According to my insurance company, my mysterious automobile accident has been referred to arbitration since the other driver also claims to have had a green light. This again raises the unsettling possibility that the light was green in both directions either due to some rare, mysterious malfunction or — worse — due to tampering or hacking of the traffic light. This latter possibility could have been a bizarre “prank” or targeted specifically at the other driver or me.
Modern traffic lights are complex computerized devices often with network connections. Just like personal computers and smartphones, such devices can experience rare, difficult to reproduce “glitches.” Just like personal computers and smartphones they can be attacked successfully by hackers and other malefactors.
(C) 2018 by John F. McGowan, Ph.D.
John F. McGowan, Ph.D. solves problems using mathematics and mathematical software, including developing gesture recognition for touch devices, video compression and speech recognition technologies. He has extensive experience developing software in C, C++, MATLAB, Python, Visual Basic and many other programming languages. He has been a Visiting Scholar at HP Labs developing computer vision algorithms and software for mobile devices. He has worked as a contractor at NASA Ames Research Center involved in the research and development of image and video processing algorithms and technology. He has published articles on the origin and evolution of life, the exploration of Mars (anticipating the discovery of methane on Mars), and cheap access to space. He has a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a B.S. in physics from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).