Royal Holloway: Secure connected and autonomous vehicles - the long road ahead
Recent advances in technology have led to new safety and comfort features being added to vehicles, with ambitious plans for driverless cars and other connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) systems being developed which are expected to reduce accidents, pollution and congestion.
The Department for Transport 2019 publication, UK Connected and Automated Mobility Roadmap to 2030, is a comprehensive foundation to build on and the next decade promises to be an exciting time. At the same time as technology is progressing, society is changing, and urban populations are becoming more dense. Vehicles are set to become highly sophisticated mobile computers which monitor their surroundings and make instant decisions based on what they detect, independently and unsupervised. They will simultaneously exchange information across networks, using the information received from wide area services and also the digital devices around them as input for decision-making.
CAVs will operate as nodes in the intelligent transport networks they rely on, consisting of dynamic and fixed elements. This article will look at some of the requirements, constraints and challenges, including two areas of uncertainty: data and software updates.
This technology is in its infancy. What if CAVs malfunction or their processors hang? It is difficult to see how there can be any error margin – yet lives will rely on them functioning safely. In this new paradigm, mobile computers will be out and about, under no one’s direct control, and they will be too numerous to individually monitor. Will all go according to plan or should we strap in for a bumpy ride?