Robo Traffic

Distracted drivers are not at fault, according to new research. The Robotic Automotive Administration yesterday announced that car manufacturers are responsible for the traffic and injuries caused by distracted drivers, not the drivers themselves.

“It’s simple, really. Humans are designed to talk, to look, to interact for short periods of time. They aren’t designed to drive long distances in complicated environments in sub-par conditions. They get tired. They get emotional. So why are we blaming the human when they feel the need to check their social media?” says the RAA release, “If we give a knife to a toddler, can we blame him if he cuts himself?”

Vehicle technology, the report says, has improved in areas of efficiency and comfort, but it has failed to keep up with the trend of mobile phones and social media. The report goes on to cite the lack of a push from car manufacturers to develop automated cars. While it makes no absolute claims, it does imply that they have their own agenda for keeping people behind the wheel.

“We cannot blame social media. We cannot blame communication technology. Above all, we cannot blame the user. We have the capability (to created automated vehicles). We have cameras and sensors, actuators and high speed processors, navigation and traffic warnings. There is absolutely no reason why we cannot see automated cars on the road, which would alleviate congestion, reduce the number of serious incidents and improve the quality of life of all commuters.”

Bee-Gone, Traffic!

Nature has inspired town planners in an unusual way. The hexagonal pattern of honey-comb is chosen by bees for the close-packed arrangement and efficient use of space and this has led city designers to create plans for blocks to be six sided.

A new ‘hexasect’ street system is being trialed in China in a bid to curb traffic before it begins. The ‘hexasect’ design was first suggested over a decade ago, yet only recently, with the aid of advanced computer generated trials, it has been shown that congestion can be reduced by more than a quarter compared with traditional square or Cartesian based road systems.

“It’s counter-intuitive to the way we would normally plan a city,” Xian Xiao, spokesperson for the HUA group in charge of planning the new town, “Yet the simulations show that there is no better way. Roads with one and only one intersection and a clear set of rules reduces the need for negotiation. It scales incredibly well.”

The new concept also allows for tighter packing of building, reducing the strain on infrastructure, leading to a more efficient city that is cheaper overall to operate.

“The naming of streets may take some getting used to, since there are no long-running streets, however we are confident that this is a minor drawback to a very enticing prospect.”ChesterLogoSmall