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back to article Boffin's bot spots red light jumpers before they kill

A team at MIT has developed a computer algorithm that claims to predict which cars will run a red light at traffic intersections. The system, developed at the MIT Aerospace Controls Laboratory, uses cameras to track a car’s progress towards a red light, matching its speed, deceleration, and road position, and then predicts with …

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Anonymous Coward

Alternatively....

They could just install roundabouts!

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roundabouts suck

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Anonymous Coward

Or...

Have some of those directional tyre shredders pop out of the road when the light is red.

If that doesn't work, pop-up bollards strong enough to stop a 44000kg vehicle going at 70mph should solve the problem once and for all.

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Stop

Yes, because lord knows those fucking things don't cause traffic problems.

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Silver badge

Instead ...

How about mandating actual driver training?

One of the best courses I ever attended was Bondurant's "Defensive Street Driving" ... It has probably saved me from serious injury on a dozen or more occasions over the last thirty years, on two or more wheels.

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Headmaster

Sadly, no

The trouble is that a significant part of the problem is driver attitude, and i've found that the sort of person who drives like this is generally impervious to training or any sort of appeal to common sense.

Drivers are either plain and simple arseholes or have a vastly inflated opinion of their own ability behind the wheel.

I have yet to meet a person who does not feel that they are the Worlds Greatest Driver.

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Go

Worlds Greatest Driver

But… I AM the world’s greatest driver. Other drives honk their horns at me in celebration of my awesomeness, a fanfare to the Lord of the Roads!

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@Goat Jam

"I have yet to meet a person who does not feel that they are the Worlds Greatest Driver." Well, we haven't met, but you now know of one. I know that I am merely competent and ready for some refresher courses (more than 25 years since I passed my test). At the same time, I know that my "merely competent" is better than a lot of others (who: use moving vehicle as extension of dining-room/bathroom/lounge; don't use mirrors before manoeuvres; do not travel at an appropriate speed for the conditions etc).

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Anonymous Coward

WOW, a real life penis on legs!

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Big Brother

Title

Thoughtcrime or pre-crime?

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Meh

I predict

that it will simply be used to automate traffic photos and raise money, rather than to help other drivers.

(The 15% not jumping the lights will simply either mistakenly pay the fine or win on appeal.)

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Stop

Duh

There already exists a system that can penalise drivers who break the law by ignoring traffic signals. It's called a 'red light camera' it's far simpler and cheaper than this system and is also considerably more reliable. They usually use straightforward pressure sensors in the road just like the ones on the approach that actually control the light sequence.

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Headmaster

Pre-crime. The software is trying to identify people who *actually* are going to run the light, and some people run red lights accidentally. Thoughtcrime would be catching them if they thought about running it, whether or not they actually did.

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Unhappy

Traffic lights are just another example of a rule that an increasing number of drivers consider "optional". Just like indicating, speed limits, due care and all sorts of other "me me me" behaviour. It's part of the wider erosion of consideration for our fellow human beings, and cars bring out the worst of that mentality.

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Big Brother

no enforcement = optionality

due to a lack of traffic patrols, every driver in the UK knows that you are unlikely to get pulled over if you break the RTA or highway code.

therefore, compliance is down to each driver's personal ethics.

unfortunately there are an increasing number of kididiots (the ones with the clown cars, e.g. massive "spoiler" fitted to the back of a front wheel drive small car, etc.), driving like demented chimps on LSD, that have apprently no conception of personal responsibility for their driving behaviour.

If we want safer roads, then we need to have real police officers out on the road patroling in marked cars. this will improve the standard of compliance, hence safety, massively.

the other group that add to the death rate are the OAP's, particularly the ones that refuse to wear their glasses to drive. They can't see the traffic light, hence don't stop. Mandated eye test certificates, to be brought with your mot and insurance for the car tax, would probably save 1 in 4 of the people currently killed on our roads.

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re: no enforcement = optionality

Maybe this would work?

http://micom.net/oops/SpeedEnforcement1.jpg

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@despairing citizen

Since the thumbs up system doesn't seem to be working, have another one here!

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I seriously doubt there is an increasing number of kidiots ... it was the XR3i (Kevscort) when I was a teenager (often a 1.6 with spoiler - heh I doubt there's a teenager alive now who could get insurance on a 1.6i).

"... driving like demented chimps on LSD, that have apprently no conception of personal responsibility for their driving behaviour."

