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It’s amazing what you can learn from the “lower” species.

Telecommunications researcher Ozan Tonguz found that when two groups of ants meet up with one another on intersecting paths, they don’t have — well, there are no traffic jams. The larger group instinctively takes the right-of-way.

Thus he had the idea to apply this to the problem of traffic flow. He conceived his Virtual Traffic Lights system as a vehicle-to-vehicle wireless network.

Tonguz’s patented algorithm would assess the number and direction of travel of vehicles, and determine which group heading in the same direction was the largest. They would then get a green light on their dashboard screen while cars in the smaller groups would get red lights.

According to Tonguz, simulations have shown that use of the system could reduce commute times by 40 to 60 percent during rush hours.

On an episode of the show America Revealed, they show how managing signals in a large city, like Las Vegas, can greatly reduce traffic. You can watch the program here.

Read more about the virtual traffic lights from Gizmag below here:

Insect-Inspired Virtual Traffic Lights Could Replace – or Augment – the Real Things