The first traffic light was installed at a busy intersection in Cleveland, Ohio a hundred years ago this month. In another hundred years, or even sooner, the traffic light will be merely an item of nostalgia–like gas street lamps and steam engines.
Self-driving cars being developed by Google and others will communicate with each other at intersections with little need for third party mediation, which is essentially what a traffic light provides. And driverless vehicle technology is further along than people seem to realize. Or–if these driverless cars do need help–it won’t be in the form of a red, yellow and green light built for the human eye to process. It’ll be small and the signals probably invisible. German driverless car scientist Chistop Stiller explains some of his thinking in the video below.