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Autonomous vehicles text

Autonomous vehicles
Over the past few years the automobile and technology industries have made significant leaps in brining
computerization into what has, for over a century been exclusively a human function.
New car models increasingly include features such as adaptive cruise control, parking assist systems and
companies have pushed the envelope further by creating autonomous vehicles.
These cars can drive themselves on existing roads and can navigate many types of roadways and environmental
contexts with almost no direct human input.
AV’s have the potential to dramatically impact the transportation network by averting deadly crashes, providing
critical mobility to the elderly and disabled, increasing road capacity, saving fuel and lowering emissions.
Former drivers may be from now on working on their laptops, eating their meals, watching movies.
Complementary trends; in-shared rides and vehicles may lead us from vehicles as an owned product to an ondemand service.
Infrastructure investments and operational improvements, travel choices and parking needs, land use patterns,
and trucking and other activities may be affected.
Yet, the proliferation of autonomous vehicles is far from guaranteed. High costs hamper large- scale production
and mass consumer availability (KMPG and CAR 2012)
Complex questions remain relating to legal, liability, privacy, licensing, security, and insurance regulation.
Many car manufacturers have begun testing driverless systems including – Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Ford, Mercedes
Benz, Nissan, Toyota etc. (Wikipedia)
Various semi-autonomous features are now commercially available, including adaptive cruise control, lane
departure warnings, collision avoidance, parking assist systems, and on-board navigation.
AV’s are also common in other sectors including – military, mining and agricultural (economist technology)
Potential impacts of autonomous vehicles
The total crashes per year in the US in 2013 were 5.5 million (traffic safety facts)
93% of the crashes were due to human cause as primary factor (National highway)
Economic costs of U.S crashes 277 billion dollars (Blincoe)
AVs have the potential to reduce crashes
over 40% of the fatal crashes involve a combination of alcohol, distraction, drug involvement, and/or
90% of all crashes involve driver error ‘’ speeding, aggressive driving, over- compensation, inexperience,
slow reaction time” (national highway)
over 30.000 people die each year in auto mobile collision in the US. (national highway)
2.2 million crashing resulting in injury (traffic safety facts)
Traffic crashes remain the primary reason for the death of Americans between the age of 15 and 24
years old (CDC,2011)
Self-driving vehicles would not fall prey to human failings suggesting for the potential of at least 40% fatal crashrate reduction. While many driving situations are relatively easy for an autonomous vehicle to handle, designing
a system that can perform safely in nearly every situation is challenging. (Campbell et al, 2010)
Recognition of humans and other objects in the roadway is both critical and more difficult for AVs than
human drivers (dalal and trigs)
A person on a roadway may be small or large, standing, walking, sitting, lying down, riding a bike, - all
of which complicate AV sensor recognition.
Poor weather such as fog and snow, and reflective road surfaces from ice and rain create other
challenges for sensors and driving operations.
Evasive decisions such depend on whether an object in the vehicles path is a large card box box or a
large concrete block.
Computer vision has much greater difficulty than humans identifying material composition, when a crash is
unavoidable it is crucial that AVs recognize the objects on their path so they may act accordingly.
Congestion and traffic operations
Researchers are developing ways for AV technology to reduce congestion and fuel consumption.
AVs can sense and possibly anticipate lead vehicles ‘braking and acceleration decisions. Such
technology allows for smoother breaking and fine speed adjustments of the following vehicles, leading
to fuel savings, less brake wear, and reductions in traffic destabilizing shockwave propagation.
AVs are also expected to use existing lanes and intersections more efficiently through shorter gaps
between vehicles, coordinated platoons, and more efficient route choices.
Many of the congestion-saving improvements depend not only on automated driving capabilities, but also on
cooperative abilities through vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication.
Vehicle communication is becoming standard on most vehicles before significant proliferation of AV capabilities.
The NHTSA has announced its intention to mandate all new light duty vehicles to come equipped with V2X
capabilities. (National High-way)
Even Without V2X communication travel congestion will be reduced with 25% if the safety benefits will be
realized. (federal Highway administration)
Other levels of AV adoption congestion savings’
ACC measures and traffic monitoring systems could smooth traffic flows could smooth traffic flows by seeking
to minimize accelerations and braking in freeway traffic. This could increase fuel- economy and congested traffic
speeds by 23-39% and 8 – 13%, for all vehicles in the freeway travel stream, depending on the V2V
communication and how traffic-smoothing algorithms are implemented (atiyeh 2012).
Many benefits will not be realized until there is 10% of all vehicles on the freeway are AVs, there will likely be
an AV in every lane at regular spacing during congested times, which could smooth traffic for all travellers (bose
and Ioannou)
Travel behaviour impacts
AVs may also provide mobility for those too young to drive, the elderly and the disabled, thus generating new
road way capacity demands. Parking patterns could change as AVs self-park in less expensive areas. Car-andRide sharing programs could expand.