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Berkeley Lab use machine learning to optimise traffic and reduce pollution

Berkeley Lab scientists are using artificial intelligence to make transportation more sustainable, the company’s website has revealed on Sunday.

The traffic-smoothing project is dubbed CIRCLES (Congestion Impact Reduction via CAV-in-the-loop Lagrangian Energy Smoothing) and is led by Berkeley Lab researcher Alexandre Bayen, professor of electrical engineering and computer science at UC Berkeley and director of UC Berkeley’s Institute of Transportation Studies.

“The potential for cities is enormous,” said Bayen. “Experiments have shown that the energy savings with just a small percentage of vehicles on the road being autonomous can be huge. And we can improve it even further with our algorithms.”

CIRCLES is based on a software framework called Flow which use deep reinforcement learning to train autonomous vehicles to drive in ways to simultaneously improve traffic flow and reduce energy consumption.

Flow also allows deep learning algorithms to analyse satellite images combined with traffic information from cell phones and data already being collected by environmental sensors to improve air quality predictions.

“Thirty per cent of energy use in the U.S. is to transport people and goods,” said Tom Kirchstetter, director of Berkeley Lab’s Energy Analysis and Environmental Impacts Division, “and this energy consumption contributes to air pollution, including approximately half of all nitrogen oxide emissions, a precursor to particular matter and ozone – and black carbon (soot) emissions.

“Applying machine learning technologies to transportation and the environment is a new frontier that could pay significant dividends – for energy as well as for human health”, Kirchstetter said.

Flow was launched in 2017 and released to the public in September. Through funding from the Laboratory Directed Research and Development program, Bayen and his team will use Flow to soon create and deploy the first connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV)-enabled system to actively reduce stop-and-go phantom traffic jams on motorways.

To find more about Flow you can check Berkeley Lab’s website here.






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