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 |  Mar 15 2012, 7:31 PM

You might have wondered what it would be like to have our vehicles drive themselves, but seeing how it could affect roadways as we know it is, well, terrifying.

One of the biggest impacts autonomous cars would have is at intersections. With driverless cars controlling themselves, the need for traffic lights and even stop signs would disappear, streamlining travel. Imagine a world where traffic constantly flowed and we would never get stuck at a traffic light simply because vehicles would communicate with one another to avoid an accident.

Peter Stone, a computer scientist at the University of Texas at Austin explored this idea and with the aid of his researchers, came up with a video showcasing just this concept. “There would be an intersection manager,” Stone says, “an autonomous agent directing traffic at a much finer-grain scale than just a red light for one direction and a green light for another direction.”

Since we don’t live in a perfect world where everyone would suddenly own autonomous cars, the video depicts a mix of both driverless and driver-controlled vehicles on the roadway. The driver-controlled cars are yellow and those people would have to wait for a signal that is based on what everyone else is doing. Stone mentioned that the system could be designed with the flexibility knowing that not all driving decisions will be made by computers.

It’s an interesting thought, but as with all things technology, we can’t even imagine the utter chaos that would ensue if something broke down, never mind the countless other variables that could come into play.

Watch the video after the break.

[Source: The Atlantic Cities]

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