early results in Israel's Haifa and Beer-Sheva, Rio de Janeiro's municipal traffic authority expressed high hopes for the AI system to better time traffic signal changes. It told Reuters the system should be introduced within months and added locations  would be announced soon.

Aleksandar Stevanovic, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at University of Pittsburgh, said simulations show AI could smooth traffic flow. But he questioned whether a tech company without traffic engineering expertise ultimately could bring such software to reality.

"Every year there is someone new claiming we can do wonders," he said.



Featured Articles

Lenovo: Employees prefer mix of AI and human IT support

New Lenovo survey shows 91% of employees believe they would be more productive when their IT issues at work are resolved quickly and effectively

Kyndryl’s Data and AI Console to simplify data management

Data-driven solution expands and increases observability and insights, while enhanced data governance helps identify irregularities and threats

Deep neural networks still struggling to match human vision

New study by researchers in Canada finds artificial intelligence still can't match the powers of human vision despite deep learning's ability with big data

Metaverse destined to become an impossible, dangerous place


Clever coders lead the way as Microsoft launches 365 Copilot

AI Applications

Baidu’s ERNIE doesn’t want confrontation with United States

AI Applications