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Convoys could cut congestion.

Convoys could cut congestion In response to the 8 Questions survey on autonomous cars, there is a lot of congestion caused by driver behaviour (PE February).

Human reaction times can cause a backwards travelling wave. The first driver to respond to an event on the road brakes, the person behind, due to reaction time, brakes a fraction of a second later and has to brake a little harder to avoid hitting the person in front, the person behind them has to brake harder still, and somewhere down the backward wave the traffic comes to a complete halt. This is the reason for delays caused by "sheer weight of traffic".

There is an interesting article covering this called "Traffic jam mystery solved by mathematicians" on

Autonomous vehicles reduce this by having much improved reaction times and carefully calculating the braking force required given the distance to, and speed of, the vehicle in front. These precise calculations are beyond humans.

This can be applied to the creation of an efficient train of vehicles moving in convoy on highways, with very little distance between them. The possibility of communication between autonomous vehicles can further improve their performance and reduce congestion still further.

Graham King, St Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago

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Title Annotation:Letters: Readers write
Author:King, Graham
Publication:Professional Engineering Magazine
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Mar 1, 2017
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