red lights and failure to stop leads to untold numbers of traffic
accidents around the world. Sitting at a red light with cars idling
also burns fuel that really isn’t needed.IBM has filed
application that outlines a system that would turn the
motors of a car off at a traffic light to conserve fuel. Few will
take issue with green technology that conserves fuel, saves them
money, and reduces pollution. However, there is a dark side to the
patent application that privacy advocates will not like.The
system IBM is proposing has to have access to the engine of the
vehicles at the light to stop the engine. With access to the engine,
the traffic lights can not only stop the engine of a driver's car,
but it can also determine the duration that the engine is stopped and
then when the light is over it can start the motors of the cars up in
sequential order so the first cars at the light get to go first. The
system would use GPS data to know where vehicles were located at the
light.The patent application reads:
fuel consumption is a major component of global energy consumption.
With increasing vehicle usage, there may be more traffic and longer
wait times at traffic signals (e.g., at a traffic intersection or a
railway crossing). Fuel may be wasted when drivers keep their
vehicles running while waiting for the traffic signal to turn "green"
or waiting for a train to pass at a railway crossing. Most drivers
may not switch off their engines in these situations. Drivers who do
switch off their engines may do so inefficiently. For example, a
driver may switch off the engine, only to start it up a short time
later. In such cases, more fuel may be consumed in restarting the
engine. Some traffic signals may have clocks that indicate remaining
durations before the signals change. However, drivers in vehicles
waiting at the back of the queue may not be able to view the clock.
are other aspects of this technology that the patent application
doesn't spell out. For instance, this system would make it impossible
for a driver to run a red light. There could also be safety issues to
a system such as this. For instance, what if a driver had a medical
emergency and the light turned off the car making it impossible to
reach a hospital. The system would require software and hardware be
installed on vehicles at an unknown cost.
quote: Luckily, start-stop systems for engines are being implemented (albeit slowly), which could eliminate at least the "eco-friendly" aspect of this patent application.
quote: Keep your fucking patents out of the drivers seat of MY car, IBM. I refuse to accept that suddenly, after decades and decades, red light traffic accident's call for extreme measures like this.