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Coming soon: Talking cars that will avoid crashes!
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#1
Talking cars aren't science fiction anymore - thanks to scientists who have developed a set of algorithms that will allow robotic cars
of the future to communicate with each other to help avoid collisions.

An international team, led by Indian-origin scientists Dr Bhibhya Sharma and Dr Utesh Chand of the University of the South Pacific, has developed the mathematical equations which would also instruct robotic cars how to change lanes safely.

According to Dr Sharma, the series of mathematical equations would instruct robotic cars when and how to merge lanes, which could lead to less accidents and ease traffic congestions.

"Flocking is a biologically inspired technique and a strategy 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.

In fact, according to the scientists, each car will be controlled by a centralised brain guided by a series of algorithms. The brains will talk to each other and instruct the cars to merge lanes and move in formation together.

The team demonstrated the technique using computer simulation and is currently trialling it in two wheel robots.

Team member Dr Chand has said that the cars have targets they move towards and maintain and when the cars find themselves in a merging situation, one of them will be given the position of leader, the rest will follow.

The team has written equations for attraction towards the target, enabling cars to stay inside their lanes and avoid crashing into each other. The challenge now is to allow the robot to automatically plan how to avoid crashing with the side of the road and cars travelling close by, they said.

The scientists have presented their findings at the 1st Rim Mathematical Association (PRIMA) conference in Sydney.

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