Artificial intelligence at the service of traffic lights

What if artificial intelligence allowed first responders to get to the scene of an accident faster? This is the challenge that a municipality in Germany is taking on, with a device to automatically regulate traffic.

The City of Bad Hersfeld wants artificial intelligence to control its traffic light network in the event of an emergency. The idea is to allow the services concerned to circulate as quickly as possible and to reach the scene of an accident in less than 10 minutes.

Initially, the objective is that an artificial intelligence can both calculate and recommend the fastest route, but also intervene directly on traffic by playing with traffic lights in order to give priority to rescue. To do this, a multitude of traffic data must be analyzed in real time in order to help responders reach their goal as quickly as possible, while playing on the management of traffic lights present on their route. The risk, however, is to create traffic jams, which the algorithms will not fail to avoid, if possible.

A trial period

To achieve this, a central traffic light control system had to be installed. The City is launching a trial period with the firefighters to measure the effectiveness of this project before possibly extending it to other services. It should be noted that this initiative is supported by the government of the Land of Hesse, which hopes that this project will spread and convince other municipalities to do the same.

This is a new step for a city relatively involved in new technologies. The inhabitants of Bad Hersfeld thus already have the possibility of controlling the lighting of certain streets via a mobile app.

Note that in France, the idea of ​​controlling traffic via artificial intelligence has already been mentioned by the mathematician and former deputy Cédric Villani. According to him, it would be a question of improving the fluidity of automobile traffic in the capital using artificial intelligence managing traffic lights in real time. An ambitious project, not yet on the agenda.

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