this is a bit off-topic but i’m wondering how AI can be used in the
future to solve urban problems like increasing traffic congestion. The
reason is that I’m working on a research project on smart cities and I
thought about an interlinked semantic system in which AI can be used for
traffic coordination and the prevention of traffic jams.
I’m also thinking in terms of information sharing between traffic
participants to predict traffic flow (which might include thoughts like
robotic cars for urban areas). My assumption is that by let’s say 2050
we are all so interlinked so that real-time sharing of information is
easily possible and so any AI-system can be fed with all the data
The major question I’m asking myself: is it possible to develop e.g. a
semantic system that can analyse all available data (gps positioning
etc.) so that it can detect evolving traffic jams and inform all traffic
participants who might be affected by that jam? How can AI be used to
understand human mobility behavior? If you can think of any solution,
just share your thoughts!
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Well the first thing you would do is have the ai drive the car and
communicate with nearby vehicles via a local bluetooth type system.
Then the cars can drive REALLY close together increasing the capacity of
the existing road ways.
Basic traffic jams will not occur as they are usually caused by bad
driving, people going from the outside lane to a slip road causing
following drivers to brake, causing drivers behind them to brake harder,
Surely googling “artificial intelligence traffic” will give you more
material than anyone could post in this forum? Google itself already has
a car that drives itself, even in traffic.
Anyways, first thing that popped into my mind was securing such a
system. Oh what a hacker could do with this…
Yes but e.g. the google car is only part of the solution because it only
cares for itself if you’d like to call it that way. IMO that would
reflect an egocentric approach: every car optimizes its own way. But
that might not be the optimal way in a system, where all the other cars
affect your choice.
There is also the question of ownership: if you own the car, you’d want
to park it when it’s not in use (thus, it takes away part of the very
limited space in cities). If people do not own the vehicles anymore,
anybody could use them when needed. This would be like public transport
but with a lot more flexibility. Do you think that could be a feasible
Actually I wondered that if there is no central coordination of
traffic, it is really hard for any hacker to get into the system.
Because if decentralized agents share information with each other in a
very flexible way, you’d need to hack every single unit in order to
affect the system.
IMO, if you think of it as “personal rail” instead of “automatic car”,
you’d get more buy-in faster. Not sure where you are from, but in the US
there is a lot of individualism wrapped around cars that would take some
serious effort to go against. Salmon swimming upstream comes to mind…
Abu Dhabi has the Masdar system. Take a look at that and other projects
in that city.
As for security, you are already going down a common road, pun intended.
“Hey, I don’t need to worry about it as much, because it’s a
decentralized system.” How do the cars coordinate? Ever hear of a worm
I agree, in the US the situation is totally different compared to e.g.
Europe. In Europe we have a very efficient public transport system so
you could complement the existing system personal rapid transit systems
(PRT) where needed (that could be controlled by AI and function like
In America people strongly depend on their cars, so you would have to
provide flexible personal vehicles that take you from home to work (and
not only to the next train station etc.). That would also increase costs
and thus limit the feasibility of such a project.
Thanks for the Masdar hint, I already know the project and I’ve also had
a look into it. Functions pretty well but it’s a totally new city with
tremendous up-front investments. I highly doubt that you could just copy
their system and introduce it to other existing cities (I mean
infrastructure is rigid, you can’t just easily replace it).
Security aspect: I didn’t mean that about wouldn’t worry about it
because if security can’t be provided you don’t need to implement such a
system. I just wanted to hear some thoughts on how security could be
provided. Nonetheless, IMO a decentralized system is securer than a
centralized system :)
Yes, I agree.
Having a seperate series of small ai’s controlling local vehicles is
much more secure than having HAL sat somewhere running the entire road
However you need to think about how the ai would work as a series of
Layer 1 Controlling the vehicle
Layer 2 Predicting traffic flow
Layer 3 Route planning
Layer 4 Network control
Layers 1-3 would be in the car, layer 4 an external ai that controls
things like traffic lights.
Layer 2 would handle a car that needs to change lane because it is
leaving the current road network. All the cars around it would vary
there speed to allow safe passage.
Layer 4 would talk to ai’s and advise them of local traffic problems and
this would be an input into layer 3
I think it would work really well, but the possibility of a hacker
gaining control of the system is a bit scary.
Having said that, in the last 5 days I have spent about 25 hours on
british motorways. I think a hacker would probably be safer than some of
the drivers I have just seen.
If the “small ai’s controlling local vehicles” are communicating with
each other to coordinate traffic, then you essentially have to treat the
system as one. IOW, if I capture one node, I p0wn the system.
Actually, assuming you can create a secure way to note vehicles, it
would not be hard to compute the best traffic situation.
The primary problem I can see is that what may be best overall may not
be best for me. If the best way to keep traffic to a minimum is to route
me out of town then back in, I’d be plenty pissed… :)
LOL yes, I have played around with sat nav’s and it is possible to
create some amazing routes
I managed to get one route which I flagged as “avoid motorways” “fastest
route” from Southampton to Liverpool
The route was Southampton to Bristol, ferry to Ireland, up the east
coast of Ireland, ferry to Liverpool