You’ve heard about making cars smarter, but what about smarter intersections? Cornell researchers find that making intersections more autonomous could help get self-driving cars where they want to go more efficiently. Plus: on the anniversary of the last day of the last Apollo mission to the moon, how about a trip to the Museum of the Moon, now visiting Philadelphia?

Smart intersections could cut autonomous car congestion (Science Daily)

Last lunar-landing mission ends (History.com)

Museum of the Moon (Franklin Institute)

Backing Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon is extremely smart

When we hear about the future of driving, we often hear that we won’t actually be driving at all.

Autonomous cars are supposed to take care of all that for us.

The technology still has a long way to go before that can happen, but researchers have been thinking through some of the big issues around self-driving cars, such as whether there’s a way these cars can get around more efficiently than we currently do.

One answer to that is to have the autonomous cars talk to each other, so they can route themselves and each other through an area.

Researchers at Cornell are going a step further and looking at whether we should make intersections more autonomous along with the cars.

For example, rather than having stoplights that turn green and red on predetermined schedules, they could communicate with the cars to figure out when to switch signals.

So if there are ten cars all going north and no cars going east or west, the stoplight for those ten cars could stay green and let them all through.

The Cornell study found smartening up intersections increased the vehicle capacity in an area by 138 percent over conventional traffic systems, with the caveat that their simulation only included self-driving cars.

So if any of us humans stay behind the wheel, that’s a whole different scenario.

Today marks the anniversary of the last day humans set foot on the moon, when the Apollo 17 astronauts began heading back to earth.

Since we’re not set to return to the moon anytime soon, here’s maybe the next best thing: the Museum of the Moon. It’s a 23 foot in diameter sculpture of the moon using NASA imagery to show every bit of lunar detail.

It’s at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia until early next year, so you’ll need to go before the next lunar cycle passes.