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posted by Fnord666 on Friday December 15 2017, @07:36PM   Printer-friendly
from the automate-that-already dept.

Gotta keep 'em separated:

When unexplained traffic jams happen, says an MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) study, you can probably blame tailgaters. The researchers say that if drivers kept an even distance between cars rather than driving too close to the vehicle in front, traffic flow would remain even. This "bilateral control," could double the speed of the average vehicle on busy highways.
...
This ideal is very different from what is the norm in most thinking about traffic, especially by those stuck in it. Drivers (and, consequently, vehicle control systems) tend to be looking ever forward, responding only to what's ahead and largely ignoring what's behind. Thus, in stop-and-go or slow-and-go situations (traffic jams), each vehicle reacts to the vehicle in front, causing intermittent slowdowns or stops (jams) in wave-like patterns. When vehicles are working to maintain equal distances both from the car in front and the vehicle behind, the MIT paper contends, these wave patterns are minimized and traffic flows more smoothly.

Maintaining even spacing facilitates lane changes and merges as well.


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  • (Score: 2) by captain normal on Saturday December 16 2017, @06:09AM (3 children)

    by captain normal (2205) on Saturday December 16 2017, @06:09AM (#610630)

    With all the millions of cars on the road that are not autonomous I think it will be quite a while before that happens. Then there all of us who love our classic sports and muscle cars and antique cars from before WW II. Then there are all the folks into ratrods. Are you going to force all of us off the roads? Who is going to enforce that?

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by lentilla on Saturday December 16 2017, @07:19AM (2 children)

    by lentilla (1770) on Saturday December 16 2017, @07:19AM (#610644)

    Who is going to enforce that?

    The insurance premiums.

    • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Saturday December 16 2017, @10:59AM (1 child)

      by deimtee (3272) on Saturday December 16 2017, @10:59AM (#610675) Journal

      What is this "insurance premiums" of which you speak?

      --
      No problem is insoluble, but at Ksp = 2.943×10−25 Mercury Sulphide comes close.
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by lentilla on Sunday December 17 2017, @09:09AM

        by lentilla (1770) on Sunday December 17 2017, @09:09AM (#610927)

        There are two basic components of an insurance policy: the "premium" and the "excess" (at least that's what they are called in my neck of the woods). The premium is the amount you pay on a regular basis. The excess is the extra amount you pay when you make a claim on the policy.

        I was originally suggesting that government bodies won't need to force self-driven cars off the road. The insurance premiums for everything but autonomous vehicles will head into the stratosphere (and likely the excesses as well). Suffice to say that when autonomous vehicles hit prime-time the cost of insurance for self-driven cars will rapidly rise until very few will be able to afford the cost.

        Insurance companies are going to love automated cars. It removes the one defining element of insurance (chance) from the equation and allows them to write their own cheques. Pity help the rest of us when the insurance industry discovers that Ford has 12% more accidents that Toyota (for instance). All Ford owners will immediately pay 24% more (and Toyota owners will pay no less).