This video explains how self-driving cars will eliminate traffic

By Shawn Knight · 25 replies
Sep 1, 2016
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  1. On the way home from the grocery store a few weeks ago, my girlfriend was complaining about “all this traffic” and how our ice cream might melt before we get it in the freezer. “We’re part of the problem,” I said, thinking to myself how silly it sounds to complain about traffic when we’re contributing to the congestion just as much as the next driver.

    In retrospect, I suppose we – all of us humans – aren’t just part of the problem, we’re the entire problem.

    The clip above from YouTube user CGP Grey does an outstanding job of explaining exactly what causes traffic jams (it’s probably not what you think) and how a world that’s void of all human drivers will make traffic jams a thing of the past. It’s a fascinating watch that’ll really change how you look at traffic.

    Found is a TechSpot feature where we share clever, funny or otherwise interesting stuff from around the web.

    Permalink to story.

  2. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,715   +3,696

    Self driving cars will not eliminate traffic. There is an adjective missing from the title. One that describes the type of traffic being eliminated.
    Darius Moon likes this.
  3. roxxas2

    roxxas2 TS Enthusiast Posts: 65   +22

    No, I think it will eliminate all traffic. In fact, if every car were replaced with a self-driving car, there wouldn't be any traffic anywhere, there would be no accidents, and happiness would go up 50% ! Once we eliminate these mistake-prone humans from the road, we'll be on the fast track to evolution.
    Reehahs and DaveBG like this.
  4. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,736   +3,757

    I've always found it amusing how people drop "evolution" into thought of making people less skilled and thereby less sophisticated.

    In any event... this will never eliminate traffic. Rather it will reduce peak congestion and lead to spontaneous mass gridlock when bugs and system glitches occur.
  5. RevD14

    RevD14 TS Booster Posts: 76   +78

    Yeah imagine the first massive hack on self driving cars.
    learninmypc and davislane1 like this.
  6. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,329   +1,978

    Dependability will have to improve significantly and lets not forget, there will be some people that simply refuse to use the automatic drive system. In fact, it could well bring back the age of shade tree mechanic's that will find creative ways to eliminate the automation just to maintain "control" over one of the few apparently perceived "freedoms" we have left. Also, the assumption that automation will eliminate those traffic snakes remains to be seen. There will still be some lag between the car in front pulling away and the next car starting up ... maybe only in milliseconds, but they will add up and cause some slow downs. And what will the poor cyclist do if we eliminate all traffic signals? Do they simply barge through the intersection and hope the automated vehicles will stop, swerve, etc? The concept has benefits, but I think it still has a very long way to go before all the bugs are worked out.
    Darius Moon likes this.
  7. GreenNova343

    GreenNova343 TS Maniac Posts: 208   +115

    Eliminate traffic jams & congestion? Nope, not gonna happen. Traffic congestion happens when the number of vehicles on the roadway exceed the expected volume of traffic that the highway planners envisioned for that particular section. It might help reduce accidents & traffic violations, but unless people stop using vehicles (or start utilizing more mass transit systems/car pooling options/other methods where you have people sharing the same vehicle) it's not going to reduce the traffic volume.

    What it should eliminate, however, are the following:
    -- distracted drivers that don't look before attempting to switch lanes.
    -- drivers that don't pay attention when the vehicles in front of them start moving again.
    -- inconsiderate drivers that ignore the lane closure or exit signs & deliberately wait until the last second to cut over in front of the 30+ vehicles that were already in the lane they needed to be in.
  8. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,286   +902

    What's funny is the video is titled as "simple solution" :)

    It would definitely lead to less traffic, you can't eliminate the need for traffic lights, unless you restructure everything so that pedestrians are not an issue through high/underbridges.

    Commuter services would be awesome with self-driving cars, the need to not purchase one will also be very useful in reducing how many are out there.
  9. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,736   +3,757

    I keep saying we need real driver training, just like truck drivers and pilots get. No license unless you demonstrate proficiency with a motor vehicle.

