Escudo de la República de Colombia

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Autonomous vehicles would replace taxis in New York

Designing a system which uses autonomous vehicles to transport people between stations is a new alternative for personal mobility which could replace taxi cabs.

Bogotá D. C., 26 de julio de 2016Agencia de Noticias UN-

Taxis would be replaced by autonomous vehicles.

They studied the mobility system of New York.

The system would enable mobilizing 60,000 additional passengers.

People would wait less to get the service.

Autonomous vehicles offer greater road safety.

They hope to implement the system in a few years.

The research project was carried out by Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) Civil Engineering student Diana Marcela Díaz, in New York. She studied the possibility of using a self-driving (autonomous) vehicle fleet. The vehicles would pick up people in a safe manner and leave them at predestined locations. 

The project entitled “Taxi of the future” consisted of creating a computer program to simulate the traditional taxi system and this new mobility proposal which works with stations distributed across a city. 

Several parameters were compared between the two systems such as waiting times, customer impatience, fleet usage rate, and vehicle intensive use. 

In all cases they proved that autonomous vehicles can improve the taxi quality service as it allows to significantly reduce the amount of vehicles needed to service a fixed demand. 

In total they simulated 11 hours of service of all the taxis in New York and compared it to the new alternative. They discovered that the new autonomous vehicle system could carry 60,000 more users than the traditional system. 

“The results suggest that an autonomous system, implemented as a substitution of the taxi system could satisfy the transportation needs with a significant yield improvement for this type of service,” said Díaz. 

According to White & Blue Group, the largest Taxi operator in New York, its yearly revenue has dropped by 50% in comparison to the previous year and this has compelled them to stop using 20% of their fleet every day. 

According to the company, Uber is the main responsible party for this fall as users prefer the Uber service and many drivers are also turning to driving for Uber. 

Díaz says while they cannot confirm that Uber is the only cause of the user and driver inconformity, this new technology has cast a doubt on the service quality of the traditional taxi system. 

Up to now they do know that the individual public transport system has been impacted by operational deficiencies, customer attention, lack of control and regulation. 

For people to access the new service they have to go to stations and using an app or ID card, request a vehicle to take them to the nearest station of their destination. 

“We hope to come closer to the traditional taxi model, simulating the decisions taxi drivers take during their work hours. If the vehicle does not find his passenger within 5 minutes it can move to the next station with a greater demand and stay there until it finds a passenger,” she said. 

Additionally they discovered that autonomous vehicles can improve road safety, as 95% of the accidents are produced by human errors. 

The project was carried out for the Nexo Global program, an international mobility program of the Colombian Administrative Department for Science Technology and Innovation which offers research experience to different career undergraduate students.

(Por: Fin/VC/DMH/APBL
)
N.° 160

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