In the category of ‘Why haven’t they developed this years ago’ Kicking Tires is reporting that Ford is developing a traffic jam fighter –
“Traffic Jam Assist uses several of Ford’s current radar and camera systems (active park assist, adaptive cruise control and Lane-Keeping Aid) to help a vehicle keep pace with others in traffic and provide automated steering control so it stays in its current lane. It also detects changing traffic patterns on the road ahead and communicates them to the driver. So far, the prototype system works in highway situations where lanes are clearly marked and there are no pedestrians, bicyclists or animals present.
‘Individual simulation studies have found that where 25% of vehicles on a stretch of road are equipped to automatically follow the traffic ahead, journey times can be reduced by 37.5% and delays reduced by 20% — saving millions of gallons of fuel each year,’ Ford said in a statement.
The automaker hopes this system will reduce driver stress and ease traffic gridlock, especially since traffic jams are on the rise because of population growth around the world.” – Source: Kicking Tires
Traffic jams usually form through what is called a shockwave. The following is a simple illustration of how a traffic jam is formed:
MIT Video – Formation of a ‘phantom traffic jam’
By overriding stop start driver behavior, these automated driver systems allow traffic to flow smoother and average speeds increase as a result.
Remember this theory the next time you are stuck in traffic!