    Won't ever happen, though. Local gov't would "lose" tons of money because most infractions would disappear and fewer people would drive cars.
  10. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,923   +756

    I agree in principle with theory put forth in this video. However, on looking deeper into this video, one should realize that this is a bunch of marketing blather made by Amazon to promote self-driving cars because, guess what - Amazon is working on self-driving cars - Who would have thought?

    So far, I see these companies that are working on self-driving cars as an equivalent to IoT people working on IoT with their thoughts of siphoning the money out of everyone's wallet while not giving a rat's a$$ about whether their IoT devices are secure. IMO, the same thing goes for the people jumping on development of self-driving car technology. Everyone wants to be in on the market first because the early adopters are likely to be the ones that make the most money from the technology.

    However, as we saw with Tesla and its passive sensor technology, jumping in without in-depth consideration of the various aspects of self-driving technology will get people killed - just as it did with the Tesla and the stupid use of a passive sensor when an active sensor would almost certainly have prevented that death.

    Good luck, Amazon. Right now, I am not buying your marketing blather especially on self-driving cars. In fact, Amazon, you are a company that I try, successfully I might add, to avoid doing business with. In fact, my life is better without you Amazon.
    Darius Moon likes this.
  11. Levi Sterling

    Levi Sterling TS Booster Posts: 80   +26

    These comments are entertaining, but I'm subbed to Grey and I have already seen this video.
  12. Lurker101

    Lurker101 TS Evangelist Posts: 819   +343

    Likewise. The only thing that really surprised me is that he actually uploaded a video.
  13. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,973   +2,527

    Well first of all, if you weren't so damned cheap, you'd take her out to a bistro for the ice cream. I don't go out in a non air conditioned car when it's 95 degrees out to buy ice cream, and neither should you. You could try the sensible thing, and get your ice cream during off peak hours. Half the melt happens while you're standing in the check out line the same time as the rest of the pack.

    But the real question, is if a sane person, who thinks they'd like to retain their autonomy on the road and else where, really needs to listen to some pseudo-intellectual snot bag, whose primary motivation for making said video, is selling books for Amazon written by one of the biggest con artists of all time.

    1: I really dislike being referred to as , "a monkey".

    2: None of Musk's plans EVER take into consideration population growth, only putting money into his pocket, while complaining how badly the big car companies are, "picking on him", while on his way to the bank. If you read or watch Sci-fi, you'll know where Musk gets all his ideas.

    3: The video is propaganda and FUD, brought on by the perceived emotional instability of people today. After all, we, as human drivers, "need to know when the red light is going to turn green, to avoid having a nervous breakdown". Just ask the talking a**hole, er, I mean "talking head", in charge of Audi.

    4: Assuming everyone bought a self driving electric car tomorrow, in another maybe 50 years our population will likely double, so we'd need twice as many of them because of population growth. Whether or not electric cars are more efficient, at some point, becomes a moot point, since our resources will be taxed to the breaking point even with much more efficient utilization of energy.

    I'm guessing you haven't priced the monthly parking space in the center of a big city recently. How about a transit pass? Didn't think so. None of these big dreams of "an asphalt utopia", take into account how much they'll be able to extort from you for a ride to work on the, "new improved driver-less highway system".

    When I grow up, I want to be a nail biting ninny just like you, who thinks being carted around in a mechanical box because it's "safer", is a hallmark of "evolution".

    If you think about it, cattle don't drive themselves to slaughter. Hey, maybe they're, "evolving" too. :oops:

    And about the whole, "when I grow up thing", I'm already in my late 60's. And as a matter of fact, I've survived our "backwards" human driver highway system since I was 15, with cars, trucks, and on a motorcycle.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2016
    techcurious and Darius Moon like this.
  14. alabama man

    alabama man TS Maniac Posts: 372   +238

    Best way to reduce traffic is to stop having children. We don't have enough resources for all and never anyone brings up that maybe we don't need to make more people all the time.

