Robotaxis producing traffic chaos in San Francisco

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According to recent news like CNN: ‘Complete meltdown’: Driverless cars in San Francisco stall causing a traffic jam, Robotaxis from Cruise and Waymo are producing great chaos in the streets of San Francisco.

Unfortunately, our mathematically thorough predictions from several years ago seem to become true.

🚦 These traffic problems of autonomous vehicles have already been identified and named at an early stage within the WienZWA project (see Will autonomous cars solve our traffic problems?, Balancing the benefits of automated driving, and Test Fields and Advanced Accompanying Methods as Necessity for the Validation of Automated Driving).

💡 The reasons are obvious and clearly described. Of course there may still be hard technical challenges at the level of sensors and control algorithms. The geeks from Cruise and Waymo will solve them sooner or later by clever, neat, and systematic engineering. But there are still profound conceptional burdens at the level of traffic and the interactive behaviors of the according systems and divers traffic participants. Such cannot be solved by looking at the vehicle's technology only. Their resolution requires a broader community approach and contribution of other stakeholders too.

Fortunately, concrete solution strategies are known and already in the making respectively available with higher degrees of maturity:

👉 Infrastructure Support for Automated Driving (ISAD) to

  • deliver actual information from original sources for valid driving decisions,
  • expand vehicle’s ODDs with external help,
  • provide dynamic risk rated maps for congestion/accident prevention,

👉 Virtual Traffic Control to

  • coordinate automated vehicles in a self-organized manner,
  • enable active cooperation,

👉 Automated, self-organized, distributed Traffic Management & Control to

  • sort out incidents and congestions quickly,
  • select the best strategies upon the given/predicted situations,

👉 Digital Twins of the traffic infrastructure for

  • multilateral and trustworthy exchange of shared information between infrastructure and traffic participants,
  • consolidation of shared information from different sources with different levels of trust,

👉 Distinct and holistic CCAM System-of-Systems Architectures to

  • bundle the above items in a controlled and orchestrated way,
  • reduce the overall complexity in traffic.

More details on how to sustainably overcome the encountered challenges and how to realize the benefits of automated driving nevertheless, can be found under the umbrella of VERONET.

Also watch out here for more upcoming initiatives soon (>FUNDAMENTO, DESIRE2, DETECTION, NORBERT, ODD, ...).

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