Ford Predicts Self-Driving Cars Will Cut Traffic by 2017
By optimizing technologies currently on the market, cars will soon be unclogging traffic jams more efficiently than humans can. After the jam is cleared, control of the car is returned to the driver.
What's the Latest Development?
By combining several technologies that exist today, the automobile company says cars will soon help unclog traffic jams more efficiently than human drivers can. The concept, called Traffic Jam Assist, will use adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and sensors from active park assist to keep traffic flowing efficiently and safely. In fact, safety is perhaps the biggest benefit to self-driving car systems, which can neither drive aggressively nor be distracted the way human drivers are. Another automatic driving tool, developed by Volvo and called City Safety, stops cars in potential accident situations on urban roads.
What's the Big Idea?
In addition to clearing the roads of human driving errors, automated navigation systems will reduce gasoline consumption as well as driving times. "If one in four cars has Traffic Jam Assist or similar self-driving technologies, travel times are reduced by 37.5% and delays are reduced by 20%. That’s because adaptive cruise control (ACC) is better at pacing the car ahead without continual brake, speed-up, brake cycles." Google, which has also been active in creating automated vehicles, has secured Nevada state drivers' licences for its fleet of self-driving cars. How comfortable do you feel about handing control of your car to its on-board computer?
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TuSimple, an autonomous trucking company, has also engaged in test programs with the United States Postal Service and Amazon.
PAUL RATJE / Contributor
- This week, UPS announced that it's working with autonomous trucking startup TuSimple on a pilot project to deliver cargo in Arizona using self-driving trucks.
- UPS has also acquired a minority stake in TuSimple.
- TuSimple hopes its trucks will be fully autonomous — without a human driver — by late 2020, though regulatory questions remain.