Traffic! Nobody likes to be stuck in it or even hear about it. Even if you’re having such a wonderful day, just by approaching congested lanes of stationary vehicles on a busy road automatically changes your mood. Especially if you’re late for an important appointment or if you just want to get home already.
To provide a remedy for traffic, the city of Shenzhen in southern China has started to use ‘lane robots’ to help control the flow of large volumes of vehicles. The Shennan road in Shenzhen is notorious for its morning traffic jams as the volume of vehicles traveling from west to east doubles during that period in the day. Traffic authorities in the area realized it would ease the traffic jam by opening up more lanes heading in that direction.
This is the first time robot lane technology is used in the country as it aims to reduce road congestion during rush hours. The robot lane is a reversible lane, machine-controlled traffic controller, which uses human aid to guide its road position.
In Beijing alone, severe traffic jams can cost the city an annual bill of 70 billion yuan or $11.3 billion according to a study done in 2014. China suffers the most in gridlocked traffic compared to the rest of the world and with the use of robot lane technology, congested roads can quickly expand the number of lanes to maintain continuous traffic flow.
Well, how about that, robots are really making useful contributions in, sometimes, unexpected ways.