Recently, researchers at the University of Cambridge programmed a small fleet of robotic cars to drive on a multi-lane track and noticed that traffic flow changed when one of the cars stopped. A fleet of driverless cars can improve and decrease the overall traffic by 35% working together, the study suggested.
What is a self-driving car?
A self-driving car, also known as a robotic car, autonomous car, or no driver car, is a vehicle that is capable of sensing its environment and moving with little or no human efforts.
Many companies have gotten into competition lately, including tech giants Google, Uber, and Tesla; more traditional automakers, such as General Motors, Ford, and Volvo have also begun to join the market.
A driverless car could solve a lot of problems connected with driving and traffic. Normally, on the road, when cars are being driven in cooperation with each other, any car behind a stopped car has to stop or slow down, and wait for some time for a gap in the traffic, so that it can get out from behind the other car. However, this doesn’t normally happen on the roads.
With self-driving cars, a queue is formed behind the stopped car and overall traffic flow is slowed down. When the cars will be communicating with each other and driving cooperatively, as soon as the car stops in the middle of the inner lane, it will send signals to the other cars, thus avoiding jams and vastly improving traffic management.
“Autonomous cars could fix a lot of different problems associated with driving in cities, but there needs to be a way for them to work together,” said Michael He, an undergraduate student at Cambridge, who designed the algorithms for the experiment.
Driverless cars are no more the stuff of science fiction. Now, the only thing left to see is how soon they become mainstream and help ease our daily commuting woes.