Providing Robot Drivers with ESP

There is considerable discussion and debate concerning the relationships between connected vehicle and automated vehicle technology. In an article from the fall 2015 edition of Thinking Highways magazine, I describe the results from a study of the interrelationships. A key take-away is that the two technologies have, in many ways, a synergistic relationship. Connectivity literally provides automated vehicles with extra-sensory perception, that is, information beyond what can be achieved purely through sensors found on the vehicle. For example, an unconnected but automated vehicle might take the usual route to work, not knowing there has been an accident and a five mile backup. Such a vehicle would only know about the delay when it came within sensor range of the back of the queue. Similarly, no matter how smart an automated vehicle is, it will not know how much time remains until the next phase of the signal (assuming there is not a visible countdown timer) unless it has a communications system that can receive Signal Phase and Timing messages of some sort.