Road test shows some adaptive cruise control systems can amplify phantom jams

adaptive cruise control is a type of smart cruise control it works just like your old cruise control does except for that has sensors so it can adjust its speed if the vehicle ahead of you slows down one of the key features of these systems is that they are designed to be safe and comfortable for riders to ride in the vehicles but our team is interested in how those cars impact traffic because humans create traffic jams and these technologies take over the driving tasks of the human it's possible that they can make phantom traffic jams better or worse so we basically put a vehicle in front of the adaptive cruise control vehicle and it changes its speed it drives fast and then it dries slow and then it dries fast and slow we watch how the vehicle behind responds to those speed up and slow down events a good adaptive cruise control system for traffic would be one that doesn't slow down any more than the vehicle ahead does and it slows down gracefully a bad for traffic adaptive cruise control system may take a little bit longer to realize the car ahead is slowing down and as a consequence need to slow down more than the vehicle ahead in our previous research we designed a autonomous vehicle technology that's very similar to adaptive cruise control and demonstrated that even at very low penetration rates it's possible for those vehicles to eliminate phantom traffic jams

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