What are your thoughts about the self-driving vehicle? As far as I am concerned, the jury is still out. I think in the future it will be fine as long as all the kinks are worked out, but for now, I am not comfortable with the concept. But that is just me.

Nonetheless, more and more of these autonomous vehicles will be taking over the roadways, like it or not. So, what can be done to help make self-driving vehicles safer?

According to the NC State University website, one answer might come in the form of traffic lights. Current traffic lights have three colors - red for stop, yellow for caution, and green for go.

Traffic Light
Photo by Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash

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A Four-Color Traffic Light?

But what about a fourth color for self-driving vehicles? What would its use be? NC State notes that if a fourth light was added, it could result in wait times for pedestrians, and it would improve traffic flow for self-driving vehicles and human motorists. The more self-driving vehicles, the shorter the waiting time for everyone involved.

NC State is calling the four-light concept, the 'White Phase.' The fourth light could be white. Here is how they envision it:

The white phase concept makes use of AVs’(autonomous vehicles) ability to communicate wirelessly with both each other and the computers that control the traffic signals. When enough AVs are approaching the intersection, this would activate a new traffic light – the white light. While red lights mean stop, and green lights mean go, white lights tell human drivers to simply follow the car in front of them. In short, the white light is a signal that AVs are coordinating their movement to facilitate traffic through the intersection more efficiently. - NC State University

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While this concept is currently under study, it isn't being considered to be on any government's radar. But don't be surprised if at some time in the future it comes to fruition. The more autonomous vehicles there are on the road, the closer this concept could become reality.

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