Today I read a paper titled “Autonomous Vehicle Routing in Congested Road Networks”
The abstract is:
This paper considers the problem of routing and rebalancing a shared fleet of autonomous (i.e., self-driving) vehicles providing on-demand mobility within a capacitated transportation network, where congestion might disrupt throughput.
We model the problem within a network flow framework and show that under relatively mild assumptions the rebalancing vehicles, if properly coordinated, do not lead to an increase in congestion (in stark contrast to common belief).
From an algorithmic standpoint, such theoretical insight suggests that the problem of routing customers and rebalancing vehicles can be decoupled, which leads to a computationally-efficient routing and rebalancing algorithm for the autonomous vehicles.
Numerical experiments and case studies corroborate our theoretical insights and show that the proposed algorithm outperforms state-of-the-art point-to-point methods by avoiding excess congestion on the road.
Collectively, this paper provides a rigorous approach to the problem of congestion-aware, system-wide coordination of autonomously driving vehicles, and to the characterization of the sustainability of such robotic systems.