SANTA CLARA, Calif.
— Computer processors are becoming so powerful that they can be used to control entire cities, according to a new computer science study.
The study, published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, used a computer simulation to predict that by the end of the century, cities could have millions of self-driving vehicles.
“The main challenge in creating autonomous systems is to make the software so that it doesn’t just mimic the behavior of humans, but that it also mimics the behavior,” said the study’s lead author, Jeroen Van de Vijver, a professor at the University of Leiden.
Using a computer model of a city’s streets, roads, buildings and other infrastructure, Van de Vinver’s team developed a computer program that would simulate an automated city.
The computer program uses a set of “tiles” to determine which way to go through an area.
When a tile changes direction, the algorithm updates its position based on the changes.
It’s not an ideal system, Van De Vijver said, but it is a better representation of what a city might look like than a human operator would have to do.
In a typical city, a computer will determine which path to take, based on where the terrain meets highways, Van der Vijver said.
This algorithm, though, takes into account the number of people in the city and how many people live nearby.
It then uses those factors to figure out which path would be best for the most people.
That’s not the case in an autonomous city, which is designed to make decisions on its own, Van den Vijver explained.
He compared it to the way cars use GPS, which the computer learns and uses to determine what to do based on data.
The city would have the ability to make autonomous decisions based on a lot of data, not just what it sees in the map, he said.
The study’s findings are important because autonomous vehicles could potentially replace drivers, Van Den Vijver told ABC News.
They could also be used in a way that makes them more reliable and safe, which could make them a more attractive alternative to other forms of transportation, such as buses and taxis, he added.