NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) — Research has kicked off on Interstate 24 for an experiment that will explore "phantom traffic jams."
The study is led by Vanderbilt University and University of California, Berkeley, in coordination with Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) and Nissan North America. It'll be the largest open-track field experiment in the world.
The "CIRCLES" project is a 100-car, five-day driving experiment integrated into real traffic. It uses artificial intelligence (AI) from 2,500 hours of driving to assess the impact of vehicles with modified, adaptive cruise control to smooth traffic. The experiment will study the increase of fuel economy, improvement of air quality and reduction of commute times.
Dan Work with Vanderbilt University says, "For these phantom traffic jams we know that one driver making a break suddenly can turn into a ripple affect, that down the freeway creates a huge wave of tail lights. In the same way, our vehicles are trying to combat that. They're trying to make small changes to the way traffic is changing."
Work believes this project is just what the future needs. He adds, “Good drivers can anticipate the traffic ahead and don’t race just to slow down. Unfortunately, I think it’s a lot harder to train drivers to be better than it is to build smarter cruise control .”
Lee Smith with TDOT says this project could help the growing traffic concerns as more people move to the area.
We're going from being a more rural state to a more urban state. And so using technology in every way possible to improve reliability and safety is our goal.
FOX 17 News is told one car with automated software should ease traffic for 100 cars around them.
It's taking place from Nov. 14 to 18 on a $11 million testbed known as "I-24 MOTION," using Nissan Rogues running automation software to positively affect traffic.
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