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Want to Triple Highway Capacity? Put Robot Cars on the Road

A new study on the potential benefits of autonomous cars concludes that "platooning" self-driving vehicles could increase highway efficiency by 273 percent, reports Devin Coldewey.
September 8, 2012, 1pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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A paper being presented this week at an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) conference on vehicular technology concludes that "by banding together into groups, driving much closer to one another than humans do, and working out the best possible solution to things like merging and changes in traffic," self-driving cars could dramatically increase the efficiency of the nation's highways. Other recent research supports the conclusions of the paper's author, Patcharinee Tientrakool of Columbia University. 

"However far off it may be, transit officials are probably impatient for that day," writes Coldewey. "Doubling or tripling the capacity of the highways without spending billions on new lanes and other considerations is a city planner's dream - to say nothing of the commuters, whose trip to work would be shorter, safer, and easier."

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Published on Wednesday, September 5, 2012 in NBC
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