Can Autonomous Vehicles Improve Traffic Flow?

Monday, March 30, 2020 - 14:59

University of Arizona researchers have been carrying out a project that could prove autonomous vehicles can improve traffic flow and decrease fuel consumption.

The project aims to demonstrate for the first time in real traffic that using intelligent control of a small number of connected and automated vehicles can improve the energy efficiency of all the vehicles by reducing traffic congestion, said Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Professor Jonathan Sprinkle, AZ Big Media reports.

“More and more passenger vehicles come with features that automate some driving tasks,” Sprinkle said. “New advancements in machine learning are showing how small changes to those features can work to address societal-scale challenges, such as the amount of fuel spent while sitting in stop-and-go traffic during a daily commute.”

The project is a continuation of the research team’s prior work, which introduced an autonomous car into a traffic circle to calm stop-and-go traffic waves, resulting in smoother flow and significantly reduced fuel consumption.

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