Like a vaccine, Self-driving cars might be able to cure traffic jams in major cities where they are most common.
The research was led by Luis Martinez of the International Transport Forum with scientists from Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development carrying out the study. Although it mainly dealt with small and middle-sized European towns, the results are eye-opening even for skeptics of autonomous vehicles. According to the study, if self-driving “Taxibots” were used on the streets of major capitals, street traffic would be greatly reduced. In the case of Lisbon, which the scientists used in their research, self-driving robotic cars would clear the city of 90 percent of its cars, while leaving over 200 football fields’ worth of space, resulting in 65 percent less traffic during rush hour.
Factors taken into account by the study include local population, size of the city, commuting habits, car ownership and more and a model of mobility pattern was developed based on Lisbon. The researchers simulated the presence of Taxibots at possible pickup and drop off locations, in addition to wait times and the way a dispatch system would operate. Numerous automakers worldwide are working on autonomous-driving technologies and Google has invested into its own self-driving car.
“It is conceivable that a shared fleet of self-driving vehicles could completely obviate the need for traditional public transport,” the study said.