Robust real-time traffic light detector on small-form platform for autonomous vehicles

Gelayol Golcarenarenji*, Ignacio Martinez-Alpiste, Qi Wang, Jose Maria Alcaraz-Calero

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Timely and accurate detection and recognition of traffic lights are critical for Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) to avoid crashes due to red light running. This paper integrates a new robust machine learning based solution by combining a Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) with computer vision techniques to achieve a real-time traffic light detector. The proposed detection and recognition algorithm is capable of recognizing traffic lights on low-power small-form platforms, which are lightweight, portable, and can be mounted on AVs in daylight scenarios. The LISA open-source dataset is utilized with augmentation methods to increase the accuracy of the solution. The proposed approach achieves 93.42% of accuracy at a speed of 30.01 Frames Per Second (FPS) on an NVIDIA Jetson Xavier platform without using hardware accelerators such as FPGA. This solution is expected to promote the quicker adoption and wider deployment of AVs by increasing the chances of avoiding crashes and ultimately saving lives.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Intelligent Transportation Systems: Technology, Planning, and Operations
Early online date2 May 2023
Publication statusEarly online - 2 May 2023


  • Autonomous vehicle
  • computer vision
  • modified YOLO
  • traffic light detection

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