Differences: CAVs and others
Apparent CAV Limitations
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Differences between CAVs and vehicles we drive go well beyond who drives whom. After all, features such as automatic transmissions, automatic chokes, cruise control, anti-lock brakes, ignition interlocks, speed governors, backward-looking cameras, etc., have, over time, transferred decision-making and control away from drivers and to vehicles. Davius takes the high-level view, exposing limitations and opportunities that CAVs offer.
Levels of Automation
While the literature on Levels of Automation is of interest from a CAV Research and Development (R&D) perspective, we focus here on Level 0 (no automation) and Level 5 (full automation). However, when the discussion turns to transition, the argument will be made that dual-mode vehicles, classified as Autonomous Level 3, will play a critical role.
Apparent CAV Limitations
It is useful to consider what CAVs can and cannot do. The apparent CAV limitations (see discussion at right) are based on what we humans can do that present (Level 0) vehicles cannot. Much of CAV R&D has been to compensate for those limitations. Nonetheless, CAVs are not humans and Davius argues that they should just be themselves.
One distinguishing characteristic of the CAV-System approach is the recognition that CAVs offer new opportunities. Just as "visible" highway markers and signs now serve human drivers, different indicators and markers will enable safe, efficient CAV travel on CAVWAYs. Here are three examples:
Lane dividers: Human drivers see painted lines or feel bumps (Botts' Dots) which help them to stay in their lanes; CAVs can be guided by maps and navigation aids which help them stay within "virtual" lanes. This will allow CAVWAY lanes to be adjusted automatically to account for work zones, accidents, and other potential hazards.
Experience, courtesy, and safety Experience generally moves human drivers to become more courteous, safer drivers over time; traumatic experiences, caused by such unsafe practices as following too close, exceeding the speed limit, or texting may result in the removal of unsafe drivers from the road. To compensate for their lack of experience, CAVs can be guided by human experience embodied in "protocols," common decision paradigms, which enforce both safety and efficiency. The physical separation of CAVs from vehicles with human drivers enables this opportunity.
Accounting for abnormal conditions
Human drivers sense and account for abnormal conditions such as road hazards, weather conditions, and work zones. CAVs will communicate with instrumented CAVWAYs which have data on local physical conditions, such as weather and roadway status. The advantages of sharing control and responsibility between CAV and CAVWAY are discussed further here.
Many of us see CAV limitations with respect to capabilities of human drivers which include eyesight, hearing, experience, and intent.
Eyesight enables us to read markers and signs, including lane dividers, warnings, and highway names, and to sense road-condition challenges such as rain, fog, or dust.
Hearing complements eyesight and allows us to sense vehicles through road noise or from their horns or sirens.
Experience helps us anticipate the decisions which other drivers may make as well as the risks and hazards of our normal travel routes.
Our intent may change in response to changes in our needs (baby crying) or roadway conditions (traffic jams).