Throughput and Latency and Self-Driving Cars

For the past few months I have been writing about self-driving cars for Forbes.com. My latest post is on the potential for self-driving cars to take throughput (road capacity) and latency (speed) well beyond the plateau at which human drivers stop improving.

“Driving around Naples at 25mph for a year is a triumph, but imagine a self-driving car that can navigate Naples, safely, at 40mph? Or faster? Equipped with an array of sensors and super-computers, self-driving vehicles could react quicker and achieve safer speeds well beyond the ability of human drivers.

Similarly, US highway capacity tops out at about 2,000 vehicles per hour, assuming human drivers. Self-driving (and potentially connected) cars, however, may be able to dramatically decrease the distance between vehicles, and even move in unison with other cars. Think of a pack of bumper-to-bumper race cars traveling at 100mph. The improvement in road capacity would be tremendous.”

Read the whole thing, and also check out the Benedict Evans post on “Tesla, software and disruption” that sparked this line of thought.

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