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Smart traffic light system that uses AI to predict increases in air pollution and keep drivers waiting on red for up to 20 seconds longer than normal to be trialled in Britain THIS YEAR

Source: Mail Online as of 05-05-2020

  • Traffic lights connected to an AI-powered system will begin trials this year 
  • Wolverhampton ring road will be the first place to use the system
  • Historical records and live readings will help predict spikes of pollution  
  • Traffic heading into these areas will be held at red lights for longer to limit influx of vehicles to these places  

Britain’s traffic lights are set to undergo a smart revolution to help combat rising levels of air pollution.  Wolverhampton is the first place in the country to approve a trial of an AI-powered system that manipulates red and green lights to restrict traffic heading into air pollution hotspots. The system, built from scratch by Surrey-based Now Wireless, gathers data on pollutant concentrations from historical records and sensors on the ground.  An algorithm then combines this with traffic patterns to predict locations likely to see a spike in air pollution within the next hour. Drivers heading towards these locations will then be faced with red lights lasting up to 20 seconds longer than usual, to slow traffic influx to the affected area.  

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Wolverhampton is the first in the country to approve a trial of an AI-powered system that will manipulate red and green lights to restrict function to air pollution hotspots. Pictured, an aerial file photo of the Wolverhampton ring road 

Wolverhampton is the first in the country to approve a trial of an AI-powered system that will manipulate red and green lights to restrict function to air pollution hotspots. Pictured, an aerial file photo of the Wolverhampton ring road 

The system, built from scratch by Surrey-based Now Wireless, gathers data on pollutant concentrations from historical records and sensors on the ground. Bluetooth sensors track information on traffic and an AI unit then processes this information and control the traffic lights to lower air pollution levels 

The system, built from scratch by Surrey-based Now Wireless, gathers data on pollutant concentrations from historical records and sensors on the ground. Bluetooth sensors track information on traffic and an AI unit then processes this information and control the traffic lights to lower air pollution levels 

Data from inside cars feeds into the system, with Bluetooth signals sent via phones and cars being picked up by sensors at traffic lights. This helps the computer system curate a forecast of specific locales due for an influx of vehicles. People driving out of these areas will be shown prolonged green lights to help speed up the flow of traffic from areas that are heavily polluted. Brian Jackson, CEO of Now Wireless, told MailOnline: ‘We have worked on this for 5 years and it is a UK based R&D.  ‘Pollution is a dangerous problem for communities and being able to predict pollution an hour ahead allows time for traffic mangers to change the traffic flows to mitigate, if not remove it, and not create build ups elsewhere, but even it out.’

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