A project to solve wasted time in traffic – AIM Autonomous Intersection Management

Problem: Wasted time in traffic – commuters are spending more time stuck in traffic. According to TOMTOM, commuters spent “an average 66 more hours stuck in traffic” in 2014 than in 2013.

Technology: Autonomous Intersection Management (AIM): “a new intersection control protocol that exploits autonomous vehicles’ extraordinary capabilities of control, sensing, and communication to make traffic management at intersections much more efficient than traditional control mechanisms such as traffic signals and stop signs. This video illustrates the principle behind this new traffic control protocol and demonstrates its potential using Marvin, the autonomous vehicle developed at the University of Texas at Austin.”

AIM logo

Change of mind – The vision:  “When I show people that video, I tell people to not envision themselves with their foot hovering over the brake or with their white knuckles on the steering wheel, but rather they’re in the back seat with the windows dark, doing a crossword puzzle or reading the newspaper, talking to family or whatever,” he says. “Once the driving is not a human task and people grow to trust the software controllers, people will also get used to the idea of cars going through the intersections.”


Implementation of Technology:

  1. Autonomous Cars: In order to work, roads would need to have mostly autonomous cars.
    1. Need autonomous cars to respect the same intersection control protocols designed for people.
  2. New multi agent intersection control scheme – designed for autonomous vehicles
    1. Utilize the intersection more than traffic lights and stop sign
    2. The aim reservation protocol: potential to reduce congestion and fuel usage
    3. Reduce the need for a lot of acceleration and deceleration – hence, reduction of harmful emissions
  3. Implementation of dedicated short range communication (DSRC): it allows autonomous cars to communicate with the servers at the intersection – Intersection manager.
    1. Intersection manager in each car is autonomous agent in a multi-agent system
    2. Technical challenge: to design a communication protocol between the agents ensuring cars can get through intersection quicklycalcul and guarantees no collisions (as long as there are no mechanical failures and the cars follow the protocol).
    3. Calculates the car proposed trajectory – guarantees safe passageway based on reservations from each car to the intersection manager.

This project isn’t finalized, hence, we cannot implement it. However, it would be a good idea to implement a pilot program on a small town. Once glitches are fixed and technology proven to be successful, a roll out to a larger scale would be the next step.





2 thoughts on “A project to solve wasted time in traffic – AIM Autonomous Intersection Management

  1. This technology has the possibility to revolutionize the automobile and transportation industries. More specifically, I believe that the transit shipping industry will be severely impacted in a positive way due to the effectiveness of the method of transportation. This also has the potential to reduce fuel emissions and consumption.


  2. Interesting concept. It goes hand-in-hand with self-driving cars. What happens when an unexpected mechanical error occurs in the middle of an intersection. Would there be enough time for the mechanics of the car to react even if the sensor immediately becomes aware of the situation? Also, how would the system respond to items that fall off of a truck or car? Also, how would pedestrians cross the road?


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