Intelligent Traffic Light Control Using Embedded Systems

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Embedded systems are fast achieving ubiquity, blurring the lines between science fiction and hard reality. These systems are found in almost every electronic device in use today. In fact Embedded Systems is not a new technology, but it has come into limelight only recently due to the convergence of many technologies like telecom, consumer electronics, automobiles, factory automation, smart-cards, traffic control using the immense power of the Microprocessor. Embedded Systems have penetrated our lives in such a radical way that most of us may not even notice what lies under the hood of many commonly used gizmos and gadgets. Thus, we should have an idea about how embedded systems plays an important role in our day-to-day life.

In a nutshell, an embedded system is a combination of computer hardware and software and perhaps additional mechanical parts that are designed to perform a specific function. “Embedded” reflects the fact that they are an integral part of the system. Embedded systems are also known as real time systems and have extreme diversity of applications in all walks of life. In fact RTOS and embedded systems are the unsung hero’s of much of the technology we use today. This paper starts off with the basic definition of an embedded system, explains what an embedded system is, and lists the steps involved in creation of an embedded application & also lists few applications of embedded systems. This paper gives an overview of the “Intelligent Traffic Light Control Using Embedded Systems”, which aids the effective control of traffic.

How would you like to live in a house that recognizes your fingerprints and opens the front door automatically. Imagine a fridge that checks your food supplies and places orders to replenish them; or intelligent lights and air conditioners that adjust their settings automatically according to the light and heat available at various times of the day. What about a microwave oven that can send a message to your PDA saying that the cake you kept to bake is done. And what about a doctor configuring a cardiac pacemaker inside his patient's chest while sitting 200 km away. Could you ever imagine a person travelling in a driver-less car ? Impossible? Not really. All these are possible in the near future. Did you ever think how all these equipment have become so smart and intelligent. 

Real Time Operating Systems (RTOS) and embedded systems are two among the latest technologies that play a major role in making these concepts possible. Embedded microprocessors or micro controllers are the brain behind these systems. The application of these controllers makes the equipment user friendly, cheap and enables to add features otherwise impossible to provide by other means.

As microprocessors and micro controllers have become cheaper,  their use in Embedded Systems have made the equipment user friendly, cost effective and enables to add features impossible to provide by other means. The “Intelligent Traffic Light Control Using Embedded System” is more reliable, highly accurate and offers higher performance over the traffic light controllers that were used earlier. Embedded systems are usually low in cost and are easily available off the shelf for most applications. They usually have low design risks, since it is easy to verify the designs using evaluation boards. The easy availability of good design tools (many of them in the freeware domain) and software engineers has been two key factors in fuelling the growth of embedded systems.

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