[OT] Hit and Run

Shane Hathaway shane at hathawaymix.org
Thu Aug 23 11:37:21 MDT 2007

Nicholas Leippe wrote:
> In California, at rush hour, it seems that everyone has gotten the idea that 
> there just is no space, so deal with it.  I've been on 4-lane highways where 
> all four lanes were literally half car lengths apart, all doing 75.  Just 
> squeeze the packets in tighter and send them down the line.  Hover your brake 
> constantly, because there are no 'outs'.

Quite true.  In a sense, CA drivers follow the same principles that
trains depend on.  My wife found it nerve-wracking, but I thought it was
pretty cool.

Although it works smoothly most of the time, the CA system still can't
avoid the fact that humans have a minimum response time of nearly 1
second, and that's only when they're very alert.  However, if we could
wirelessly and securely transmit a brake signal between cars, we could
fix that hole and the freeways could behave even more like trains.  I'm
not talking about cars that drive themselves, I'm just talking about a
single enhancement to human response time that could save lives in
congested areas.

I've been tempted to set up computer simulations of such a system.  The
simulation would include many kinds of drivers.  The simulation might
even be complex enough to require a serious Linux cluster.  (Ha!  I'm on

Oh well, just dreaming.


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