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Autonomous vehicles: challenges, opportunities, and future implications for transportation policies

ABSTRACT

This study investigates the challenges and opportunities pertaining to transportation policies that may arise as a result of emerging autonomous vehicle (AV) technologies. AV technologies can decrease the transportation cost and increase accessibility to low-income households and persons with mobility issues. This emerging technology also has far-reaching applications and implications beyond all current expectations. This paper provides a comprehensive review of the relevant literature and explores a broad spectrum of issues from safety to machine ethics. An indispensable part of a prospective AV development is communication over cars and infrastructure (connected vehicles). A major knowledge gap exists in AV technology with respect to routing behaviors. Connected-vehicle technology provides a great opportunity to implement an efficient and intelligent routing system. To this end, we propose a conceptual navigation model based on a fleet of AVs that are centrally dispatched over a network seeking system optimization. This study contributes to the literature on two fronts: (i) it attempts to shed light on future opportunities as well as possible hurdles associated with AV technology; and (ii) it conceptualizes a navigation model for the AV which leads to highly efficient traffic circulations.