This week - AV's at Toll Plazas, electric cars, no jams, parking woes and vehicle to grid trials

Home / News | posted on 14 07 2017

ITSnow.org News Roundup looks at how autonomous vehicles cope in French Toll Plazas, the uptake in electric vehicles, plans to get rid of congestion in London, hear about the Inrix report on parking pain and government plans to develop vehicle to grid technology


Autonomous cars at Toll Plazas

Autonomous vehicles at Toll Plazas

In France, both Renault and PSA Group are apparently tackling the vagaries of motorway toll plazas on the operation of autonomous cars. Issues are caused at these sites due to the lack of road markings on both the diverge and merge before and after the booths, the number of toll lanes (the biggest in France has 39 lanes at the plaza) and erratic driver behaviour of manually driven vehicles near the toll booths. Although experience of operating autonomous vehicles travelling through toll plazas will obviously inform the operation of vehicles in other areas lacking demarcation and clear linear characteristics (such as the large roundabout in Place Charles de Gaulle around the Arc de Triomphe) or possibly in Shared Space schemes. However, it does beg the question that if autonomous vehicles are connected (have wireless communications with other vehicles and infrastructure), once they become generally available, then surely there will not be any need to have toll plazas, an operating system for a toll road will be able to interrogate and charge vehicles for using the route?

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Electric cars

Electric cars increase

The recent news from Volvo that all their new car models from 2019 will do away with conventional internal combustion engines and the French announcement to stop them in new vehicles by 2040, highlights the rapid change in fortunes for electrically propelled cars. Although electric cars have suffered from associations with slow moving utilitarian vehicles such as milk floats, cars from companies like Tesla have made a dramatic difference to the public's perception. This has started to result in exponential growth in sales in some markets, with big increases particularly in emerging markets such as China. With this growth, economies in scale will be achieved which will result in vehicle prices becoming more economic. These developments will also aid the adoption of autonomous vehicles, where automation is far easier to achieve with electrical propulsion systems.

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Get rid of jams

No more jams?

The Centre for Economic and Business Research has published a report which explores the opportunities which technological change will provide to rid our cities of congestion. With the shift toward autonomous vehicles and away from fossil fuels, it looks at the prospects to dramatically cut the cost of motoring and to reduce accidents by 90 per cent. To counter the reduction in fuel duties, the report details a road charging mechanism which could double the annual investment in our roads.

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Get rid of jams

Where can I park?

INRIX have published a study which has investigated parking pain for nearly 18,000 drivers across thirty cities in the US, UK and Germany. The findings included revealing an average 67 hours a year wasted by drivers in London (average 44 hours across the UK), searching for a parking space. The study also found that drivers also overpaid by £6.7billion on unused parking time.

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Get rid of jams

Funding for vehicle to grid technology

The UK Government has pledged £20m of funding to develop the capability of electric vehicles to return electricity to the grid. The fund will investigate technologies that allow plug-in vehicles to not only draw power from the grid to charge, but to also return it to the grid to create a smarter, more resilient energy system. The award will support feasibility studies, industrial research and development and demonstrator trials.

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