The autonomous vehicle constitutes an unprecedented technical and societal challenge in the field of mobility. It is an object which, in its most accomplished form, is very complex and which requires both significant efforts in research and development and significant financial support both at European level and at the level of states.
An extract of Autonomous and connected vehicle – Technologies, challenges and deployment by Jacques EHRLICH
At the beginning of the 2000s, most researchers agreed that the year 2020 would see our roads and streets traveled by many fully automated vehicles. In France, the Ministry of Equipment, Transport and Housing even published a collective work entitled The Automated Road: a peri-urban scenario in which a scenario of automated vehicles, circulating in platoons, was explored in its technical, security and socio-economic aspects. Twenty years later, it is clear that not everything has come true as expected. The roadmaps published on a recurring basis by ERTRAC initially planned a deployment of the fully automated vehicle by 2030, then pushed back beyond 2040. Today, no one dares to comment on a deadline. On the other hand, ADAS (Advanced Driving Assistance System) are considered to be now deployed. Even if to date, not all vehicles in the vehicle fleet are equipped with it, we are witnessing, as with all innovations previously introduced in the automobile, a deployment starting from the high end and gradually spreading to intermediate and then lower vehicles. . The deployment of the upper levels entitled “Driver and Auto Pilot” is within the 2020-2024 and 2024-2028 horizons respectively.
Scenarios according to vehicle types
For personal vehicles, the Chauffeur concept concerns assistance at low speed (< 60 km/h) in congestion situations on urban, peri-urban ring roads and expressways. The vehicle is capable of handling Stop & Go and lane change situations. It is up to the driver to activate this function and their attention is not required at all times. On the highway, the concept is extended up to a speed of 130 km/h. If a manual shift is required, the driver has sufficient time to do so safely. In the event that the latter does not regain control, a so-called “minimal risk” maneuver will be automatically initiated. The Pilot concept extends the previous one to the highway and is distinguished by the fact that the vehicle will not require manual recovery by the driver. The principle of minimal risk maneuver is also applicable.
For trucks, only the Pilot concept appears in the roadmap, distinguishing between three use cases. First, closed areas where traffic is completely controlled (logistics hubs and port areas). In this context, driverless trucks, supervised by a control center, will be able to circulate. On hub-to-hub connections, the roadmap provides for the circulation of automated trucks with the presence of a driver according to a very precise framework. These are therefore roads whose characteristics are perfectly controlled and on which the driving rules are specific (speed limits, lane changes, etc.). The most advanced concept of autonomous trucks is one where they are able to operate without driver intervention in mixed traffic contexts, on open roads and in urban environments.
For the transport vehicles urban collectives, there are four use cases. First with PRT (Personal Rapid Transit), which are made up of a set of small driverless cabins that can transport a few people, and a dedicated infrastructure on which the cabins move. Examples include the campus of West Virginia University in the United States, Heathrow Airport in London and the ongoing deployment at Masdar in the emirate of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. The concept of autonomous shuttles is quite similar to the PRT but the investment and operating costs are lower (no specific infrastructure). The shuttles operate in mixed traffic and, theoretically, do not require the presence of a driver. Numerous deployments are underway, for example in France on the La Défense square or on the Satory plateau in Versailles. Intended to operate on existing or to-be-built “own sites”, automated buses on dedicated lanes must be able to operate in conjunction with non-automated buses. They stop automatically at stations and may, if necessary, circulate in platoons. As for mixed traffic, the use case is comparable to the previous one but on non-dedicated lanes and in coexistence with any other type of vehicles.