The world’s first “smart crosswalk” has been developed by London-based technology company Umbrellium. The crosswalk is called the Starling Crossing, which roughly stands for Stigmergic Adaptive Responsive Learning. The crosswalk is a responsive road surface that reacts to different traffic conditions in real time.
The Starling Crossing is made from LED-embedded plastic panels. The panels display crossing markings, as well as warnings that can alert drivers and pedestrians in real time. The smart technology can modify the patterns, layout, configuration and orientation of the crosswalk based on various conditions, in order to prioritize pedestrian safety. Cameras constantly monitor the crossing, communicating with the LEDs to make any changes as necessary.
Starling Crossing Changes to Suit Conditions
The smart crosswalk also takes into account the time of day and current traffic conditions. For instance, during the night when very few pedestrians, the crosswalk can disappear. During rush hour, the crosswalk could expand to accommodate a greater volume of pedestrians.
Perhaps one of the most important features of the smart crosswalk is its protection of distracted pedestrians and children who run out into the street. In these cases, the crosswalk creates a buffer zone around the pedestrian to warn drivers of the upcoming hazard.
A full-scale prototype of the Starling Crossing has been installed in South London. Umbrellium says the crosswalk can support the weight of vehicles, as well as remain slip-free in wet weather.
“It will be interesting to see if this technology will help improve safety for pedestrians,” said Attorney Walter Clark, founder of Walter Clark Legal Group.
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