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Submission + - Patent-Pending IBM Traffic Lights Stop Car Engines 2

theodp writes: I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't let your engine idle. The USPTO has just published IBM's patent application for a System and Method for Controlling Vehicle Engine Running State at Busy Intersections for Increased Fuel Consumption Efficiency. Here's how Big Blue explains the invention: 'The present disclosure is directed to a method for managing engines in response to a traffic signal. The method may comprise establishing communications with participating vehicles; responding to a stop status indicated by the traffic signal, further comprising: receiving a position data from each participating vehicles; determining a queue of participating vehicles stopped at the traffic signal; determining a remaining duration of the stop status; sending a stop-engine notification to the list of participating vehicles stopped at the traffic signal when the remaining duration is greater than a threshold of time; responding to a proceed status indicated by the traffic signal, further comprising: sending a start-engine notification to a first vehicle in the queue; calculating an optimal time for an engine of a second vehicle in the queue to start; and sending the start-engine notification to the second vehicle at the optimal time.' IBM notes that 'traffic signals may include, but not limited to, traffic lights at intersections, railway crossing signals, or other devices for indicating correct moments to stop and to proceed.'
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Patent-Pending IBM Traffic Lights Stop Car Engines

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  • What if I decide I need to run the light because my kid needs to get to the ER right now to save his life?
  • This idea, I think, is quite ridiculous. Its another example of the state not just mandating what you can do, but forcing you to do it.

    Here in the UK, you're not allowed to idle at a red light, and the police have the power to give you an on-the-spot fine of about £40 ($60), which is usually doubled if you don't pay within 2 weeks. Fair enough, I have no problem with this, as in the grand scheme of things its a good thing.

    But having what amounts to a kill switch for cars near intersections? That's a w

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