A technology to stop the accordion effect on the roads and save fuel

Saving fuel or electricity has become a priority for many motorists affected by rising energy prices. A life-size experiment conducted by Berkeley University aims to demonstrate that it is possible to reduce gasoline consumption by 10%, as well as greenhouse gas emissions.

The famous “accordion effect” is familiar to motorists: in traffic jams, cars keep moving forward, then brake before moving forward again, and so on. An experiment conducted by the University of Berkeley, supervised by French researcher Alexandre Bayen, aims to demonstrate that autonomous driving technologies can make road traffic flow more smoothly and thus save 10% fuel.

A test with 100 self-driving cars

South of Nashville, the I-24 freeway was invaded for five days by 100 (gasoline) cars equipped with autonomous driving systems and as many drivers behind the wheel. These vehicles circulated on a 6-kilometer loop: the algorithms integrated into the cruise control modulated the cadence of the engine to encourage the drivers to draw inspiration from it.

This experiment, part of the Circles project, produced a mountain of data that scientists will now study. Amaury Hayat, researcher at École des Ponts Paris Tech and author of two algorithms, hopes that the results will inspire manufacturers to integrate this type of technology into their vehicles: ” If enough people activate it at the same time, it results in fuel savings for all traffic “, he explains.

Vehicles stuck in traffic jams could thus better manage traffic collectively and avoid the accordion effect, which represents a not inconsiderable cost in time and energy. ” 10% fuel savings on an entire traffic of tens of thousands of vehicles in this case, that’s many, many savings “, he still assures. Savings in petrol, but also in CO2.

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