An Automated highway system (AHS) or Smart Road is a proposed intelligent transportation system technology designed to provide for driverless cars on specific rights-of-way. It is most often touted as a means of traffic congestion relief, since it drastically reduces following distances and thus allows more cars to occupy a given stretch of road.
Every major city suffers from the problems that are related to increasing mobility demands. Cities have to deal with pollution, congestion and safety problems caused by increasing traffic. Traditional transport systems are not sufficient anymore to cope with these increasing problems.
With the exception of some automatically operated metro systems (Paris, London and Lille) and some recently introduced automated buses and people-movers transport systems in the present-day European city are mostly of a traditional type.
Automated Highway Systems
The Automated Highway System (AHS) concept defines a new relationship between vehicles and the highway infrastructure. AHS refers to a set of designated lanes on a limited access roadway where specially equipped vehicles are operated under completely automatic control. AHS uses vehicle and highway control technologies that shift driving functions from the driver/operator to the vehicle. Throttle, steering, and braking are automatically controlled to provide safer and more convenient travel. AHS also uses communication, sensor and obstacle-detection technologies to recognize and react to external infrastructure conditions. The vehicles and highway cooperate to coordinate vehicle movement, avoid obstacles and improve traffic flow, improving safety and reducing congestion. In sum, the AHS concept combines on-board vehicle intelligence with a range of intelligent technologies installed onto existing highway infrastructure and communication technologies that connect vehicles to highway infrastructure.
Major AHS Goals
The AHS program is designed to influence how and when vehicle-highway automation will be introduced. AHS deployments will be tailored to meet the needs of public, commercial, transit, and individual travelers in rural and urban communities. The major goals are to:
1. Improve safety by significantly reducing:
Pain and suffering.
Anxiety and stress of driving.
2. Save money and optimize investment by:
Maximizing efficiency of the existing infrastructure investment.
Integrating other ITS services and architecture to achieve smooth traffic flow.
Using available and near-term applied technology to avoid costs of conventional highway build-out.
Developing affordable equipment, vehicles, infrastructure, operations, maintenance, and user fees.
Closing the gap on predicted infrastructure needs.
Using public/private partnerships for shared risk; using the National AHS Consortium as a global focal point to influence foreign deployment efforts.
Reducing fuel consumption and costs, maintenance, wear-and-tear, labor costs, insurance costs, and property damage.