Nature’s still got plenty to teach us, it seems. The latest target for researchers seeking to improve traffic congestion is the routing behaviour of leafcutter ants:
When opposing streams of leafcutter ants share a narrow path, they instinctively alternate flows in the most efficient way possible. Studying how ants manage this could provide the basis for a system of driverless cars running on ant traffic algorithms.
Driverless is probably the key word there… and there’s a short story just waiting to be written! One about an abandoned future-city with a tireless transit system of ant-AIs driving empty vehicles in ever-more efficient cycles. Sounds like a job for Paul Di Filippo, maybe. [image by MacAllenBrothers]