Dissipation of stop-and-go waves via control of autonomous vehicles: Field experiments

Compositional Systems Lab

TitleDissipation of stop-and-go waves via control of autonomous vehicles: Field experiments
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsStern, RE, Cui, S, Monache, MLaura Dell, Bhadani, R, Bunting, M, Churchill, M, Hamilton, N, Haulcy, R'mani, Pohlmann, H, Wu, F, Piccoli, B, Seibold, B, Sprinkle, J, Work, DB
Type of ArticlePreprint of journal submission

Traffic waves are phenomena that emerge when the vehicular density exceeds a critical threshold. Considering the presence of increasingly automated vehicles in the traffic stream, a number of research activities have focused on the influence of automated vehicles on the bulk traffic flow. In the present article, we demonstrate experimentally that intelligent control of an autonomous vehicle is able to dampen stop-and-go waves that can arise even in the absence of geometric or lane changing triggers. Precisely, our experiments on a circular track with more than 20 vehicles show that traffic waves emerge consistently, and that they can be dampened by controlling the velocity of a single vehicle in the flow. We compare metrics for velocity, braking events, and fuel economy across experiments. These experimental findings suggest a paradigm shift in traffic management: flow control will be possible via a few mobile actuators (less than 5%) long before a majority of vehicles have autonomous capabilities.

Citation Keysprinkle290