The stoplight is 100 years old this week, but it will likely look like an ancient relic to the motorists of the future. Historians generally agree the first traffic lights were installed on the corner of Euclid and 105th in Cleveland, nearly a year after Henry Ford switched on the world’s first moving auto assembly line. Inventor James Hoge came up with the idea of a Municipal Traffic Control System, which had no yellow warning, just red and green lights, along with swing-arm stop-and-go indicators. But federal regulators may soon require connected car technology that would allow vehicles to talk to one another. And with driver-less autonomous vehicles in production by 2020, stoplights may no longer be necessary, as vehicles would automatically signal one another when it was safe to pass through an intersection.
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- Paul A. Eisenstein, The Detroit Bureau