For all the debate about how autonomous cars will affect the way humans live, one issue can be put to rest: traffic.
Yes, the hair-pulling problem of traffic and rush hour may become distant memories when autonomous cars become integrated into the roadways. The best part is, the roads do not have to be proliferated with self-driving cars in order for everyone to benefit from its effects. A recent study out of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign demonstrated that a single autonomous vehicle in a flow of human-piloted vehicles can remove stop-and-go traffic waves.
The study’s results show that by having just one autonomous vehicle control its speed intelligently when a traffic jam starts, it’s possible to reduce the amount of braking that all cars begin and also reduces fuel consumption. The fuel saved is as much as 40% when averaged across all the cars in the traffic flow, according to the study’s calculation.
“The AVs counteract the humans’ tendency to produce unstable traffic situations,” according to the study. “The results shown imply that this concept is not a far future but instead could be, in principle, implemented with already existing technology,” indicating that cars with even level 3 autonomy could help improve congestion.
Check out the video of the experiment below:
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