Smarter Elevators

I am not sure if any elevator manufacturer has done so, but it seems to me that adding some sensors and algorithms could significantly improve the efficiency of the machines in tall buildings. It could be a very practical application of utilitarianism, aiming to reduce the average per-person journey time as much as possible.

For instance, if there are two elevators moving past a floor where someone has requested a stop, the one carrying fewer people could be assigned the pause, even if the fuller cabin would be there sooner. Similarly, if a number of people got on at once and only one additional floor was selected, the movement of that elevator to that floor could be prioritized, bypassing people waiting on other floors.

To implement this, all you would really need is weight sensors in the elevator floor (or a tension sensor on the cable) and perhaps thermal sensors in the waiting areas to identify how many people are awaiting an elevator on any particular floor.

Another good mechanism might be a panel on the ground floor – or any sky lobbies – where each person waiting indicates their destination floor. They could then be routed to a particular elevator. For example, if ten people are all waiting on floor 1 to go up to floor 40, an elevator might be assigned just for them, saving them the delay of a dozen stops up along the way.

Jagath Suresh, Bangalore

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