Autonomous Robots on Wheels:
The Quest for Intelligent Mobility
Center for Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada
“Intelligent/Smart Mobility” represents a corner stone and an integral part of the “Smart City Concept”. This is a major technological development where latest tools of artificial intelligence (AI) and communication systems are used towards the design of new generation of autonomous vehicles (machines/robots on wheels). These are fast becoming the roaring engines of advanced mobility systems (intelligent mobility: IM). The main purpose of IM is the design of more efficient, more intelligent, and safer transportation systems that are better suited and more adapted to the latest advances in information and communication technologies, including 5G networks and smart sensory systems connected to the Internet (Internet of things: IoT). It is expected that most modes of transportation will become soon connected to the cloud and to the ever expanding IoT infrastructure. With more than a billion vehicles on the roads today, a number expected to increase by 250% in 2050, the design of highly efficient and safer transportation systems is becoming a necessity. This is a major challenge for car manufacturers, road infrastructure planners, and transportation policy makers. For instance, it is well accepted, that building more roads and related conventional transportation infrastructure will not resolve by itself, the ever-increasing traffic congestion problems. The talk highlights newly developed technologies allowing for the design of next generation autonomous vehicles and smart mobility systems. These enabling technologies represent the core of the smart mobility concept and have become prevalent thanks to spectacular advances made in the fields of machine intelligence, smart devices, sensor networks, big data analytics and Internet of things. They allow for the design of more intelligent vehicles (L3 and L4 generations), permit safer travel journeys and enable the design of more effective and smarter transportation networks, while significantly reducing traffic congestion, road fatalities and injuries, fuel consumption and pollution. The talk outlines as well recent achievements in the field and highlights challenges toward achieving short and long-term goals of building more livable and more sustainable cities of the future.