IBM to patent traffic light that can remotely control your car engineS

IBM's wants to patent a geegaw called the "SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR CONTROLLING VEHICLE ENGINE RUNNING STATE AT BUSY INTERSECTIONS FOR INCREASED FUEL CONSUMPTION EFFICIENCY." In other words, the traffic light is in charge of when you stop and go.

In the mellifluous language of the patent application:

The present disclosure is directed to a method for managing engines in response to a traffic signal. The method may comprise establishing communications with participating vehicles; responding to a stop status indicated by the traffic signal, further comprising: receiving a position data from each participating vehicles; determining a queue of participating vehicles stopped at the traffic signal; determining a remaining duration of the stop status; sending a stop-engine notification to the list of participating vehicles stopped at the traffic signal when the remaining duration is greater than a threshold of time; responding to a proceed status indicated by the traffic signal, further comprising: sending a start-engine notification to a first vehicle in the queue; calculating an optimal time for an engine of a second vehicle in the queue to start; and sending the start-engine notification to the second vehicle at the optimal time.

The device is ostensibly a way to prevent accidents and to deter overzealous drivers from wasting fuel at say, railroad crossings, but c'mon. This a recipe for disaster (or at least a Roland Emmerich flick). Remember Superman III?

[via Inhabitat]