Benjamin Heydecker of University College London Presenting on “Control of Autonomous Vehicles”

UT is hosting a presentation by Prof. Benjamin Heydecker of University College London (UCL) on “Control of Autonomous Vehicles” on Thursday, February 21, 2019, from 2:00 to 3:00 pm, in the ECJ 10th floor conference room (ECJ 10.206/10.302).


Introduction of connected autonomous vehicles (cAVs) into the fleet provides an opportunity to improve the efficiency of transport on road networks. However, the way in which these vehicles are configured will affect the way that they operate individually and as a fleet. In specifying control that is beneficial for individual vehicles, the risk arises that their movement is detrimental to societal interests such as total energy consumption and network capacity. This seminar presents a model of the autonomous control of vehicles, and the ways in which this can be influenced by communication among vehicles in a stream of traffic. Various possible modes of control are considered including autonomous, communicating and cooperating.

The approach adopted is to consider the action of a vehicle in the form of its acceleration (or when this is negative, the braking) as depending on measurements of the spacing from the vehicle immediately in front and their relative speed. The behavior of this system is investigated by modelling it in the form of a second-order differential equation in spacing. The effect is investigated of communicating additional information from lead to following vehicle in the form of current acceleration. The analysis considers the various matter of safety, stability and smoothness of travel in a stream of vehicles. The results show that using communicated acceleration leads to more uniform vehicle trajectories among the vehicles that include mimicking of fluctuations along the stream that can nevertheless achieve benefit for energy efficiency. The possibility is considered that future control of cAVs is configured cooperatively according to the effects on all following vehicles.


Benjamin Heydecker is a professor of transport studies at UCL. His research lies in developing mathematical and statistical analyses in transport studies to promote modelling, evaluation and design of transport systems using available and emerging technologies. He has pursued this along the three broad themes of traffic management and control, transport planning methods, and transport safety. He is currently investigating the application of emerging information and communications technology for cooperation among users, between users and transport systems, and among components of the transport system. His interests include econometric modeling including discrete choice and equilibrium, and optimization methods for the design of transport systems. He serves the editorial boards of several international journals and is a Fellow of the Institution of Mathematics and its Applications, Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society, Fellow of the Transport Research Foundation and Member of the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation. E-mail:

Posted by Maureen Kelly  |  Category : Autonomous/Connected Vehicles