TECH

RIP Traffic Lights? MIT Shows Us The AI-Controlled Road Of The Future

21/03/2016 12:15 GMT | Updated 21/03/2016 14:36 GMT

Are traffic lights doomed?

According to researchers at MIT, the intersections of the future will be free flowing, almost poetic visions of perfect harmony thanks to the introduction of driverless cars.

MIT Senseable City Lab

The researchers at MIT's Senseable City Lab successfully tested a digital recreation of a busy intersection in Boston.

According to the researchers driverless cars of the future will all be connected both to each other, and to the city's automated traffic systems.

As a car approaches the intersection it will be automatically stacked and given a slot with the speed coinciding with every other approaching vehicle.

There is of course one major caveat to this big plan which is that it's an all or nothing approach.

Every single car that approaches would need to be controlled autonomously as the timing requirements would be far beyond the abilities of a human driver.

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Cars like Google's self-driving car would be connected to one giant traffic network.

With companies like Google and Volvo now investing heavily in self-driving vehicles MIT's prediction for the death of the traffic light might seem a little presumptuous but there are legitimate reasons why it would be the better alternative.

MIT's model shows that not only would traffic be moving far quicker but that it actually reduces the amount of congestion by a significant amount.

To some degree, the technology for a automated junction already exists. 

Cars like Tesla's Model S can already analyse the traffic around them thanks to its new self-driving feature called Autopilot.

Bloomberg via Getty Images

Autopilot has some restrictions though, it only works on the motorway and requires some element of control.

Don't panic though, we're still some way off before autonomous junctions become a reality.