Will self-driving vehicles transform the future?
Lingxi Li is a professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Indiana University on the Indianapolis campus.
Li claims that when thinking about connected and automated vehicles, it is important to consider the developments in both vehicle connection and vehicle autonomy. On the connectivity side, connected vehicles can now use technology to communicate with each other and connect with traffic signals, signs, and other road units. The key technologies driving these developments involve vehicle-to-vehicle communication, vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, and vehicle-to-cloud communication. On the autonomy side, the key innovations are environmental perception, localisation, mapping, path planning, decision making, and motion control. The key technologies behind these developments are artificial intelligence methods including machine learning, image processing, computer vision, neural networks, automatic control technology, Internet of Things, and big data analytics.
He believes that as the advancements of these technologies continue, the adoption rate of connected and automated vehicles will grow. Connected and automated vehicle technology offers many benefits. One benefit is increased safety, as 90% of vehicle fatalities are caused by human error. Connected and automated vehicles can improve traffic safety by removing the element of the driver. These vehicles also offer greater mobility and equity to different users because of how they can reduce the transportation barrier. This could be especially useful for the elderly and people with disabilities. Connected and automated vehicles could also greatly benefit the environment as fewer accidents results in less traffic congestion, leading to a drop in emissions. These vehicles could also solve the last-mile problem where people struggle to travel the last mile between their home and public transportation drop-off points. Connected and automated vehicles can supplement traffic and transport while offering a great way to connect between two locations.
Li states that the future of connected and automated vehicles is bright. The technology is evolving fast and has the potential to improve traffic safety. State agencies and the transportation industry are investing heavily into connected and automated vehicles. From the technology side, artificial intelligence methods, automatic control, vehicle-to-vehicle communications, Internet-of-Things, and big-data analytics are important measures that will help make connected and automated vehicles safe, reliable, and inexpensive. Also, individual personal transportation cannot cover the entire process of connected and automated vehicles. The technology should be more widely utilised in other areas such as public transportation, logistics, specialty vehicles, mining, and farming. Connected and automated vehicles are also an important part of mobility as a service, where users can pay for multiple types of mobility services. These concepts describe a shift away from personal modes of transportation and towards mobility as a service. Li believes connected and automated vehicles will play a vital role in the future of mobility as a service.