We've all been stuck in traffic jams, getting frustrated at the wheel when the traffic has moved just one inch in the last hour. We blame the traffic lights, congestion, road works and other drivers, but the fact of the matter is, we are to blame.
It turns out that we're pretty crap at driving because we're human beings and we tend to react to whatever is going on around us. Machines don't. For example, humans drivers will wait for the car in front to move first when the traffic light turns green. This is highly inefficient. If every car in a line of traffic were to react at exactly the same time, congestion would be eased dramatically as there would be no inefficient movement.
Tailgaters and those that switch lanes often on a motorway also cause traffic jams. But the issue here is that humans just don't have good enough reactions and can't do the calculations required to switch lanes and maintain a constant speed such that traffic is eased.
Artificial intelligence can though and science educator CGP Grey has explained exactly how autonomous cars could completely get rid all those traffic jams and hold ups that are often the bane of our lives. He explains that self-driving cars will keep a constant distance from each other and will match the speeds of other vehicles which he says will keep traffic flowing.
He said: "Self driving cars can be programmed to stay in the middle and accelerate simultaneously."
Autonomous car manufacturers are building in the ability for cars to talk to each and the infrastructure around them. So they could talk to each other and report problems on the road, which could help the computers to plan a better route. The approach to cross roads could be timed to perfection so that cars will be able to pass each other simultaneously, heck, this could even spell the end for traffic lights!
CGP Grey also said that the more autonomous cars that are on an intersection, the more efficient it becomes, because solid lanes of self-driving cars maintaining a set distance would massively increase throughput.
He even suggests banning humans from the road altogether, which I am inclined to agree with to be hones. That way, he said, you could get rid of intersections and traffic lights entirely. But if human beings were driving, they would never be able to drive that precisely. I am eager to see autonomous cars on the road as soon as possible. There are more cars on the roads than ever before and more and more people are getting killed unnecessarily every day. Autonomous cars are definitely a solution to this mess.
Check out his video below