Autonomous intersection management

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Title: Autonomous intersection management
Author: Dresner, Kurt Mauro
Abstract: Artificial intelligence research is ushering in an era of sophisticated , mass -market transportation technology . While computers can fly a passenger jet better than a human pilot , people still face the dangerous yet tedious task of driving . Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS ) is the field focused on integrating information technology with vehicles and transportation infrastructure . Recent advances in ITS point to a future in which vehicles handle the vast majority of the driving task . Once autonomous vehicles become popular , interactions amongst multiple vehicles will be possible . Current methods of vehicle coordination will be outdated . The bottleneck for efficiency will no longer be drivers , but the mechanism by which those drivers' actions are coordinated . Current methods for controlling traffic cannot exploit the superior capabilities of autonomous vehicles . This thesis describes a novel approach to managing autonomous vehicles at intersections that decreases the amount of time vehicles spend waiting . Drivers and intersections in this mechanism are treated as autonomous agents in a multiagent system . In this system , agents use a new approach built around a detailed communication protocol , which is also a contribution of the thesis . In simulation , I demonstrate that this mechanism can significantly outperform current intersection control technology -traffic signals and stop signs . This thesis makes several contributions beyond the mechanism and protocol . First , it contains a distributed , peer -to -peer version of the protocol for low -traffic intersections . Without any requirement of specialized infrastructure at the intersection , such a system would be inexpensive and easy to deploy at intersections which do not currently require a traffic signal . Second , it presents an analysis of the mechanism's safety , including ways to mitigate some failure modes . Third , it describes a custom simulator , written for this work , which will be made publicly available following the publication of the thesis . Fourth , it explains how the mechanism is "backward -compatible" so that human drivers can use it alongside autonomous vehicles . Fifth , it explores the implications of using the mechanism at multiple proximal intersections . The mechanism , along with all available modes of operation , is implemented and tested in simulation , and I present experimental results that strongly attest to the efficacy of this approach .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /2152 /ETD -UT -2009 -12 -689
Date: 2010-08-24

Citation

Autonomous intersection management. Doctoral dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /2152 /ETD -UT -2009 -12 -689 .

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