Decentralized Cooperative Autonomy and the Transportation Infrastructure

Karl Wunderlich, Director of the Surface Transportation Division at Noblis, joined the MOBI lecture series on August 10 to explain a possible approach to maximizing safety and efficiency in automated vehicle (AV) maneuvering and navigation.

Watch the video recording >

The following is an excerpt from Karl’s guest Dashboard post.

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Autonomous vehicles (AVs) are often portrayed charting an inevitable pathway towards transformative roadway system efficiency and safety. However, current AVs are designed to operate within (and limited by) a legacy system of laws, liabilities, licensing, taxation, control systems and normative behaviors built on the assumption that vehicles will have human drivers.

In other words, even if an AV may be able to go faster, corner more tightly or safely maneuver around obstacles with a margin of error much smaller than human drivers, they must remain restricted, for now, to maneuvers expected from a human-driven vehicle for two key reasons. First, deviation from legacy norms would disrupt nearby human drivers; second, current AVs are simply not ready to self-organize outside our legacy system. By default, then, in the near-term we must rely on the speed limits, lane lines, stop signals and other rules of the road we have developed in a broadly ad hoc fashion in 100+ years of human-driven automobility. But once we have millions of AVs in motion at the same time and AVs are the norm not the exception, are the legacy forms of general self-organization that compensate for the limitations of human drivers still practical, or even desirable?

image of road system with moving carsNoblis’ Orchestrated Autonomy Capability and Research

The Noblis autonomy concept orchestrates the motions and actions of unfamiliar, connected and autonomous machines making them safer, more productive and more equitable. Learn more and see videos of the concept in action.

Noblis was awarded a patent for a system for collectively optimizing cooperative actions among autonomous connected machines. The system was invented by Dr. Karl Wunderlich, Noblis Autonomy Research Center lead. Read the press release.