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Automatic driving and intelligent roads filled with sensors to keep traffic from clogging

Full of sensors of automatic driving car open a new common mode, with the intelligent traffic control system, will completely change the city's transport patterns, become no traffic lights and no need for parking space happy world.

The relationship between the car and the city, can be said to be cut, the reason is still disorderly. Today, road traffic is getting more and more congested and air pollution is becoming more and more serious. But in the 20th Century City planning, the car left an indelible mark. "Cars have completely subverted the concept of urban planning in the past," says Corbusier, a Swiss-American architect who declared in his seminal book, "Planning Tomorrow's City," in 1925, by tomorrow.

Nearly 100 years later, we are at a similar turning point. First, urban transport demand forecasts will grow twice times in 2050, in other words, road transport efficiency must be doubled to keep traffic jams at the current (already bad) level. Second, with the rapid integration of information and communications technology, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI), cars, buses and other modes of transport are undergoing major transformations that will once again revolutionize the face of the city.

Auto driving brings a turnaround

Self-driving cars are the vanguard of this revolution. In recent decades, cars have been transformed from the mechanical system of Henry Ford to a veritable computer equipped with wheels. Now the general car is equipped with a large number of sensors to collect internal and external information to help improve driving safety and driving efficiency. New ventures, such as Otto, Zoox and Nutonomy, acquired by Waymo, a GM takeover of Cruise, and Uber, are testing the car's ability to "see" the road as a human eye after adding sensors. Input this information into the on-board AI system, the car turned into automatic driving car, can be in the busy traffic road automatically, without human intervention.

Self-driving cars will let us free up our daily driving hours while making roads safer. It will bring unpredictable changes, comprehensively rewrite the city's traffic rules. On the one hand, we expect more people to start sharing cars, and automatic cars to take different passengers every day, and if so, the city needs only a small portion of the current number of cars. But on the other hand, the situation may not be as good as it might be, says Robin Chase, co-founder and former executive of Zipcar, a car-sharing service company, who said: "Unmanned zombie cars will fill cities and roads." She predicts that career drivers will lose their jobs, that the benefits of transport infrastructure are lower, and that they face a nightmare of pollution, congestion and social unrest.

Will the future become a technological paradise? Or a dystopian nightmare? To solve this problem, we must delve into how self-driving cars change the face of cities and transport patterns.

Share the economy and reduce the number of cars

A car has an average of 96% of the time idle, so it is the best option to share the economy and has the great potential to ease traffic jams. Car-sharing systems such as Zipcar and car2go have dramatically reduced the total number of vehicles in the urban area. The researchers estimate that each shared car can reduce the 9~13 private car on the road.

Currently in the experimental phase of the self-driving car, the estimated after the gradual expansion of the market share, the advantages will be exponential growth, private and public transport demarcation becomes blurred. Your car will take you to work without having to sit in the parking lot and return to pick up anyone on your family, neighbor or social media.

As a result, the use of each car will increase from one hour per day to 24 hours. Our colleague at the Massachusetts Institute of MIT recently published a paper pointing out that Singapore, for example (the first city in the world to open its fleet of self-driving cars), needs only 30% of the current number of vehicles to meet transport needs. In addition to car sharing, automatic vehicles can also open a new common mode. Applications such as Via, UberPool and Lyftline have provided services for different people to share the same vehicle in order to reduce operating costs and individual costs. Self-driving cars can further increase the share rate because all journeys can be managed online. According to our analysis of the MIT Inductive City Laboratory, the potential for vehicle sharing in cities is significant.

The New York City of the United States, for example, is very suitable for vehicle sharing. Our lab's "Wheel cover Program" collects 13,500 licensed taxis from the city, collecting the GPS coordinates and the corresponding time for the 170 million trip locations. We then developed a mathematical model to assess the potential impact of common multiplication on these journeys. The scheme introduces the concept of "shared networks" to maximize the opportunities for vehicle sharing. The quantitative results suggest that sharing taxis can reduce the total number of vehicles by 40% and rarely delay passenger time. Further research shows that cities such as San Francisco, Austria, Vienna and Singapore all benefit from the sharing of vehicles.

Once combined with car sharing, the city may only need 20% of the current number of cars to meet the transport needs of the people. Of course, this is only theoretical value, in real life, it depends on people's acceptance of common and automatic driving technology. But as long as the number of cars is reduced, it is bound to save the cost and resources of building or maintaining transportation infrastructure. And the fewer cars, the less easily blocked roads, not only shorten the traffic time, but also reduce the impact on the environment.

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