Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.
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29 unmanned systems inside June/July 2016 ENGINEERING. PRACTICE. POLICY. zone ahead or that there's a red light at the next intersection. This is already happening on some level today, with Amber Alerts and information about traffic congestion already available. In Florida, about 98 percent of the interstate highways are equipped with fiber optics to make this communication possible. Vehicle-to-infrastructure communication provides a huge safety benefit, said Ibro Mu- haremovic, head of advanced engineering North America for Continental, a company that has successfully tested automated ve- hicles on the roads. If the car knows there's a construction zone coming up in a mile or two, for example, it can take another route to avoid the construction, improving traffic f low as well as lowering the risks for construction workers. Today, every construction zone is different, Muharemovic said. Some warn drivers with a sign while others just have construction bar- rels—which all vary in shape and size. This adds complexity because developers must take every possible situation into account to make sure these vehicles can take the appropriate action. "If it was communicated to our vehicle when these construction zones are going to happen in advance, we could drive a little more efficiently rather than sitting in a traffic jam," Muhare- movic said. "Pothole patching crews are another challenge. They drive up and down the highway slowly patching the potholes. If the position of the vehicle is communicated to the autonomous car, it could make maneuvers earlier rather than waiting for traffic to slow down." Driverless vehicles will also need to be able to read stop signs, speed limit signs and other com- mon roadway signs, said Michele Mueller, senior project manager for connected and automated ve- hicles at the Michigan Department of Transporta- tion (MDOT). Old rusted signs on the side of the road simply won't be enough. And until the day all the vehicles on the roads are driverless, humans will still need to be able to read them, too. While the signs we see today will likely re- main on the roadways, they'll use technolo- A small, driverless vehicle operates on dedicated paths to transport passengers to their destinations. The passenger provides destination input, but does not control the vehicle at any time during the trip. An example of platooning, which uses cooperative adaptive cruise control in a series of vehicles to improve traffc fow stability and safely allow short headways to obtain mobility and fuel effciency benefts.