Economical Benefits
Is Automatic Driving really necessary?


                                Besides the obvious advantages linked to increasing safety and reducing road accidents -thus saving human lives- the possibility of having vehicles riding in a much closer proximity than they do today, produces an increment of road capacity, and, together with the intelligent modulation of vehicles' speed, also causes a noteable reduction of fuel consumption.

In other words, Automatic Vehicle Driving tends to achieve optimal use of current infrastructures, improve mobility, and minimize risks, travel times, and energy consumption. Moreover, commercial and industrial vehicles which repeatedly move along a given path, benefit from a stronger control of their routes and require less personnel to manage their moves. Co-operative Driving and Dynamic Fleet Management (activities often required when moving a large amount of goods) can therefore play a fundamental role for the reduction of industrial costs.

Recently a large emphasis has been given to security systems -both active and passive ones- and almost every automotive company is integrating such systems into its latest car models. For this reason, the techniques and the technologies supporting automatic vehicle driving are currently being studied by various parties worldwide, focusing on different perspectives.
  • Automobile manufacturers view automatic driving systems as an interesting product;
  • public and government institutions, such as public transportation companies, mainly focus on the possibility of increasing safety, reducing energy consumption, and optimizing comfort and traffic control.
  • Similarly these kind of activities have also been tackled by the academic world which, together with military institutions, sees the problem of automatic vehicle guidance as a process of technological transfer from avionics, underwater, military, or robotics applications in general, and as an engineering problem to produce low-cost systems for the private market.

In the last decade, a large number of research institutes worldwide have been involved in national and international projects related to the analysis of the 'Intelligent Transportation Systems' (ITS) problem, and a number of prototypes of intelligent vehicles have been designed, implemented, and tested on the road.