'Thinking' traffic lights to be installed in Milton Keynes

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Instead of running in a pre-set sequence, the smart lights can react to the levels of traffic on the road. They use AI to work out where there is heavy traffic and adjusting their pattern accordingly, easing the flow of traffic to prevent bottlenecks and prioritising ambulances, buses and cyclists.

The new technology was developed by a company called Vivacity Labs, which will start installing 2,500 AI-powered cameras in traffic lights in a 50 square mile zone across the city this September.

According to the Telegraph, the technology could also make roads safer for pedestrians and drivers by alerting vehicles when there are hazards nearby. And in the future they will communicate with driverless cars.

The UK Government's innovation agency, Innovate UK, has invested £1.7m in the project as part of its drive to make cities more efficient using technology.

"It can improve traffic today as it can be linked with existing management systems to keep vulnerable road users, such as cyclists, safe by giving priority at lights, or alter signs to direct traffic away from congestion," explained the chief technology officer at Vivacity Labs, Yang Lu.

"The AI camera accurately identifies and reports road usage, removing the need for cumbersome manual interpretation and significantly reducing the potential for human error," Lu said.

The AI-powered traffic management system is expected to start operating next year.

What do you think? Will AI make rush hour queues a thing of the past?

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