The transport specialists at SYSTRA are keenly aware of the opportunities presented by connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) – and we are working to develop the CAV technology and infrastructure required to deliver safe, efficient and reliable transport solutions for the future.

Harnessing technology to advance transport capabilities

Connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) have the potential to increase the effective capacity of existing roads, leading to reduced congestion, more predictable journey times and increased productivity for businesses that rely on road transport. CAVs could also improve the efficiency of freight transport, since fully autonomous trucks and vans can operate around the clock with no need for driver rest periods – increasing the speed and reliability of deliveries. In rural environments, CAVs coupled with demand-responsive technologies could provide more efficient public transport services.

However, to realise the full potential of autonomous vehicles, there needs to be considerable investment in the supporting infrastructure, including vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) and infrastructure-to-vehicle (I2V) communications. Local authorities and businesses looking to develop autonomous vehicle services need help to understand the capabilities of different types of vehicle technology, how it is progressing, and how it can be applied in practice.

SYSTRA fully understands the possibilities and challenges of connected and autonomous mobility, the infrastructure it requires, and how to maximise the benefits that autonomous vehicle technology can bring.

Discover how SYSTRA has transformed ideas into deliverable strategies, for implementing new infrastructure or making a step change in service provision.

SYSTRA is at the forefront of efforts to unlock the potential of vehicles with different levels of autonomy, helping clients to seize opportunities as new technologies are developed and implemented.

New possibilities for autonomous vehicles

SYSTRA helps clients to understand the connected and autonomous vehicle solutions that are available, how they might be implemented in practice, and how these vehicles can be integrated with different modes of transport to enable complete end-to-end journeys for passengers. We also have a deep understanding of future CAV developments, and the solutions that will realistically be available for people and businesses in the years ahead..

Understanding the levels of vehicle autonomy

Most people now own a vehicle with some level of autonomy, whether that is braking assistance, cruise control, lane-deviation warnings or other driver-assistance technologies. These in-vehicle technologies are constantly evolving, and the level of autonomy they offer is steadily progressing.

There are essentially five levels of autonomy for vehicles:

  • Level 1: Feet off – cruise control.
  • Level 2: Hands off – lane-deviation warnings, Tesla Autopilot System, Ford BlueCruise System.
  • Level 3: Eyes off – a driver must always be present and ready to take control, and must always be attentive.
  • Level 4: Mind off – a driver must always be available to take control, but in normal driving situations the driver is not required to take control.
  • Level 5: Fully autonomous – no driver required.

Putting autonomous vehicles into service

Trials of Level 3 and Level 4 vehicles are ongoing around the world. Already, there are fleets of autonomous taxis in Abu Dhabi, and the UK has launched its first autonomous passenger-carrying bus, running between Fife and Edinburgh.

A large number of Level 4 autonomous shuttles are being trialled around the world, but these mostly operate in very controlled environments, usually on pre-programmed routes where there is limited interaction with other road users.

Building the infrastructure for greater autonomy

Level 3 CAVs are close to being deployed on the road, while multiple automotive manufactures claim to be ready to deliver Level 4 CAVs. However, considerable infrastructure needs to be implemented before these vehicles can be used safely. For example, roads will need to communicate with vehicles to advise them about roadworks, variable message signs and speed limits, difficult junctions, dangerous corners and much more. Similarly, other vehicles will need to be able to communicate with CAVs.

With so many levels of autonomy operating on the road at the same time, combined with manually driven vehicles, roads will need to communicate the level of autonomy permissible on each section of highway – so that higher-level autonomous vehicles can request control from their drivers at the right time. Level 4 vehicles require a driver to be present, while Level 5 do not – so the step up to Level 5 deployment is significant.

Setting the standard for data sharing

Governments and manufacturers need to agree on what data will be made available for dissemination, and a data dictionary will need to be standardised to ensure data can be received and used in appropriate ways by CAVs. There will also need to be an agreement on what communications protocol to use, and this will need to be defined, agreed and standardised.

Trusted partner to support autonomous vehicle innovation

SYSTRA is one of the few companies that truly understands the connected and autonomous vehicle environment in sufficient detail to provide the help, support and advice that clients need.

With our support, clients can create an effective environment for the carefully managed introduction of autonomous vehicles – with all the safety, efficiency, accessibility and cost-saving benefits they bring. We are already working with vehicle users, integrators and manufacturers to build the sustainable and reliable transport solutions of the future.

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