This picture of gridlock traffic in LA shows why we need self-driving cars


The few days leading up to Thanksgiving are always a nightmare from a driving perspective, and this shot of gridlock traffic in West Los Angeles is a testament to that:

ABC7 Eyewitness News took the aerial shot of the standstill traffic on Interstate 405 as commuters leave and enter LA. Congestion in LA is, of course, nothing new — a 2015 Traffic Index report found that LA is the most congested city in the United States.

But naturally the Thanksgiving rush only makes matters worse, and commuters outside of LA are experiencing similar headaches as well.

The shot is a reminder of how we can benefit from self-driving cars. 

For one, self-driving cars are safer. A study by the Eno Centre for Transportation found that if 90% of the cars on American roads were autonomous, the number of accidents would fall from 6 million a year to 1.3 million. Not only does that put more people out of harm’s way, but reduces traffic that would otherwise be caused from accidents.

Since self-driving cars could communicate with each other, the general flow of traffic could improve as well.

Additionally, many of the companies investing in self-driving tech are looking to use it for on-demand taxi systems. Tesla, General Motors, and Uber are just three of several companies embracing that tactic. If more people step away from personal car ownership and embrace communal taxi systems, that could also help reduce traffic.

It’s also generally easier to build autonomous tech for highway driving, so these effects are more in reach than solving self-driving tech for urban environments.

These futuristic forms of transportation are still in their early days, but traffic like the one on I-405 are a reminder of why moonshot projects to fix our transit system are needed. 

SEE ALSO: We rode in Uber’s self-driving car — here’s what it was like

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from SAI