Autonomy in Mobility-on-Demand Systems
As the use of private vehicles starts approaching its limits to effectively meet the demand for personal mobility in densely populated cities, mobility-on-demand (MoD) systems emerge as a more economical and sustainable alternative. These systems rely on the deployment of a fleet of vehicles at different stations that are distributed throughout the city. The customers simply have to walk to a station near their origin, pick up a vehicle, drive it to the station near to their destination and drop it off.
The goal of this project is to assess and demonstrate the role of autonomy in mobility-on-demand systems through modeling, algorithm development and experimental demonstration. We have instrumented a golf cart and demonstrated basic autonomous driving capabilities, including reliable navigation in a GPS-denied environment and safe interaction with automotive and pedestrian traffic. Unlike most existing autonomous vehicles, our golf cart uses minimal sensing and off-the-shelf components to attain the same level of operational ability while keeping the system economically viable.