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A dizzying line of taillights that goes on for miles is enough to ruin anyone’s day. Pressure mounts in your temples and your skull feels like it’s going to crack. Welcome to the traffic jam migraine.
Don’t worry though, the commuter’s burden will eventually be a thing of the past. If there’s one thing luxury cars are good at doing, it’s showing us technology we can expect in econo-boxes years down the road. One of the latest features found at the forefront of cool luxury tech could stand to silence screams from angry drivers stuck in traffic: autonomous driving.
BMW is showcasing a video on YouTube that gives details on their highly-automated driving mode, which essentially drives the car for you.
Nico Kaempchen, the project manager behind the technology, explains that the car will fully take over driving under certain circumstances, but that the driver remains in control at all times. During that period, the car takes advantage of four different sensor systems to stay on track: radar, cameras, laser scanners and ultrasonics.
It’s not as simple as gluing a few sensors onto a 5-Series and hitting the road. Kaempchen tells us in the video that they need to map each road out that the car drove itself on down to the very inch (or centimeter as he says it).
BMW isn’t the only manufacturer to play with the idea of a car that drives itself. On January 24 we published a story about Volvo testing similar technology in what they call a road-train. Of course for Volvo to be involved it had to do with more than convenience. Their iteration involves a self-piloted convoy that can interact with independent traffic with the goal of making the road safer.
BMW ends their video by saying that the research they conducted will go towards improving already existent systems like their Traffic Jam Assistant. We’re not sure how far to look into the future for mass production, but rest assured when it’s here we’ll have a different outlook on traffic jams. You can watch the video below.
Living in Los Angeles and being an automotive enthusiast sometimes doesn’t always mix well together. Some of us here at AutoGuide are based in LA and don’t often get great chances to truly “enjoy” our cars having to regularly sit in traffic staring at brake lights. But now we guess we have it easy since news has broke of a 60-mile long traffic jam in China between Beijing and Zhangjiakou. It’s being caused by road repairs and has been this way since middle of August with the light at the end of the tunnel sometime around September 13th.
Now for anyone that has ever been to Beijing and witnessed the driving there first hand, it’s not exactly what we’d call “by regulation.” In fact, it’s more of a free-for-all to get from point a to point b. Now sprinkle in some road work and a major traffic jam and we’re guessing it’s pure chaos out there. But not all is bad as some drivers have apparently taken up card and chess games while waiting for traffic to move again.
And clever little entrepreneurs have set up shop alongside the highway selling food and drinks at an inflated price. Even the local police has used an upward of 400 officers to get everyone to simmer down.
Everyone knows about the “California Roll,” right? Whatever they call it in your neck of the woods, it’s when you roll slowly through a stop sign instead of coming to a complete stop. This author was recently unfairly ticketed by a Redondo Beach, CA Police Officer, who witnessed yours truly perform this very move, on a 50cc Vespa, at about 3 mph.
According to Gary Lauder, Stop and Yield signs are outdated and inefficient, wasting both time and energy. In the video above, taken at this year’s TED conference, Lauder makes his case, and has us totally convinced. Check it out and share your thoughts….
Now if that isn’t a title that makes you want to read the article, we don’t know what is. Amazingly enough, it’s true. A German student caused a major traffic jam in Bavaria, when, in protest (of what, we’ll never know), he ran into the Hells Angels clubhouse, dropped his pants, threw a puppy into the group, then tried to escape by stealing a bulldozer, which he planned to take to Munich. Just stop and process that for a second….
The Bulldozer, which has a maximum speed of about 10 mph, clearly wasn’t fast enough, and the man caused a 3-mile traffic jam near the southern town of Allershausen. He was later arrested at his home, and is being questioned by German officials.
The puppy is fine.
[Source: UK Telegraph]