The recent First Rim Mathematical Association (PRIMA) conference in Sydney featured a demonstration of how the flocking technique could be used to control cars. Bhibhya Sharma and Utesh Chand, researchers at the University of the South Pacific's School of Computing, Information, and Mathematical Sciences, presented a computer simulation of how merging traffic would be controlled by a centralized brain and a series of algorithms. The researchers say that flocking, inspired by biology, is a common robotics strategy. "One of the advantages of flocking is that robots can work together and achieve what would take individuals far longer," Sharma says. The centralized brain would tell cars how to move in formation together, and the algorithms would create targets that they must move toward and maintain to avoid moving outside of their lanes and crashing into each other. The team is testing the technique on two-wheel robots.
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