In Study, Driverless Cars Improve Traffic Flow and Safety Through Cooperation

Published: Wednesday, May 22, 2019 - 6:11pm
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University of Cambridge
Robotic cars communicate and cooperate via Wi-Fi.
University of Cambridge
Cooperative robotic cars markedly improved efficiency and safety.

Phoenix has established itself as a test bed for driverless cars but not without incident.

Now, a study from the University of Cambridge in England suggests a way to improve speed and safety of autonomous vehicles.

The results were presented at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Montréal, Canada.

It's a familiar scene: a car stops, and, in a flurry of honks and squealing tires, everyone behind it begins jockeying to merge into the next lane.

But what if cars worked as a team, and cars in the other lane slowed down to let the stuck cars shift over safely?

When researchers tested this idea using small cooperative robot cars, they found traffic flow improved 35% over "egocentric" drivers and 45% over aggressive drivers.

Cooperative cars also proved more effective at avoiding aggressive drivers, improving overall road safety.

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