• September 3rd, 2014

Much has been made of smart cars’ potential to dramatically reduce the millions of automobile collisions that occur each year and the tens of thousands of fatalities that result from these crashes. But collision avoidance is only one of the benefits that giving cars bigger brains will yield. According to a report released on 28 August by the Intelligent Transportation Society of America, giving vehicles the ability to talk to each other and to roadside equipment could save 420 million barrels of oil over 10 years. Not burning that petroleum, says the report, will prevent roughly 70 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere. Additional enhancements to traffic infrastructure—say, coordinating traffic lights so drivers don’t have to stop and start at each intersection, or delivering information that lets drivers steer clear of traffic jams—could save an additional 117 million barrels over that same period.