Discussions about the pros and cons of the automated highway system (AHS) visions are nothing but intellectual exercises unless the issue of how to evolve the current highway system toward this end state can be resolved. The primary motivation for the AHS is its potential for considerable highway capacity gain without major acquisition of right-of-way. Many believe that such capacity gain is possible only when lanes are dedicated to the use of those vehicles equipped for full automation. However, to avoid the empty-lane syndrome, there must exist a sufficient population of automation-equipped vehicles that can use the dedicated lane at once or shortly thereafter. Also, if such automation-equipped vehicles can be used only on such dedicated lanes, few people would purchase such vehicles before dedication of lanes on a network basis, the well-known "chicken-and-egg" problem. In this paper partial-automation concepts are proposed that help solve this chicken-and-egg problem. Because of the futuristic nature of the AHS, many technological and nontechnological questions cannot be answered definitely. Assumptions must first be made about the likely or reasonable answers to such questions and then requirements derived for partial-automation concepts based on these assumptions. The goal is for the inferencing process to be rigorous and correct so that only the assumptions are to be debated. The author believes that the assumptions made are reasonable and therefore that the requirements for partial-automation concepts and the actual partial-automation concepts proposed are necessary. Most important, it is hoped that this approach will facilitate a more rigorous process in exchanging ideas and debating AHS deployment issues.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jacob_tsao/23/