However, there are still plenty of obstacles the technology of AVs has yet to address, including seeing objects behind occlusions like buses or trucks, detecting and anticipating the movements of pedestrians and drivers well ahead of time, and dealing with defective or dirty car sensors. Another complication AV technology has yet to fully evolve is the ability to react appropriately when new and unusual road circumstances arise.
Smart infrastructure integrates digital technology in the form of artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics to make the roadways safer for drivers, AVs, cyclists, and pedestrians. Using AI-based automation like that of Derq helps monitor and manage traffic flow based on real-time data. This both helps prevent road fatalities reduce traffic congestion.
The focus on technology should not be isolated to the car itself, but also in upgrading the actual road infrastructure. State-of-the-art AI to advance smart infrastructure will not only help driverless vehicles understand the roads better, but also improve overall road safety as AVs are not equipped to see around corners or other impediments. With smart infrastructure now being introduced by AI startup companies such as Derq, having those “eyes” outside of the vehicle also allows for greater visibility overall – making the ride not only safer, but more comfortable and with even better performance. This will also result in less-congested roads. For an average U.S. citizen, congestion costs 99 hours of their time and $1,377 each year. Smart infrastructure can prevent traffic backups by adjusting traffic signals when needed.
While some self-driving companies currently don’t rely on smart infrastructure, the AV industry is realizing that it’s an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to accelerating the ability to deploy more AV routes in different cities and countries. In addition, transportation systems can’t achieve safety without smart infrastructure. The need for innovative technology on the roads is growing. The U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, has even stressed on the importance of building better infrastructure as well as the technology for self-driving cars.
The incorporation of AI and video analytics in smart roads will further the development of the technology of driverless vehicles. These innovations will also revolutionize the safety, comfort, and performance of not only the autonomous vehicles, but also the overall transportation ecosystem.
Dr. Georges Aoude is the CEO and Co-Founder of Derq, an MIT spinoff powering the future of connected and autonomous roads, making cities smarter and safer for all road users and enabling the deployment of autonomous vehicles at scale. Derq provides cities and fleets with an award-winning and patented smart infrastructure Platform powered by AI that helps them tackle the most challenging road safety and traffic management problems.