Any conversation about bugs and cars usually ends with a punch line involving the windshield. But despite their propensity to flatten themselves on our hoods, grilles and side mirrors, insects are remarkably skilled at avoiding other insects; So good, in fact, that a researcher at Carnegie Mellon University is studying insect traffic flow in the hope of developing an equally successful system of traffic lights.
Researchers are looking at the way bees, ants and termites defer to each other when they’re on the move. It’s deceptively simple: The smaller ones defer to the larger ones. So, the Virtual Traffic Lights system now in development would have smaller cars and trucks making way for the SUVs and F-350s of the world, all in an effort to reduce commute times and avoid gridlock.
Giving a whole new meaning to the Dire Straits lyrics “Sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug.”