Detroit Autonomous Driving Event – November 2014

The renowned German we.Connect staff from Berlin hosted a conference on automated and connected driving in Troy, Michigan, November 17-18, 2014.  This was a business to business networking event, featuring a combination of presentations and roundtable discussions on automated and autonomous vehicles.  The event was intended to share information and to stimulate networking.   Discussions at this conference led to some conclusions about the likely progression of connected and automated vehicle technology.

The most important feature for commercial vehicle applications seems to be lane keeping.  Trucks traveling in platoons on limited access highways are most concerned about staying in their lane.

Early applications of connected and automated vehicles are likely to occur in campus settings in low speed environments on private roads.  Theme parks and military bases might be examples of this application.

First applications of automated vehicle technology are likely to be low speed environments such as parking and for highway driving at higher speeds on limited access facilities.

Human factors will be important to consider in applying automated vehicle technology.  One of the most important of these is how to re-engage the driver in the driving task after the vehicle has been is self-driving mode.  How much time does the driver need to “wake up” and take control of situations not pre-programmed?  One presenter drew an analogy with airplane pilots.  He argued that, in the end, the technology should support the driver.

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