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Ten Ways U Research Affects You
By Melanie Sommer, February 2001

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4. Traffic flow is better regulated, thanks to the Autoscope traffic management system

Traffic in some 3,000 cities around the world is controlled in part by an invention of a University of Minnesota professor. Dr. Panos Michalopoulos developed a system of using small video cameras and computers in real-life traffic situations, to control traffic problems on congested highways. The technology processes images from up to eight video cameras to control vehicular and pedestrian traffic, collect traffic data, and detect traffic accidents.

Video image processing, also known as machine vision or artificial vision, uses video cameras to emulate the function of the human eye. Besides traffic control, this technology is also used for a variety of industrial purposes.

The Autoscope system is sold by a St. Paul company, Image Sensing Systems, Inc., or ISS, which was founded in 1984. Autoscope collects a wide range of traffic data including volume, speed, roadway occupancy, and wait times on ramps. Autoscope technology is also used for security, railway, maritime and aviation applications.

Image Sensing Systems, Inc. had revenues of more than $4 million in 2000.