Autonomous cars released recently have a significant endowment of safety instruments. A series of complex sensors configure the core elements of the autopilot hardware, detecting peers and obstacles to avoid while traveling.
The presence of these security elements in autonomous cars are only part of the aspects to be addressed during this deployment process. As this is a transition, it is also necessary to consider what will happen to traditional cars. Transport experts suggest that an option to control the possible dangers of this stage, a good alternative to implement may be the provision of exclusive roads for autonomous vehicles.
Road safety for shared highways between autonomous and traditional cars
Engineers from the University of New South Wales, Australia, conducted an investigation whose results support the proposal for a highway network design with exclusive lanes for autonomous vehicles.
Using mixed-scenario computer models, the researchers’ analysis concluded that the lanes dedicated to these new cars significantly improved overall safety and traffic flow in a hybrid network of pedestrians, cyclists, automated vehicles, and conventional (or legacy) automobiles. .
The lead author of this study, Dr. Shantanu Chakraborty, commented that if the road network is not prepared to receive these vehicles once their massive release to the market is completed, the travel experience will become more complex on the road. .
“Traffic congestion costs the economy billions of dollars each year in all the extra time spent commuting. The proposed model will help minimize interaction with legacy vehicles and reduce overall road congestion »commented Dr. Chakraborty in conversation with his house of studies.
“The combination of autonomous vehicles and legacy vehicles will cause problems on the road network unless there is proper modeling during this transition phase. If we get caught and we are not ready, we will not reap the full benefits of the technology behind these autonomous vehicles »added.
And although eventually, the allocation of an exclusive lane for autonomous cars could generate a certain level of interruptions, since that lane would be taken away from conventional vehicles, the space could also be opened to take advantage of certain advantages.
Let’s say you’re sitting in traffic and the light turns green, the driver doesn’t instantly take off that second; there is usually a response time before you step on the pedal and the car moves », said the researcher in reference to the human factor of driving. Under this point, a dedicated lane can also serve as a test lane, as these vehicles can generally be switched from autonomous to manual mode at any time.
In addition, in cases of road congestion, these lanes can always be reassigned in case the relevant authority chooses to determine so. “Our modeling explains changing traffic conditions. For example, during off-peak hours, when we don’t need a lane for autonomous vehicles, we can have all lanes open for legacy vehicles », dice.
At the moment, this is nothing more than a proposal that emerged from the academic world. The study carried out and the results of its analysis were published in the journal Journal of Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies.