New driverless car technology could make traffic lights and speeding tickets obsolete

New driverless car technology could make traffic lights and speeding tickets obsolete
UD Professor Andreas Malikopoulos is the principal investigator of a three-year project funded by the federal government's Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E) through its NEXT-Generation Energy Technologies for Connected and Automated On-Road Vehicles (NEXTCAR) program to improve the efficiency of an Audi A3 e-tron by at least 20 percent. Credit: University of Delaware/ Owen Fitter

New driverless car technologies developed at a University of Delaware lab could lead to a world without traffic lights and speeding tickets. Researchers also hope the innovations will bring about the development of driverless cars that use 19 to 22 percent less fuel.

Imagine a daily commute that's orderly instead of chaotic. Connected and automated vehicles could provide that relief by adjusting to driving conditions with little to no input from drivers. When the car in front of you speeds up, yours would accelerate, and when the car in front of you screeches to a halt, your car would stop, too.

At the University of Delaware, Andreas Malikopoulos uses control theory to develop algorithms that will enable this technology of the future. In two recently published papers, Malikopoulos, who was recently named the Terri Connor Kelly and John Kelly Career Development Professor of Mechanical Engineering, describes innovations in connected and automated technology pioneered in two laboratories at the University, the UD Scaled Smart City (UDSSC) testbed and a driving simulator facility.

"We are developing solutions that could enable the future of energy efficient mobility systems," said Malikopoulos. "We hope that our technologies will help people reach their destinations more quickly and safely while conserving fuel at the same time."

Making traffic lights obsolete

Someday cars might talk to each other to coordinate traffic patterns. Malikopoulos and collaborators from Boston University recently developed a solution to control and minimize energy consumption in connected and automated vehicles crossing an urban intersection that lacked traffic signals. Then they used software to simulate their results and found that their framework allowed connected and automated vehicles to conserve momentum and fuel while also improving travel time. The results were published in the journal Automatica.

Saving fuel and avoiding speeding tickets

Imagine that when the speed limit goes from 65 to 45 mph, your car automatically slows down. Malikopoulos and collaborators from the University of Virginia formulated a solution that yields the optimal acceleration and deceleration in a speed reduction zone, avoiding rear-end crashes. What's more, simulations suggest that the connected vehicles use 19 to 22 percent less fuel and get to their destinations 26 to 30 percent faster than human-driven vehicles. The results of this research effort were published in IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems.

Malikopoulos has received funding for this work from two U.S. Department of Energy programs—the Smart Mobility Initiative and the Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy's NEXTCAR program.

Malikopoulos is the principal investigator of a three-year project funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E) through its NEXT-Generation Energy Technologies for Connected and Automated On-Road Vehicles (NEXTCAR) program to improve the efficiency of an Audi A3 e-tron by at least 20 percent. The partners of this project are the University of Michigan, Boston University, Bosch Corporation, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.


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Computational framework for optimizing traffic flow could be the beginning of a road revolution

More information: Jackeline Rios-Torres et al, Impact of Partial Penetrations of Connected and Automated Vehicles on Fuel Consumption and Traffic Flow, IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Vehicles (2018). DOI: 10.1109/TIV.2018.2873899
Citation: New driverless car technology could make traffic lights and speeding tickets obsolete (2018, October 27) retrieved 25 April 2019 from https://techxplore.com/news/2018-10-driverless-car-technology-traffic-tickets.html
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Oct 27, 2018
This makes sense, but what about pedestrians? Does the car sense the pedestrian and stop so the pedestrian or bicycle can cross? Or perhaps the cars just adjust their speed to accommodate the pedestrian(s) crossing the street. What about heavily pedestrian crossings? (a few even in urban areas)

Oct 27, 2018
On future roadways, either overpass or underpass crossings will be needed. Traffic and pedestrians need to be separated, due to increased traffic and wider roads. This way, neither one will interfere with the other. Overpass would be better, because underpasses allow a place for "unpleasant" people to gather and cause trouble.

Oct 27, 2018
So how do us mere humans cross the road safely ??

Oct 27, 2018
I will market a little clicker that you keep in your pocket. When you push the button - all the cars will stop. When you get to the other side of the road - you click it again - and all the cars can start again....(-: Or we could have zebra crossings like in U.K. The crossing is pressure activated - so when you step on it - all the cars stop....

Oct 27, 2018
At major intersections you could have something like we have today. Press button to cross, wait for the WALK sign. It just sends a signals the cars instead of turning the light.

It frustrates me that we have to wait for autonomous vehicles to get intelligent flow at intersections. I try to anticipate what traffic lights are doing and adjust my speed so as not to stop. I usually fail to estimate timing. What would help is signs at an appropriate distance from lights which would show an estimated "speed for green" or "prepare to stop" if there is no way one is going to make the light due to timing or too many vehicles at the light already. I don't see why we aren't making our lights much smarter now to save time and energy with no change needed to vehicles.

Oct 27, 2018
Press button to cross, wait for the WALK sign. It just sends a signals the cars instead of turning the light.


In so many places that button isn't even connected. It's just there to make the people stop and press a button, and then wait for the light to change.

I can locate at least three intersections in my neighborhood where the button doesn't do anything. You spot them when you're cycling around in the middle of the night and press the button in an empty intersection - still takes a minute for the light to change. It's the same idea as with sprinkling empty speed camera boxes around - cheaper than having the real things, but still works because people don't know they're not real.

Oct 28, 2018
Sounds like the lies a dictatorial regime would tell to force its citizens to accept the ultimate absolute control of their lives, AND to pay for the insult as well.

Oct 28, 2018
Sorry, GO1, UK zebras do NOT work like that. You must step into the road to claim priority. Of course, that means you must wait for a 'safe' gap in traffic on your side of the road. Even then, there is no guarantee that traffic will notice you, let alone stop for you. And, yes, there will be a distracted driver who does not notice WHY the inside lane traffic has stopped, so goes around...
Even with traffic light crossings, where you press the button and wait for the okay, you must watch for low-flying ijits, shunts etc...
Due Care essential...

Oct 29, 2018
Unless all bicycles, humans and motorcycles are fitted with autonomous driving (unlikely) I do not see traffic lights vanishing any time soon.

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