Improving traffic in cities is one of the mobility tasks of the future. Intelligent traffic lights come to the rescue and Vienna, Austria will be the first city to install them on its streets by the end of 2020. A new camera system developed by TU Graz allows these intelligent traffic lights to automatically predict pedestrian crossing intentions.
The Vienna authorities are conscious of ending waiting for cars and pedestrians in front of a red light when there is no reason to do so, when no one is crossing or when someone wants to cross and there is no car to stop them. In their efforts to prevent accidents due to collisions and to improve the flow of traffic within the city, they have commissioned a new traffic light system developed by researchers at the Technical University of the Austrian city of Graz.
This innovative system recognizes the intention of pedestrians to cross the road and automatically changes to green. "The green phase can be extended in the case of large groups of persons, who require more time to cross the road." explains Horst Possegger of the Institute of Computer Graphics and Vision at TU Graz. The field of vision of the camera (8x5 meters) installed in the intelligent traffic lights allows you to see the people waiting and through an algorithm, developed using global movement models and data already recorded by the traffic lights, recognize the intentions of pedestrians in seconds. "It requires one second to estimate the intention – after two seconds the estimation becomes reliable," continues Possegger.
According to Possegger himself to the publication El País, "this prediction is initially uncertain, so the system only activates the crossing request when it is totally safe". It can do this 4 seconds earlier than the classic button for the traffic lights.
Do you think intelligent traffic lights will reach every city in the future? Would you trust them?