As someone who navigates a labyrinth of city streets commuting to and from work each morning and evening, I am always searching for a shortcut. But regardless of the route, I inevitably encounter the traffic signal that slows my pace.

So when I heard about new traffic light recognition technology, I had to investigate and see if it’s a novel idea or just a novelty. An Oregon-based company called Traffic Technology Services (TTS) is set to launch a system known as the Personal Signal Assistant in the U.S. that sends real-time signal information to cars from traffic lights. If waiting at a red light, the dashboard display can show the driver how long until the signal changes to green.

According TTS’s website, the systems are designed to improve engine, gas and braking efficiencies, as well as provide drivers with an understanding of a expected delays. 

Worth noting is that the subscription-based system will be first deployed in Audis and the company says it is working with other auto manufacturers to develop the proper infrastructure to support the technology. Las Vegas, New York and Minneapolis are among the U.S. cities where initial setup of the systems are ongoing, and TTS is aiming to have 50% of all connected traffic signals in a region integrated into the system, according to the company website.

While an interesting technological development, is it a needed one? I’m not quite sure.

But there are those in agriculture anxiously awaiting advancement of autonomous systems. Having sat down with 9 precision farming dealer members of the Independent Precision Ag Alliance to discuss autonomy in agriculture for the latest episode in our podcast series, there was a sense of anticipation among the group that driverless vehicles will one day be on-farm assets.

But dealers also acknowledge that selling the practical value of autonomous technology will be challenging, at least initially. Getting farmers to warm to the idea of robotic implements replacing a human workforce is no small task.

Still, there is general optimism that the benefits of autonomy will bear out — beyond simply saving a few seconds at a traffic stop — and ag equipment will be a proving grounds for the technology.