30 May 2021 News

MotorTrend: How Artificial Intelligence Is Cutting Wait Time at Red Lights

notraffic ai traffic solution

Who hasn’t been stuck seething at an interminable red light with zero cross traffic? When this happened one time too many to Uriel Katz, he co-founded Israel-based, Palo Alto, California-headquartered tech startup NoTraffic in 2017. The company claims its cloud- and artificial-intelligence-based traffic control system can halve rush-hour times in dense urban areas, reduce annual CO2 emissions by a half-billion tons in places like Phoenix/Maricopa County, and slash transportation budgets by 70 percent. That sounded mighty free-lunchy, so I got NoTraffic’s VP of strategic partnerships, Tom Cooper, on the phone.

I assumed such features had long since evolved from the tape-drive traffic control system Michael Cain’s team sabotaged in Rome to pull off The Italian Job in 1969. Turns out that while most such systems’ electronics have evolved, their central intelligence and situational adaptability have not.

Intersections that employ traffic-sensing pavement loops, video cameras, or devices that enable emergency vehicle prioritization still typically rely on hourly traffic-flow predictions for timing. When legacy system suppliers like Siemens offer similar technology with centralized control, it typically requires costly installation of fiber-optic or other wired-network connections, as the latency inherent in cellular communications can’t meet stringent standards set by Advance Transportation Controller (ATC), National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), CalTrans, and others for safety and conflict resolution.