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Radical Roads Drive Robot Cars

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Autonomous cars hold the potential to change highways forever.

Los Angeles' new Autonomous Traffic Surveillance and Control system could be outdated as soon as engineers redesign streets for driverless cars.

Credit: ThinkStock

Los Angeles has completed the Automated Traffic Surveillance and Control system to synchronize its 4,400 traffic lights using roadway cameras and sensors to measure traffic and a centralized computer system to adjust lights to maintain flow.

The $400-million system, which is designed to enable drivers to cross the city without stopping, is expected to boost travel speeds by 16 percent and reduce trip times by 12 percent.

Although the system is currently cutting-edge, it might be superannuated after engineers redesign streets to make way for autonomous vehicles. Driverless cars are projected to line up close together and travel at speeds faster than currently permissible, maneuvering through unmarked intersections without traffic lights or lane markings.

Autonomous cars will represent 75 percent of all vehicles on the roads by 2040 in the United States, according to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Vehicles such as Google’s self-driving car are emerging, and some cities are experimenting with linked-up roads. The potential exists for such cars to operate on intelligent road networks without congestion or collisions, sharing their intended routes and current positions through a vehicle-to-infrastructure communication system.

The Vehicle Infrastructure Integration Consortium is working toward this in the United States.

From BBC News
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