Virtual Driving Just Got More Real

Published on December 8, 2010
by Juro Osawa

Picture the road you always drive on. It has two lanes, one for each direction. Now, imagine the same road expanded to four lanes. Is it much better or will the doubled capacity only double traffic? Does it shorten your commuting time?

Those are difficult questions to answer. Whenever traffic authorities plan to build new roads or implement new rules, they gather all types of data to measure the impact and predict the consequences. But even if you know how many cars usually drive in the area at certain hours of the day, it’s difficult to predict how the changes to the road will affect individual drivers–and even harder to predict how individual drivers will react.

But that may become easier if new technology from Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd is successful. The research arm of Japanese technology firm Fujitsu Ltd. said this week that it has developed a new traffic simulation system that virtually creates an environment very similar to real streets of a real city, be it Tokyo, Los Angeles or New York.

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