Autonomous vehicles could help traffic, but not in near future

Autonomous vehicles could help traffic, but not in near future

Nashville is voting on a far-reaching transit proposal, and months of debate leading up to election day has included whether Autonomous vehicles might be the solution to the city’s gridlock woes.

Certainly not anytime in the near future, says one of the country’s foremost experts. but Dan Work, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, also says his promising research shows adding Autonomous vehicles to roadways could end the stop-and-go traffic that drives commuters insane. On a closed track, his team monitored 21 cars – one of them first driven by a person and then switched to Autonomous operation.

“We saw that, not only did the stop-and-go wave disappear, but the transition from stop-and-go traffic to smooth flow resulted in fuel consumption reduction of all the other vehicles of up to 40 percent,” Work said.

The experiment didn’t include lane changes, merges or wide variations in vehicles that drivers experience on regular roads, but future research will, Work said.

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Autonomous vehicles could help traffic, but not in near future

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