Combat the Problem of Climate Change: Google Conducted a Preliminary Experiment at Traffic Lights in Israel

Yesterday (Tuesday) Google announced a variety of initiatives in its products designed to combat the problem of climate change. Among them is also the management of traffic lights with artificial intelligence in its first experiment in the world.

We all expected hardware announcements, but Google surprised us and went for sustainability: In a statement made by Google last night (Tuesday), the company announced a variety of initiatives in its products, all of which are designed to fight climate change and save the planet. The main goal is to provide information to those looking for greener options in transportation, heating, aviation, tourism, investments and more.

The local surprise came at the end: Kate Brandt, Google‘s VP of Sustainability, revealed in an announcement that Google conducted an experiment in which artificial intelligence ran traffic lights in Be’er Sheva and Haifa, as the first test site – as it turns out that standing at a free red light is less ecological. With the National Infrastructure Company (formerly Ma’atz), crowned a success, it will now expand to other cities around the world, such as Rio de Janeiro.

Google has pledged to move to 100% renewable energy by 2030, a declaration that has already come full of few organizations. The interesting tools are in the areas of aviation and tourism: when searching for flights on Google Flights, the search engine will show us how “green” the seat we chose on the plane is, according to the estimated carbon emissions of that flight. Similarly, in the search for hotels, green hotels that take care of sustainability through recycling, waste reduction and water conservation will get a green mark (not Corona’s!) Appropriate in the search result – alongside authorities like Green Key or EarthCheck.

Similarly, green components have been introduced into Google Maps, when drivers will be offered the greenest route, with the lowest carbon emissions, and Google claims it will not be fundamentally different from the fastest route. The company also adds more relevant information for cyclists, to encourage their use, alongside information on scooters and shared bikes in partnership with companies like Bird and others. These features are currently only available in the United States, and in 2022 will be launched in Europe as well. In the search for the purchase of a car, emphasis was placed on the presentation of hybrid and electric vehicles and their impact on the environment compared to a similar model that drives gasoline.

To the Walla! Technology on the intriguing experiment at traffic lights in Israel, Google officials explained that this is a preliminary project, based on the knowledge the company has gained in optimizing network traffic, and the application of machine learning. The aim was to improve the performance of traffic lights in the flow of traffic, without interfering with nearby intersections. According to Google, they managed to improve the flow of traffic by 10-20 percent in Be’er Sheva and Haifa.

And finally, we asked Brandt about their dialogue with countries like us, where the green consciousness is not high enough. She explained that most of their dialogue is at the local level, providing essential information for environmental planning to cities and individuals, but as part of the signing of a climate agreement that they were partners in at the UN there is also dialogue at the state level.

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Yesterday (Tuesday) Google announced a variety of initiatives in its products designed to combat the problem of climate change.

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