‘Ghost’ vehicles show how self-driving cars save energy

A three-year research project has led to algorithms that help autonomous, wirelessly-connected vehicles anticipate the behavior of other vehicles to reduce braking and save energy.

The technology was developed by Clemson University mechanical engineering professor Ardalan Vahidi, and his team, according to a news release.

The less a vehicle brakes, the less energy it wastes through heat and the more energy efficient it becomes, the news release said. The team found its algorithms resulted in energy savings ranging from 8% to 23%, depending on the scenario…

While it wasn’t part of the research, the team also observed that the technology may alleviate traffic jams, the release said. With the cars anticipating what the preceding ghost vehicles would do, it smoothed out traffic flow, helping alleviate stop-and-go congestion…

The paper brings to an end three years of research funded with $1.16 million by the U.S. Department of Energy.