Autonomous vehicles (AVs) are coming here! And it’s a good thing; if managed well, a taxi service comprising self-driving electric vehicles can provide sustainable, affordable personal mobility.

In this project, we looked at how to optimally manage a fleet of autonomous taxis to reduce customer waiting times, while maintaining a small fleet size. A key strategy we studied was rebalancing: moving taxis from regions of low-demand to regions of (anticipated) high demand. However, it is important to minimize the number of rebalancing trips because they are usually empty (not passenger carrying) and can contribute to traffic congestion.

The video below shows a simulation of  autonomous taxis servicing the Central Business District (CBD) region of Singapore; blue lines are normal passenger-carrying taxi trips, while orange lines are rebalancing trips. In this experiment, we combined our rebalancing technique combined with machine-learning methods for predicting demand; under favorable conditions, we can reduce waiting times by half. We also investigated other factors that impact service quality such as (optimal) station placement (where the cars recharge and park when not in service). To learn more, see the related papers below.

Related papers

Microsimulation of Demand and Supply of Autonomous Mobility On-Demand,
Carlos Lima Azevedo, Katarzyna Marczuk, Sebastián Raveau, Harold Soh, Muhammad Adnan et al.
Transportation Research Record (TRR), Journal of the Transportation Research Board. [ Pre-print PDF | TRB Link ]

Autonomous Mobility on Demand in SimMobility: Case Study of the Central Business District in Singapore.
Katarzyna Marczuk, Harold Soh, Carlos Miguel Lima Azevedo, Muhammad Adnan, Scott Drew Pendleton Der Horng Lee, and Emilio Frazzoli,
IEEE International Conference on Cybernetics and Intelligent Systems(CIS) and Robotics, Automation and Mechatronics (RAM), 2015. [ PDF ]

A spatial-temporal approach for moving object recognition with 2D LIDAR
B. Qin, Z. J. Chong, H. Soh, T. Bandyopadhyay, M. H. Ang Jr., E. Frazzoli, and D. Rus
International Symposium on Experimental Robotics, Marrakech/Essaouira, 2014. [ PDF ]