Monday, May 3, 2010

Anybody Want To Work On An Open Source Project?

I had an idea this weekend for an open source project that might be interesting and fun to work on, and I'm wondering if anybody else is interested...

OpenTraffic - A smart controller system for traffic lights.

The idea is to create software to control a scalable network of nodes (traffic intersections) and control the state of each node for the goal of vehicle energy efficiency. Taking sensor input from each node, it should adjust light patterns accordingly to accommodate traffic flows and reduce stopping/starting of vehicles as much as possible to enable a city-wide reduction in energy consumed by vehicles.

Anybody interested? Have any thoughts on the project?

I figure it's an interesting challenge in a few ways. First, it has to operate under real-time constraints. That presents a whole new set of challenges in software design that isn't often found in most programming. Scalability will be an interesting design concern, creates nodes that can self-organize at any scale based on information programmed into the node (location and directions of other nodes).

The hardest part is getting started, so if you're interested let me know so we can discuss how we want to approach this.


  1. Sounds like a pretty cool idea. Is there anything like this out there already? Also what spawned the idea?

  2. I haven't found anything specifically like it yet, though it wouldn't surprise me if there's something out there.

    The idea came while sitting at a long stop light with several other cars while nobody passed through the intersection for nearly a full minute, while watching my "average MPG" reading drop a little. It was one of those "somebody should invent a better way" moments, and I figured why not try to start the software part of the "better way"? Even if our project never gets used, it would be an interesting research project for us.

  3. Yeah I agree. These kinds of systems exist at least in some form. I thought LA and such had systems that monitored traffic so they could study what the timings should be. There might not be an OSS version.

  4. Well I guess my own interest in this burned out before it even got started. Looks like I'll just continue to keep an eye out for the necessity that can birth an invention.


    I should sue! :)