When has that ever _not_ been the case? I'd say the same of most Audi drivers. Driving ability hasn't drastically gotten worse in recent years but there are more cars on the roads... and therefore more idiots whatever the age or gender.

If you want safe roads - you need to remove the fallible organic component from behind the wheel.

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It doesn't help that councils seem to install them almost on a whim, slowing traffic that once flowed to a stand-still. Southampton City Council's traffic lights were turned off (with warning signs) a few years ago and traffic flow improved, then they installed the 'go slow mode', to be used when traffic diverts from the M27 due to accidents etc, its aim is to put drivers off ever entering the City again when the motorways stuffed, a 10 minute journey becomes a 45 minute ordeal...

And a lot of red light jumpers do it because they know the system has extra dwell time before giving the green to another direction, because of red light jumpers!

Then there are the bus drivers, who already have the advantage of advanced/fast flow trigger units on the buses (AKA green-wave) that on seeing any other light change start off, often crossing the STOP line whilst the lights are still red, whilst others are still clearing the junction.

The arsehole factor also applies.

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Everything is worse today

@CD001: Agreed - before I believe that "an increasing number of drivers" (at least relative to the total number) are scofflaws who cheerfully run reds, I'd want to see some actual data.

Specific technology aside, rants about declining standards are as old as the historical record - and no doubt older; we just don't have any evidence for them. But no doubt someone at Lascaux complained that this new artist wasn't a patch on the cave painters of *his* day.

In the US, traffic accidents per population have been dropping in recent years. Pedestrian accidents are up, on the other hand. (The data don't indicate why; distraction seems a likely candidate, but currently local authorities aren't required to report whether victims were, say, using a mobile phone at the time.) Are we to conclude that people aren't walking as well as they used to?

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Stop

or you could stop the light jumping...

If its going to be installed on cars, why not have it wired to cut the engine/engage the brakes of the car of the light-jumper? Rather than rely on potential victims being quick enough on the uptake to dodge... Having their car come to an emergency stop all of a sudden might even make the w*ankers wake up and realise what they are doing.

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The detector isn't going to be installed in cars. If the junction is equipped to detect red light jumpers, it can notify "smart" cars in the vicinity to watch out.

Stopping the jumper's car might seem like a good idea, until they sue you when they get rear-ended because their car stopped under your control.

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aye

or cuts out because you were pulling forwards to get out of the way of the ambulance.

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How about just taking a high resolution photo of the car which passes the light on red and submitting the details to the traffic police?

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Anonymous Coward

Traffic signal cameras already exist, and because of "lack of money", 1/2 dont work.

Bring back the cane and/or the birch. Corporal punishment for offenders might just do the trick.

You'd think twice if the punishment was public humiliation and derision.

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If you read the article you would see that the result of this would be 700 High res images of a smashed car with dead people in it...

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Bronze badge

Never mind warning other drivers...

Just make it so it stops the car and preferably ejects the idiot.

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Its not going to be retro fitted to all cars... So it will do little to stop some knob in an h reg astra ploughing into the side of me.. Unless its fitted to my car and warns me in advance that there is a knob on the loose...

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Mushroom

This *is* the 21st century

Surely some sort of automated drone strike would be the right way to go.

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@David Barrett: "So it will do little to stop some knob in an h reg astra ploughing into the side of me.. Unless its fitted to my car and warns me in advance that there is a knob on the loose".

Yes, that is the proposal. The system would watch vehicles approaching the intersection, determine if there was a high probability that one would not yield to the light, and send a signal that would let other suitably-equipped cars notify their drivers.

In practice, it would no doubt be picked up by the problem vehicle (if so equipped) too - which is a good thing, since the driver may be distracted, asleep, or otherwise in a position to be notified and rectify the problem.

And, actually, there's no need to add anything to vehicles. The authors talk about a HUD or other fancy driver-warning mechanism; but the system could just notify drivers approaching the green light by, say, blinking the yellow as well, or something similar. (An audible alarm might be a good idea too.) It could all be done in the traffic-light mechanism.

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Facepalm

Alternatively...

You could just look at the traffic situation ahead, rather than rely on a bot to warn you.

It used to be called "anticipating the actions of other motorists".

"The bot didn't warn me" is not going to look good on an insurance claim.

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aka. . .

"It used to be called "anticipating the actions of other motorists"."

Also known as "defensive driving" here in the States.

