There is a very long, straight highway with $N$ cars placed somewhere along it, randomly. The highway is only one lane, so the cars can’t pass each other. Each car is going in the same direction, and each driver has a distinct positive speed at which she prefers to travel. Each preferred speed is chosen at random. Each driver travels at her preferred speed unless she gets stuck behind a slower car, in which case she remains stuck behind the slower car. On average, how many groups of cars will eventually form? (A group is one or more cars traveling at the same speed.)
A friend showed me this question and we didn't know how to go about it. I've taken a probability course so my mind immediately went to counting methods or expectation values, but I don't know if this is the wrong intuition. Anybody know how to solve this?