Complexities When AI Autonomous Cars Attempt Zipper Merging

 Complexities When AI Autonomous Cars Attempt Zipper Merging

By Lance Eliot, the AI Trends Insider

You undoubtedly know what a zipper merge is, though the name of it might seem unfamiliar.

Here’s how it goes. Imagine you are driving along on the highway, minding your own business, when you spy up ahead an indication that your lane is being narrowed out and you’ll need to get over into the other lane next to you. An electronic board sign is flashing warnings that your existing lane is going to end soon (“Merger Ahead” it veritably screams at you). In addition, a series of weather-worn red cones are set up in your lane that inch you over, step-by-step, and are positioned to gradually shunt all traffic out of the lane you are in.

It is the classic 2-into-1 traffic control squeeze play.

This is also commonly known as the zipper merge because it looks like a zipper as cars are pinned into veering from two lanes into one. Anyone that drives around with any frequency is apt to encounter these 2-into-1 situations on any given day and during any given driving journey. They exist aplenty.

So, what do you do?

One answer is that upon immediately spotting that a merger request is being proffered, you would as quickly and as safely as feasible guide your car into the next lane over and expeditiously get out of the lane that is going to disappear. You would not wait. You would not remain in the vanishing lane. You would act decisively and obey what you believe to be a lawful order to switch lanes. Let’s label that kind of driver as an Early Merge type of person, employing a driving strategy of trying to perform the merging action as soon as possible.

Another answer to the driving scenario is to try and remain in the fading lane as long as you can. The idea is to wait until the last possible moment and then dart over into the remaining available lane. In some ways, this is kind of exciting and maybe provides a bit of a thrill. In any case, the person using this approach is apt to be thinking that there is no particular reason to act like a scaredy-cat and abandon a perfectly good lane, postponing the abandonment until the only option left involves getting out and into the bordering lane. We’ll label this kind of driver as the Late Merge type of person.

Okay, so which camp do you fall into, the Early Merge members of society or the Late Merge members of our world? This is where the heated and acrimonious debates start to unfold.

The Early Merge types are bound to exhort that the Late Merge people are miscreants. Those Late Merge drivers are outright idiots that do not realize they ought to obey the indicated signs and get over in a prudent, timely, and earliest feasible way. Doing so is decidedly safer for all concerned. When those dolts dart over at the endpoint of merging, they are going to create trouble, heaps, and heaps


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