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201207 Sep




Eminent professionals from IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), the world’s No.1professional organisation involved in ushering futuristic technology for humanity,have short listed autonomous vehicles as the most promising specimen of intelligent commuting.  This move is quite significant as there is expectation that these four-wheelers will form approximately 75 per cent cars on the road by the year 2040.


While reflecting upon the utility of intelligent transportation system and the role of autonomous vehicles in its backdrop, Alberto Broggi, IEEE Senior Member and professor of Computer Engineering at the University of Parma in Italy, said: “With any form of intelligent transportation, building the infrastructure to accommodate it is often the largest barrier to widespread adoption…Since we can use the existing networks of roadways, autonomous vehicles are advantageous for changing how the majority of the world will travel on a daily basis.” It is to be noted that Broggi is a seasoned professional in the sector of autonomous vehicles as he was the director of a project two years back that empowered a couple of driverless cars to establish their marks in an 8,000-mile road trip, starting from Parma to Shanghai.


If things move on smooth track, powered by advanced technological contributions and scientific automobile innovations, driverless cars will definitely take the roads by storm over the next three decades as the benevolent catalysts in different aspects, including effecting dramatic changes in busy intersections, traffic movement, highways and even drivers’ licenses.


‘Zero’ Dependence on Traffic Lights


Driverless cars run on superior, communicating sensors to offer safe and adaptive travel experience. One of the unique features of such vehicles is that during vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure interaction the dependency on traffic lights and stop signs is vastly reduced in ideal condition when all the cars on the road are driverless. Further emphasising upon the tech-edge of these driverless vehicles, Broggi added: “Intersections will be equipped with sensors, cameras and radars that can monitor and control traffic flow to help eliminate driver collisions and promote a more efficient flow of traffic. The cars will be operating automatically, thereby eliminating the need for traffic lights.”


Segregation of Highway Lanes


Highway travel system will automatically witness a major change with the swarming of more and more autonomous vehicles on the roads. When both autonomous and conventional vehicles ply on the road side by side there will designated lanes for each of these two varieties. It will boost up modern urban traffic management system by trimming down frequencies of traffic snarls, ensuring enhanced efficiency and faster speed. Commenting on the impact of the autonomous cars on traffic management, Azim Eskandarian, IEEE Member and Director of the Center for Intelligent Systems Research, said: “Through use of dedicated lanes on the highway, it will provide more streamlined flows of traffic, which will make the transportation with these vehicles more energy efficient…This new traffic flow, coupled with the increase of automated travel, will also enable cars to travel more safely while going faster and perhaps with closer gaps in between them,  while platooning (or using autonomous features), specially at free-flow traffic.”


Broggi summed it: “speed limits of up to 100 miles/hour (160 km/hour) are absolutely possible by 2040.”



Toyota Prious Autonomous


Freedom from Driver’s License


Autonomous vehicles will have an impressive impact on car sharing programmes. Autonomous vehicles will arrive, take the commuter to his destination and then set out to attend to the next in queue. Broggi added: “Since cars today are parked for more than 90 percent of their lifetime, shared car services will promote more continuous movement, garner more efficient operation and use less gas.”


Since the futuristic concept vehicles do not require any manual driving activity, automatically it will give freedom from the hassle of procuring a driver’s license, irrespective of the passenger’s age. Driverless vehicle sharing programmes aims at serving a greater humanity cutting across all age groups enable them with the abilities to utilise these cars without possessing the driver’s license. Eskandariancommenting on the freedom from license hassles, said: “People do not need a license to sit on a train or a bus…In a full autonomy case in which no driver intervention will be allowed, the car will be operating autonomously, so there will not be any special requirements for drivers or occupants to use the vehicle as a form of transportation, but the vehicles will obviously need many more certifications and should meet new standards.”


Bump Ahead


Any new technology takes time to establish its firm footing. Autonomous vehicle concept is also not an exception. Here initial hesitation among the drivers and passengers is the largest hurdle in establishing its widespread footmark. As Jeffrey Miller, IEEE Member and Associate Professor in the Computer Systems Engineering department at University of Alaska Anchorage, mentioned:  “Drivers and passengers are hesitant to believe in the technology enough to completely hand over total control…Car manufacturers have already started to incorporate automated features, including parallel parking assistance, automatic braking systems and drowsy driver protection, to help people slowly ease into utilizing driverless technologies. Over the next 28 years, use of more automated technologies will spark a snowball effect of acceptance anddriverless vehicles will dominate the road.”




IEEE as a large, global professional organisation has gained trust and compliments with its presence across a wide variety of areas ranging from aerospace systems, computers and telecommunications to biomedical engineering, electric power and consumer electronics. Learn more at http://www.ieee.org.



Concept Autonomous Vehicle

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