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It used to be known simply as 'driving' in the UK, but sadly no longer.

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Bronze badge

"Just looking" is not equivalent

The system potentially has significantly more information available to it than you do as a driver approaching the intersection. It may well have better visibility down the crossing street, for example, thanks to the higher position of the camera. And it only has to collect data on the movement of vehicles approaching the intersection; unlike you, it doesn't have to worry about driving one.

A system like this could also be networked, and so could know that vehicle X approaching intersection A has already run through a red light at intersection B - something that's probably not visible to you approaching A from the orthogonal direction, but is a strong indicator of likely behavior of X at B.

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Anonymous Coward

too complicated; not enough benefit

Honestly using so much technology to save 350 lives a year is not enough of a return on investment.

ac to protect my reputation as a carring person.

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Anonymous Coward

indeed,

however, add in an ANPR system with automatic ticketing, and the thing either pays for itself, or solves/reduces the problem. They would have to be pretty widespread to have much of an effect though.

at the very least, the amount of money it may save in repairs after non-fatal accidents should be factored in...

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FAIL

Why add another distraction to the car itself. If the sensor is going to be attached to the lights or lightposts themselves why wouldn't you just delay changing the light to green for the cross traffic. No extra HUD to distract a driver and the sensor can change the lights themselves when it's safe to proceed.

Rocket Science!!

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Paris Hilton

Hahahahaha

"delay changing the light to green for the cross traffic"

What could possibly go wrong with that idea?

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Anonymous Coward

Problem 1. Some people will think its fun to fool the predictive software, by braking at the last moment, so that it inconveniences those with it installed.

Problem 2. The number of prats who jump lights will increase because, in their tiny mind, it will be safer due to other cars being warned about them.

Problem 3. It will encourage people with it installed to be less aware of their surroundings and hence more negligent of what is happening on the road.

Personally, I'd rather depend on my own senses.

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Pint

Spot on !

Brilliant analysis, sir !

Have a pint on me !

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outstanding

This way you train the red-light runners that new and improved cars will make way for them.

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As opposed to "training them" by letting them run into the side of crossing cars?

Id much rather if they were going to do it that I had some way of knowing about it in advance...

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Megaphone

If computers are so damn smart...

Then maybe we should just let them drive and busy ourselves by getting falling down drunk in the back seat!

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Just let the computer drive

Driving in modern cities is a nightmare waiting to happen. Expectations of getting from A to B are unrealisitic if there is any appreciable traffic density. This induces stress in drivers and increases the chances of accidents, even in those with lots of experience and training. I think there must be sufficient data from warehouse robots by now to be fairly sure that with fairly low max speed limits, they would be better drivers than *most* of us. When it comes to road safety you have to plan for the biggest fucking idiot out there.

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Windows

I am intrigued by your ideas and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

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@Charlie Clark

When it comes to road safety you have to keep the biggest fucking idiot out of a driver's seat. Just how to do this before something terrible happened I don't know.

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Would this not just enable the jumpers even further knowing other people will be told not to enter the intersection it will make it safer for them?

Much like airbags encouraged people to drive faster as they were better protected.

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Stop

It’s bad enough people follow GPS directions right into rivers.

Now we can look forward to even more “brains left at home” situations in the future.

Simpler solution (along the lines of some IT qualifications e.g. Cisco) would be to make it mandatory for everyone, to retake their tests every 5 years.

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Unhappy

you mean like pilots ?

aeronautical types, especially professionals have to do competence tests annually or more often if in big jets.

Might be "interesting" to do this with car drivers. Given that killing someone with a vehicle has usually been treated as a minor offense, one could also make killing with a vehicle the same legal offense as a casual thrill killing. Might re-associate crime and punishment..

OTOH, given the rise of the surveilance state, how about every car has a days driving record pulled from its car management system at random times, say twice a year and sent to a driving forensics lab? Indicators of bad behaviour or poor skills would trigger a covert driving assessment. Much like what is happening now with the self righeous installing cams in their cars so they can log other drivers. Yes, that twit wandering over the road as they move the camera to film someone 10kmh over the limit passing said twat driving 20 kmh under the limit.

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Anonymous Coward

black box safety

interestingly the germans put black boxes into police cars a few years back, and found that the number of acidents involving police cars dropped suddenly.

a more recent report can be found here;

http://ec.europa.eu/transport/road_safety/specialist/knowledge/vehicle/safety_design_needs/cars.htm

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