TxDOT turning to UT students for help with traffic congestion


AUSTIN (KXAN) — A group of University of Texas at Austin students are behind a high tech solution that could help with Austin’s traffic congestion.  

The team developed a unique sensor system which detects objects around cars and tracks where and why traffic congestion happens. Part of the project includes using those sensors to help drivers move safely in areas with high bicycle and pedestrian traffic.

“The cameras are on the dashboard,” pointed out UT Ph.D. student and researcher Steven Flolid. “There’s a radar on the front of the vehicle.” There are also lasers on top of the car that can analyze what’s going on around it. Flolid said it’s a step further than what vehicles offer right now.

 “Your car would be communicating with this intersection and the intersection would be great. There’s another car coming east-west and that intersection might then use that information to say ‘We’re going to keep this light green longer so that more of these vehicles can come through,'” explained Flolid.

Flolid says this technology can stop accidents and shorten drive times.

The research is funded by the Texas Department of Transportation, in collaboration with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Center for Transportation Research at UT. 

Flolid says the goal is for car dealerships to include the sensor system when you buy the car. “The more people that adopt it, the more safe the roads can become with the technology.”

He hopes this could become a reality in the next 10 years.

UT students are also working on technology which will allow cars to communicate with each other.

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