Two researchers at the University of the South Pacific’s
Researcher Dr Bhibhya Sharma, who supervised the research, said that the series of mathematical equations would instruct cars when and how to merge lanes, which could lead to less accidents and ease traffic congestion.
The algorithms are based on the concept of flocking, which, according to Dr Sharma, is a biologically inspired technique commonly used in robotics.
‘One of the advantages of flocking is that robots can work together and achieve what would take individuals far longer,’ he said.
He explained that each car will be controlled by a central processing unit guided by a series of algorithms that control the car.
The processors in the cars communicate with one another and instruct them when to merge lanes and move in formation together.
The team has demonstrated the technique using computer simulation and is currently trialling it in two-wheel robots.
Fellow researcher Dr Utesh Chand said that the cars have targets they move towards and maintain, and when the cars find themselves in a merging situation, one of them is assigned the position of leader and the rest follow.
The challenge now is to develop algorithms that will allow cars to automatically plan how to avoid crashing with the side of the road and cars travelling close by.