The frustration of having to stop at a red light pales in comparison to its impact on greenhouse emissions. Google’s Project Green Light is using AI to make your drive smoother and reduce urban vehicle emissions.
Electric vehicles are becoming more commonplace but the majority of the world’s cars still burn fuel and emit pollution.
Vehicle emissions at intersections can be 29 times higher than on open roads and about half of that is due to traffic stopping and starting at red lights. If city traffic engineers had better data they could adjust the traffic light patterns, but the data is difficult to get.
Fortunately, Google has plenty of driving data available via its Google Maps platform. Green Light takes driving pattern data and builds an AI model of each intersection and the associated traffic patterns and light schedules.
From that model, it develops AI-based traffic light optimizations that city traffic engineers can then act on.
The technology is already being trialed in 70 intersections in Abu Dhabi, Bali, Bangalore, Budapest, Haifa, Hamburg, Hyderabad, Jakarta, Kolkata, Manchester, Rio de Janeiro and Seattle.
Google says that “early numbers indicate a potential for up to 30% reduction in stops and up to 10% reduction in emissions at intersections.”
The goal of the project is to reduce vehicle emissions but there are so many other potential benefits too.
Imagine the improvement in your mental health or the increase in your productivity if you didn’t get stuck in traffic anymore.
Back in 2021, Google announced it would start using AI to calculate the most fuel-efficient routes on Google Maps, rather than just the shortest or fastest routes.
This feature will start rolling out later this year in Indonesia and India, two of the world’s most traffic-congested countries with associated air quality issues.
These efforts were announced as part of Google’s growing list of tech solutions for tackling the biggest environmental problems facing the earth. The Sustainable with Google collection features solutions for reducing contrails from flights to using AI to fight floods and fires.
Are you tired of getting stopped at red lights? Then do your bit for the planet and get your local city traffic officials to sign up to Google’s waiting list.