I-24 traffic experiment using technology to solve traffic jams

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) – Traffic jams on Interstate 24 have been under the microscope of researchers this week with what they’re calling the world’s largest traffic experiment.

Vanderbilt University, the University of California at Berkley, Tennessee Department of Transportation and Nissan are conducted the study, called the CIRCLES project, which ends Friday.

Researchers deployed 100 Nissan Rogues on an $11 million stretch of I-24 equipped with high-def cameras and nearly 300 sensors that anonymously relay traffic information and driving patterns.

Artificial intelligence in the cloud then speeds up or slows down the cruise control in the Nissans. Project leaders said one car with adaptive cruise control can improve traffic flow for 100 cars around it.

“I think this will help people everywhere in this country, everywhere there is congestion we can apply this technology,” Liam Pedersen of the Nissan Alliance Innovation Lab said.

The experiment, which is aimed to reduce traffic jams and improve fuel savings, is funded largely through the United States Department of Energy and National Science Foundation.

Over the course of the week, 150 drivers drove the 100 Nissan Rogues for 2,500 hours.

“I mean we cannot build more freeways, and traffic congestion, it’s very painful,” Pedersen said. “With this innovation, I think we make that just a little bit better and we also reduce people’s gas bills.”

Project leaders said the CIRCLES project will offer a new understanding into how the 100 test vehicles influenced traffic and how automotive design and interstate infrastructure can be optimized to lower drive times and make for a more fuel-efficient commute.

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