Researchers from around the world have developed a slot-based intersection design that could replace the more traditional traffic light system, and would significantly reduce congestion and pollution.
The system, which would be applied when autonomous technology becomes prevalent, would require sensor-laden cars to effectively 'communicate' on their approach to the junction, moderating their speed and slotting between vehicles travelling in other directions, all the while maintaining a safe distance from one another.
Pedestrians and bicycles can also be incorporated into the flexible design.
The project was created at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Senseable City Lab in conjunction with researchers from the Swiss Institute of Technology (ETHZ) and the Italian National Research Council (CNR).
A clever video showcasing the design demonstrates how the flow of traffic becomes seamless, rather than forcing cars to grind to a halt and queue at traffic lights.
The video includes graphs which detail how both pollution and delays caused by conventional traffic systems would be reduced with the introduction of the Smart Autonomous Intersections.