Sustainability of Autonomy-enabled Transportation Systems

Steven Barrett, Associate Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Sertac Karaman, Associate Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Proposed Work

Autonomous vehicles have the potential to transform transportation. So far, researchers have not systematically analyzed how autonomous technology could be applied to develop a sustainable transport system with drastically reduced environmental impacts.

To our knowledge, the proposed study is the first to analyze this question. In particular, we are planning to assess autonomy-enabled system designs and their environmental footprint, especially considering autonomy-enabled convoys for trucks and aircraft. In addition, we intend to identify, develop and apply deep-learning algorithms which are required to implement novel transportation solutions and/or to understand transportation’s environmental impacts in detail.

We expect the contributions of this study to be two-fold. First, the study will be the first to provide insights into the potential benefits of autonomy-enabled transport systems designed to reduce the environmental footprint of transportation. Second, the novel understanding of potential system design options in combination with novel deep learning algorithms, which set out to improve our understanding of transportation’s environmental impacts, will serve as an enabler for the implementation of a more sustainable future transport system.