Watch just a few selfdriving cars stop traffic jams

first_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Watch just a few self-driving cars stop traffic jams Anyone can start a traffic jam—all it takes is tapping on your brakes. The driver behind you will brake, as will the next driver, starting a shock wave of stop-and-go reactions that can travel backward for kilometers. Now, scientists have shown that a few self-driving cars can prevent such jams—and in some cases double the average speed of surrounding vehicles.The researchers used a video game–style interface to control simulated cars on made-up roadways. In one scenario, the cars drove around a figure eight with a central intersection. In others, one or several lanes of traffic merged, or the cars traversed a Manhattan-like city grid with traffic lights at each crossing. The team looked at various ratios of self-driving cars mixed with regular cars that simulated typical human driving.In each scenario, the researchers tested four algorithms that used reinforcement learning—a type of artificial intelligence (AI) that learns skills through trial and error. In the figure eight and merging scenarios, a central algorithm controlled all self-driving cars, experimenting by changing their patterns of acceleration and braking. In the Manhattan scenario, the AI-controlled traffic lights instead of cars. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country By Matthew HutsonNov. 16, 2018 , 3:55 PMcenter_img The results were impressive. In the figure eight scenario, replacing just one of the 14 “human”-driven cars with a self-driving car doubled the average car speed, the researchers reported last month at the Conference on Robot Learning in Zurich, Switzerland. In the merge scenarios, replacing 10% of the regular cars with self-driving cars also increased overall traffic flow, in some cases doubling the average car speed. The self-driving cars sped up traffic in part by keeping a buffer between themselves and the cars in front of them, forcing them to brake less often. Giving the algorithm control over traffic lights in a Manhattan-style traffic grid increased the number of cars passing through by 7%.The tested algorithms leave plenty of room for improvement, says study author Eugene Vinitsky, an AI researcher at the University of California (UC), Berkeley. That’s why his team is making its programs public. “If anyone has a brilliant solution or algorithm, you can use this framework to test [new ideas],” says Meng Wang, a transportation engineer at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands who’s done related work.Researchers in other areas have created benchmarks for reinforcement learning, and “it’s great that they’re doing it in traffic,” says Daniel Lazar, an electrical engineer at UC Santa Barbara. “I hope to see the work expanded” to control not just car speed but also lane changes.Vinitsky can’t predict when real self-driving cars will help us all get to work faster, but he says some of the new techniques could help our current vehicles. For example, the patterns of traffic-reducing acceleration and braking could be used by the adaptive cruise control systems common in new cars, he says, saving time, gas, and possibly lives. “All the tools are there.” Email Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwelast_img read more