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Will We Still Need Stoplights in the Self-Driving Future? MIT's trying to find out.

By Nina Zipkin

Shutterstock

In the smart cities of the future, could traffic lights actually be a thing of the past? That's the question that MIT Senseable City Lab aims to answer with a new project called DriveWAVE.

Examining how self-driving cars would impact our daily commute, the researchers at MIT are positing that smart, autonomous intersections that could direct traffic in lieu of stoplights would decrease pollution created by the vehicles because they would be spending less time stuck on the road.

Related: 5 Amazing Innovations Coming to Cars

At this point, of course, the idea is only a theoretical one, but the digital model that the team at MIT put together shows how the flow of traffic would be monitored by connected buildings in a given area that would send a message to the smart cars when it was safe for it to go through an intersection.

Granted, the reality of self-driving cars entering the mainstream is still a ways off. Google's autonomous vehicle, for example, is still very much in the testing stage (it recently got into a super slow accident). And the question of how to protect these vehicles against breaches from hackers remains a growing concern.

Related: We Could Be 3 Years Away From Secured Connected Cars, Automakers Say

For a look at the roadways of the future, check out the video from MIT below.

Nina Zipkin

Entrepreneur Staff

Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture.

Nina Zipkin is a staff writer at Entrepreneur.com. She frequently covers leadership, media, tech, startups, culture and workplace trends.

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