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A fleet of driverless cars working together to keep traffic moving smoothly can improve traffic flow by at least 35 percent. That’s according to researchers from the UK’s Cambridge University.

The researchers programmed a small fleet of miniature robotic cars to drive on a multi-lane track and observed how the traffic flow changed when one of the cars stopped.

Dr Amanda Prorok from Cambridge’s Department of Computer Science and Technology says: “Our design allows for a wide range of practical, low-cost experiments to be carried out on autonomous cars. For autonomous cars to be safely used on real roads, we need to know how they will interact with each other to improve safety and traffic flow.”

But the report’s co-author Nicholas Hyldmar, warns: “If different automotive manufacturers are all developing their own autonomous cars with their own software, those cars all need to communicate with each other effectively.”

The results were presented at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in Montréal, Canada.

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