    I've been to countries where everybody accelerates at the lights but it's getting less and less common as people don't get punished for doing things while driving. Traffic would go super fast if you lost you're licence first time they caught u not focusing on traffic.

    And someone said that get rid of all normal cars here in the comments, easy to say if you live in US. Here car tax is 80% of the price of the vehicle so even normal family cars cost 40k € and up. If they wan't people going to work they need a transfer period of 10-20 years at minimum to allow everyone to get enough money for new self driving car. Those who get one early will suffer as they're cars will make room automatically and all the normal car **** heads will overtake you and cause all sorts of problems for the ai. When they figure out how to get everyone to switch to them it will be good, but I'm just fearing they will ban normal cars and as these will cost too much cars will come thing of the rich.
  15. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,973   +2,527

    I do, and at every chance I get.
  16. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,715   +3,696

    Please look up the definition of traffic.
  17. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,973   +2,527

    That member is just spouting regurgitated propaganda. No thought has gone into it, and hence the lack of necessary skills, (such as foreknowledge of the definitions of words), to write with any semblance of intellect.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2016
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  18. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,715   +3,696

    I'm beginning to think that about Shawn.
    captaincranky likes this.
  19. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,973   +2,527

    Now, now, that's not very nice Cliff....:oops:

    EDIT: In fairness though, much of what "news makers" spout, is nothing but pure hogwash and propaganda. And unfortunately, "unbiased reporting", is actually in furtherance of those efforts.

    Although, Shawn does put a bit of his own spin on those, but only occasionally..;)
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2016
  20. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,715   +3,696

    When someone doesn't engage in a community, I'm sure they don't care. In fact there is only two of Techspot's staff that shows they do care.
  21. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,286   +902

    I think you didn't get it, the price of getting a car and having to maintaining it for 2 years (insurance, parking, average gas usage) vs transit pass and taxi/uber/whatever, you can't go wrong. This is highly dependant on a working public system transportation.

    With self driven commuting systems, this would be even more feasible.
  22. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,973   +2,527

    In your version, the "convenience" comes from having autonomous vehicles in constant motion, but closer to your home than is currently available. Even in the "big city" people have to walk to transit stops.

    Now, as today's news reports often state, budget deficits are becoming increasingly more common. And public transit is a area which often gets hit hard. You think all the corrupt politicians across the globe are suddenly going to divert the massive amounts of funding required to make your vision of public transportation a shining reality? Dream on *&^#$%@ !@#$(*&?

    The next time you drive a couple of miles to the convenience store, get back to me on how long you think you might have had to wait until a self driving car might "happened by", and how long you might have to wait for one to bring you back.

    All the pie in the sky, "self driving cars would solve everything set", mostly have given it no thought, and particularly in reference to what they have to put up with to deal with public transit today.

    I figure they might be great if you could afford, (and were willing live in), a tiny condo in Manhattan, but pretty much worthless for every place else a suburban family might want to go.

    Besides, a trans pass and a car, "car for home use, and a bus or train get to the office", are a very real situation for great numbers of people today.

    So, while you're planning for this "Brave New World" of self driving cars, better be damned certain you're going to be very rich when it gets here.

    Oh well, Maybe Hillary's 15 dollar minimum, wage will make it OK for everyone. (right).
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2016
  23. Brock Kane

    Brock Kane TS Addict Posts: 183   +104

    Everything in that video is very true! No more Monkeys driving cars! It's so true! So many morons on the road have no clue on how to drive!

    Look how many dumb asses slow the Left (FAST) lane down!

    No more human drivers! Come on driverless cars! YES!!!!
  24. techcurious

    techcurious TS Rookie

    Did they just call me a monkey? :*(
  25. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,973   +2,527

    Why don't you take this garbage and head back to Facebook with it?

    You're the only person in the world who knows how to drive, right?
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2016

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