Coming soon: Say goodbye to stoplights. Coming soon: Say goodbye to stoplights. Coming soon: Say goodbye to stoplights. (Photo: Sergey Novikov /Shutterstock)

Never get delayed by traffic lights again

A new app can tell drivers the exact speed they need to travel to avoid stopping at red lights.

City driving means stopping every quarter of a mile at red lights. Now there’s a new app that could ensure drivers never hit a red light again.

Green Wave was one of four apps to be recognized at the recent i-Way hackathon hosted in Israel by the South Korean car manufacturer Hyundai. The goal of the event was to discover new apps that could help improve the driving experience in new connected cars.

According to Hyundai Israel director Davidi Piamenta, the winning apps were chosen for their ability to enhance the driving experience in a safe manner.

People tend to drive faster to “make” the next light, a practice that doesn’t always work and which can endanger other drivers and pedestrians. Israeli developers Shlomo Shenzitz and Rafael Vianeti say their Green Wave app will tell drivers the ideal speed they need to drive in order to never have to stop at a red light again.

To determine the right speed to drive, the app would draw information from both the city and from its database of users, once enough people have started to use it. When a car is moving at a speed that guarantees it won’t have to stop at a red light, a green wave will appear. When a red wave is shown, the driver needs to adjust their speed.

The "green" in Green Wave may stand as much for the environment as it does for go. Stopping at red lights is annoying for drivers and even worse for the environment. Researchers at Queensland University of Technology in Australia found that carbon emissions were four times higher when a car was moving away from a red light, compared to when it breezed through the green light.

The winning apps were announced in November at an event at Hyundai Israel’s headquarters, with the company's top officials in attendance. Event judges awarded Green Wave third place because it’s a great idea, although it isn’t currently available – Shenizitz and Vianeti unveiled a proof-of-concept during the event.

Hyundai retains the rights to the winning apps for two years. The Green Wave developers expect to work with the car manufacturer to develop the app further and launch a pilot version.

What it comes down to is the old adage – slow and steady wins the race. You can either hurry up and wait, or slow down and never stop at another red light. Green Wave might not get you to your destination any faster, but it just might increase road safety and reduce stress on drivers and the environment.

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