The town of Lemgo in Germany is about to become a real-life laboratory for a project that aims to improve traffic flow as it will become the first place on earth to test “deep reinforcement learning” for traffic lights that have improved traffic flow by 10-15 percent in simulations.

A team at the Fraunhofer Institute for Optronics, along with a number of research partners, has installed high-resolution cameras and radar sensors to more accurately understand the traffic situation at an intersection in Lemgo. With that data, it has been running artificial intelligence simulations to develop more optimized signal patterns to help traffic flow more smoothly.

In simulations, this new traffic light control system has replaced the rule-based controls that can only take minimal data points into account. And the results have been good enough to encourage the team and the city to now try the AI at the intersection in real life