This tweet came across my timeline today on what an extremely automated road network could look like, with autonomous cars self-navigating through busy intersection:
This is how self-driving cars would work at an intersection pic.twitter.com/7zeLpaMQpW
— How Things Work (@ThingsWork) March 6, 2015
Looks impressive to the naked eye, doesn’t it?
Square colleague and fellow Quora Top Writer Tim Morgan had more nuanced, engineering-minded perspective:
Like plane autopilots, it wouldn’t be that efficient. This assumes perfect h/w. You need to account for failure modes.
And I mostly agree on principle. It’s not enough to have a cheaper and more efficient system; it also needs to remain reliable and fail reasonably. Fortunately though, I think this system would pass that test – while the movements are a little too quick for human reactions, the cars are spaced far enough apart that simply stopping (i.e., how human drivers react to automotive failures) ought to be sufficient.