Mercedes Builds Car That Auto-Brakes At Red Lights

Posted: Oct 5 2009, 10:37am CDT | by , Updated: Aug 11 2010, 4:39pm CDT, in News | Technology News

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People die or ruin their cars every year due to accidentally rolling through red lights. Mercedes has developed a new concept car that could make one sort of traffic accident a thing of the past. Their new prototype will break at red lights, even if you don't. In the video Gizmodo links to, you can see the actual vehicle in action. So far, it seems to work very well.

This system requires a smart intersection as well as a smart car, however. The light has to be able to communicate with the car to warn it when it's about to turn red. This allows the car to stop itself at the last possible moment, which gives you as much time as possible to break of your own accord. Having something like this in my car would probably be a bit annoying when driving on rural roads with no traffic in sight, but it could be a real life saver in an urban environment.

The problem with this system is that it would require a complete overhaul of all our nation's traffic lights. Every car and every light would need to be outfitted with this system, and I don't see that happening any time soon. For one thing, an end to red light runners means a drastic cut in funding for many municipal police departments. I have no doubts that this system, or one like it, will eventually be standard around the world, but I also think we're a decade or three away from that point.

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