Within the last year there has been an upsurge of activity related to road vehicle automation, notably vehicular development activities from automobile manufacturers, Google, and research underway throughout the world. Recently, Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) researchers Ginger Goodin and Ed Seymour attended a three-day workshop to share the state of the practice and participate in a discussion group to identify areas requiring further research.
The workshop, Future of Road Vehicle Automation and pre-conference workshop on Early Automation Deployment Opportunities in Managed Lane Operations, were held July 24–26 in Irvine, Calif., and were sponsored by the Transportation Research Board.
“In the work we’ve been doing with mileage-based fees, we’ve seen an evolution in the approaches and the technology applications since the earliest field tests in Oregon through what’s going on today in Minnesota’s demonstration with smart phones,” says Goodin. “The long-term future will likely be an application that is built into your car. You will pay your road user fee through your vehicle, which will serve as a digital platform for a lot of other consumer services, such as usage-based car insurance or parking availability.”
One component of a pre-conference workshop focused on managed lanes, and Goodin presented an overview of her research in this area, including considerations for automated vehicles. (PDF of Managed Lanes Overview presentation)
“My goal was to set the stage for the research discussion by highlighting what was going on across the country in managed lanes,” says Goodin. “Some people believe there are early deployment opportunities for automated cars as a transition to full automation. In the near term, managed lanes may provide next-generation cars with a designated lane where they can go at high speed with very close spacing and expand roadway capacity.”
The workshop was attended by a wide range of transportation professionals that included automobile manufacturers, universities, technology firms, insurance companies, federal agencies and European representation.
For more information about this workshop, visit the website at https://sites.google.com/site/trbitscommittee/.