Sharing the Road: Autonomous Vehicles Meet Human Drivers

Kurt Dresner, Peter Stone

In modern urban settings, automobile traffic and collisions lead to endless frustration as well as significant loss of life, property, and productivity. Recent advances in artificial intelligence suggest that autonomous vehicle navigation may soon be a reality. In previous work, we have demonstrated that a reservation-based approach can efficiently and safely govern interactions of multiple autonomous vehicles at intersections. Such an approach alleviates many traditional problems associated with intersections, in terms of both safety and efficiency. However, the system relies on all vehicles being equipped with the requisite technology - a restriction that would make implementing such a system in the real world extremely difficult. In this paper, we extend this system to allow for incremental deployability. The modified system is able to accommodate traditional human-operated vehicles using existing infrastructure. Furthermore, we show that as the number of autonomous vehicles on the road increases, traffic delays decrease monotonically toward the levels exhibited in our previous work. Finally, we develop a method for switching between various human-usable configurations while the system is running, in order to facilitate an even smoother transition. The work is fully implemented and tested in our custom simulator, and we present detailed experimental results attesting to its effectiveness.

Subjects: 7.1 Multi-Agent Systems


Submitted: Oct 14, 2006

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