Technology has been an important part of modern cars. These days, you’d be hard-pressed to find a car on the road that doesn’t have electronics. And now, an experiment has been completed to use the technology to end traffic jams and improve overall mobility.
Nissan North America, along with the Circles Consortium of researchers from Vanderbilt University, UC Berkeley, Temple University and Rutgers University-Camden, coordinated with the Tennessee Department of Transportation for an experiment that aims to increase fuel economy and ease traffic.
The five-day open road test was conducted between November 14 and 18 on a newly opened, sensor-filled stretch of US Interstate 24 called I-24 Motion.
Using 100 specially equipped Nissan Rogue units, the experiment wanted to test a cruise control system equipped with artificial intelligence and see how it influences the speed and driving behavior of the surrounding cars.
Initial findings showed that a single AI-equipped vehicle can cause a positive ripple effect to help alleviate human-caused traffic congestion between 20 surrounding cars. The next few months will be used by the Circles team to analyze data from the five-day I-24 Motion “smart highway” experiment.
Notably, I-24 Motion is the only automotive test environment of its kind in the world. It stretches four miles just southeast of downtown Nashville, equipped with 300 4K digital sensors capable of recording 260 million vehicle miles per year.
On November 16th alone, the system logged a total of 143,010 miles and 3,780 hours of driving.
“The I-24 Motion system, combined with the vehicle energy models developed in the Circles project provided an estimate of the fuel consumption of the entire traffic flow during those hours. The concept we hope to prove is that by leveraging this new traffic system to collect data and estimate traffic and apply artificial intelligence technology to existing cruise control systems, we can alleviate traffic congestion and improve fuel economy,” he said. the Circles team said in a joint statement.
I-24 Motion is a permanent infrastructure, meaning that the test bed will always be available to researchers. Toyota North America and General Motors also supported the five-day experiment in November, offering two additional test units: the Toyota RAV4 and Cadillac XT5.