A Honda smartphone app has been tested in Indonesia, proving that it can significantly reduce traffic jams and improve fuel efficiency by up to 22%.
The idea is to try and synchronize the way vehicles are driven, according to the research, and the experiment took place between September 2012 and February 2013 on a public road in Jakarta, Indonesia.The problem is usually that drivers tend to maintain a safe distance between their car and the one in front, and they reduce speed drastically in order to do so. The car behind them does the same, and so on, decreasing traffic efficiency and increasing fuel consumption.
The application monitors the way the car accelerates and decelerates, and the smartphone app would use color coded screens to guide drivers – when the screen was green, it meant that the car was driven in sync with the other ones. If it wasn't, it would show a blue screen, as you can see in the image below ( the smartphone used looks like a Samsung Galaxy S3).
Two types of testing using the application were performed, one in which the smartphone worked by itself, and one in which all of the smartphones were connected to a cloud system. Fuel efficiency was increased by 20% for the first type of test, while a traffic jam was delayed by up to six minutes and an average of three. With the second method, where the system was interconnected, fuel efficiency was 22% better, while the traffic jam occurrence was delayed by six minutes (four on average).
The results were obtained by comparing traffic and fuel efficiency on two consecutive days, with and without the system.
Now, I'm sure self-driving cars will know how to manage such things on their own, but until then, this seems like a pretty good idea and hopefully it will be applied in as many places as possible.
Until then, I hope the app will be available to everyone soon. Would you use it, if it were?