Swiss academics have developed an autonomous vehicle system able to mimic a human driver and a Wi-Fi network to share data between vehicles.
École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) said an autonomous vehicle could be single or part of a “platoon” and should be able to follow multiple human-controlled cars.
The system is designed with 2030 in mind, when researchers expect Wi-Fi sensors to be built into highways and 360-degree cameras and Radar to track cars far away easily.
Autonomous vehicles using the EPFL system should be able to give way to other cars and know when a car is going to switch lanes or leave the highway before it happens. This self-aware system may reduce the amount of accidents on the road, according to EPFL.
“The whole goal of the project is to essentially increase coordination on the road and eventually achieve reduced fuel consumption and additional safety,” said Alcherio Martinoli, head of the group’s algorithms laboratory. “For the first time we were able to validate what we had achieved in the simulation. And the number of vehicles in the convoy has no impact on the complexity of the control mechanism.”
Autonomous vehicles are already hitting public roads in Michigan, Arizona, Britain, and Singapore, but it will be a few years before consumers are driving these cars. It will take even longer, according to EPFL, for autonomous cars to overtake regular human controlled vehicles on the road.