In Israel, Google tests making traffic lights more efficient

Google may use artificial intelligence to make traffic lights 10-20 percent more efficient for Israeli drivers.

Heavy traffic jam on the Ayalon highway in Tel Aviv due to construction work, on June 11, 2020 (photo credit: FLASH90)
Heavy traffic jam on the Ayalon highway in Tel Aviv due to construction work, on June 11, 2020
(photo credit: FLASH90)

Google is running a pilot project in Israel that could use artificial intelligence to make traffic lights 10% to 20% more efficient for drivers.

In a blog post touting the technology giant’s current efforts in the field of environmentally sustainable solutions, Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai wrote: “We’re finding ways to make routes more efficient, across an entire city, with early research into using artificial intelligence to optimize the efficiency of traffic lights. We’ve been piloting this research in Israel to predict traffic conditions and improve the timing of when traffic lights change. So far, we are seeing a 10%-20% reduction in fuel consumption and delay time at intersections. We’re excited to expand these pilots to Rio de Janeiro and beyond.”

Early research indicates that AI can help cities make their traffic lights more efficient, making every route more eco-friendly no matter the car. (credit: Courtesy)Early research indicates that AI can help cities make their traffic lights more efficient, making every route more eco-friendly no matter the car. (credit: Courtesy)

The tests are being conducted in Haifa and Beersheba, with the cooperation of the municipalities and Netivei Israel–National Transport Infrastructure Company Ltd., which is in charge of managing the country’s roads.

As part of its efforts to help fight climate change, Google said it is committed to helping one billion people make more sustainable choices by 2022. Last year, it made a commitment to make all of its data centers and campuses worldwide run on 100% carbon-free energy by 2030.

Other new initiatives Google announced include an option for Google Maps to guide users to the most fuel-efficient route if it is not already the fastest one, adding information about hybrid- and electric-vehicle options to Google search, displaying carbon-emissions information to Google Flights and energy-optimizations options for thermostats for users of its smart-home platform, Google Nest.