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Stoplights and automobiles

The autonomous, driver-less vehicles that are expected to carry passengers in the future will need to rely not only on radar and controls inside the car but also on a series of systems installed on thoroughfares. One such system is now being developed in Curitiba, Paraná, by electrical engineer Rafael Miggiorin, of the Institute of Technology for Development (LACTEC), together with professors from the Federal Technological University of Paraná (UTFPR). Miggiorin has designed a software program that simulates cooperative starts and stops by linking vehicles to each other through a wireless system called Vehicular Ad hoc Networks (VANETs). The cars within these networks are equipped with a set of systems that send and receive signals. “This allows each vehicle to know its own position, as well as the speed and direction of the other cars in the group, and to make decisions jointly or individually,” explains Miggiorin. “In this case, the stoplight is a kind of manager that transmits orders to the vehicles, telling them to start or stop.”