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An Initial Investigation of the Effects of a Fully Automated Vehicle Fleet on Geometric Design

This paper investigates the potential changes in the geometric design elements in response to a fully autonomous vehicle fleet. When autonomous vehicles completely replace conventional vehicles, the human driver will no longer be a concern. Currently, and for safety reasons, the human driver plays an inherent role in designing highway elements, which depend on the driver’s perception-reaction time, driver’s eye height, and other driver related parameters. This study focuses on the geometric design elements that will directly be affected by the replacement of the human driver with fully autonomous vehicles. Stopping sight distance, decision sight distance, and length of sag and crest vertical curves are geometric design elements directly affected by the projected change. Revised values for these design elements are presented and their effects are quantified using a real-life scenario. An existing roadway designed using current AASHTO standards has been redesigned with the revised values. Compared with the existing design, the proposed design shows significant economic and environmental improvements, given the elimination of the human driver.


       Vertical field of view of LiDAR sensor

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