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How Automated Highways Work

Updated on March 21, 2011


The automated highway system (Automated Highway System) or "Smart Roads" (Intelligent Roads), is a technology of intelligent transportation systems evolved in order to allow traffic of cars without driver on specific streets or lanes, and a system of legislative protection and adequate insurance coverage.


It is often referred to as a means of reducing traffic congestion, as it reduces drastically interveicolari distances and allows transit to a higher number of vehicles per unit time over the same stretch of road is not automated.

How it Works


The track has a row of spikes or bolts magnetized stainless steel in its center, placed at a distance of one meter. The machine detects the points to measure their speed and locate the center of the lane. In addition, the tips may have the magnetic north or the south facing upwards. Radio-emitting sides of the street in a wireless transmit small amounts of digital data that describe curves, intersections, exit roads, the recommended speed, detours for work in progress, danger, and so on.


Both cars have automatic hydraulic power steering, disc brakes and ABS, is an autopilot (controlled via radio by road authorities in different circumstances) that controls throttle, brakes and speed in general, and these are controlled by computers, linked to various types of sensors, and allowing for immediate adjustments.


The machines themselves are organized into platoons of eight to twenty-five vehicles. The cars that make up the platoons automatically move away from each other's feet, so air resistance is minimized. It states that the distance between the platoons is equal to the distance of conventional security at that speed. If anything goes wrong, the number of cars may be involved in a traffic accident would correspond to that of the platoon.


A prototype automated highway system was tested in the county of San Diego, California along Interstate 15. However, despite the technical success of the program, the investment has moved more towards the design of intelligent autonomous vehicles rather than in building an infrastructure specialist. The system AHS (Automated Highway System) inserts the sensor technology in cars that can read passive guideposts, and use the radar (or laser radar, lidar) and wireless communication between machines to allow them to self-organize without 'drivers' intervention.

Political Issues

The difficulty in development of automated highways is the chicken and egg problem: nobody will buy vehicles equipped with the AHS (Automated Highway System) unless there is a network that can operate, and yet no one take the burden of building a system to make them work until there are enough vehicles on the road equipped with on-AHS. In addition, the AHS car running with the system can not circulate together with the normal traffic for this research is trying to design intelligent cars that can assist the driver in mixed conditions, that is when driving with the normal traffic, both when driving the seat of the car's AHS. Economist Anthony Downs, author of the book (Still Stuck in Traffic, 2004) reported that while engineers have generally done an excellent job in developing highways and automated control systems dedicated to them, did not give much weight to the implications of 'have multiplied the number of machines in a stretch of road than the number possible with manual control. You should rebuild the highways as well as distributors of traffic junctions, roundabouts, turns, etc.. and huge parking garage would be required for the massive increase in the number of cars.

Accidents transit could almost invariably result in multiple deaths on highways where cars would travel in tight packs around 114 km / h (70 mph), creating the potential for failure in the field of automobile insurance. If the legislative requirements were revised to require security in the post-impact vehicle integrity to the safety cage in the car 99% and 99% survival of passengers in it at that speed, you could have a dramatically increasing the weight of cars, causing a substantial increase in fuel consumption which would lead to a series of unpleasant consequences such as increased air pollution.

Since the safety of cars is mainly a control problem, one might conclude that gradually will replace the electronic device design and passive safety. However, because of the aforementioned chicken and egg problems, and issues of liability insurance, it is unlikely that automated highway systems (AHS) in the future will be implanted and used extensively in the United States.


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