Auto congestion and pollution is an ongoing dilemma for Europes cities, but small electric automated CyberCars that run on the existing urban infrastructure promise to make Europes crowded capitals cleaner, safer, and easier to manoeuvre.
The development and adoption of vehicles running autonomously without a driver on city streets at low speed (up to 30 km/h at the moment), while avoiding fixed and mobile obstacles, is the goal of IST-project CYBERCAR. This concept of using automobiles in a public system evolved out of car-sharing in Switzerland and Germany, where a small fleet of cars is shared among a large number of users, who can even take a car at both ends of a train trip.
However, this system works well only in specific areas where the demand is properly structured and does not offer door-to-door service. Now, automated vehicles are appearing that have driving capabilities on an existing road infrastructure with a right of way (such as a dedicated bus-lane) and can be put in platoons for collection. The project foresees dual-mode versions of these vehicles, which also allow for manual driving in order to run among normal traffic, being applied to private vehicles. For a fee, users would have access rights, and the clean fuel vehicles would be parked automatically and their speed controlled, improving the mobility and quality of life in urban areas.
Tara Morris | IST Results
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