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Clever cars - the next generation

Monday, May 16, 2011 - 02:10

May 17 - Automated driving systems such as adaptive cruise control may be the latest ''must have'' gizmos but the auto industry is already looking to their successor - cooperative driving - where cars communicate with each other as they go. The technology is in its early stages but this past weekend, researchers drove to Holland to see if their cars would interact. Stuart McDill reports.

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The future of congested roads could be the cooperative car - one that talks to others around it and a control room. It is precisely what this convoy in Holland is doing -- letting the computer iron out the braking and accelerating that often causes traffic jams -- in turn making the roads safer, cutting journey times and saving fuel, according to the Grand Cooperative Driving Challenge. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MAURICE KWAKKERNAAT, GCDC MANAGER SAYING: "In cooperative driving cars communicate with each other but not only with each other but also with systems alongside the road and by doing this we can exchange information -- and by doing that other vehicles can anticipate to the behaviour." The system will act like a much cleverer version of current cruise controls that will brake if they detect an obstacle. This time if a car up ahead has to brake, all those behind it slow down at the same rate and they let the control room know. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MAURICE KWAKKERNAAT, GCDC MANAGER SAYING: "We have equipped several vehicles with communication equipment and communication protocols in order for them to speak with each other and to tell them what their speed is what their heading is. If the first vehicle breaks suddenly all the other vehicles can anticipate on that behaviour. " Dutch research institute TNO say cooperative driving could cut the time lost to traffic jams in half in the next decade and that the technology needed is almost ready. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BASTIAAN KROSSE, TNO SAYING: "With smart phones the communication is still at low speed, but what we really need is a step further with higher speeds. But the fact that we already have these elements as personal devices and also in our cars the next step will not be so far away. I think the future is already starting tomorrow." The test took place on the A270 which already has the technology to talk to the traffic and could be a working example of the road ahead. Stuart McDill, Reuters

Clever cars - the next generation

Monday, May 16, 2011 - 02:10

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