4 December 2018
mobile robots, road vehicles, electric vehicles, sustainable development, road safety, road accidents, land-use planning, bird's eye view, vehicle-sharing systems, electric vehicles, sustainable mobility patterns, transportation system, traffic streams, AV, autonomous vehicles, autonomous driving
The introduction of autonomous vehicles (AV) will represent a milestone in the evolution of transportation and personal mobility. AVs are expected to significantly reduce accidents and congestion, while being economically and environmentally beneficial. However, many challenges must be overcome before reaching this ideal scenario. This study, which results from on-site visits to top research centres and a comprehensive literature review, provides an overall state-of-the-practice on the subject and identifies critical issues to succeed. For example, although most of the required technology is already available, ensuring the robustness of AVs under all boundary conditions is still a challenge. Additionally, the implementation of AVs must contribute to the environmental sustainability by promoting the usage of alternative energies and sustainable mobility patterns. Electric vehicles and sharing systems are suitable options, although both require some refinement to incentivise a broader range of customers. Other aspects could be more difficult to resolve and might even postpone the generalisation of automated driving. For instance, there is a need for cooperation and management strategies geared towards traffic efficiency. Also, for transportation and land-use planning to avoid negative territorial and economic impacts. Above all, safe and ethical behaviour rules must be agreed upon before AVs hit the road.