Stabilizing traffic flow via a single autonomous vehicle: Possibilities and limitations

Shumo Cui, Benjamin Seibold, Raphael Stern, Daniel B. Work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


In certain flow regimes, the ideal uniform vehicle flow on the road is unstable, and stop-And-go traffic develops. The instability that leads to this less fuel-efficient unsteady flow results from the collective behavior of all human drivers. This work studies under which circumstances the presence of a single autonomous vehicle (AV) can locally stabilize the flow, without changing the way the humans drive. If possible, this can enable traffic flow control via very few AVs serving as mobile actuators. First, the analysis of car-following models reveals that in idealized conditions (no system noise), the flow can in fact be made linearly stable by means of a low fraction of control vehicles. Second, we highlight the fundamental limitations of this sparse control when considering models with noise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationIV 2017 - 28th IEEE Intelligent Vehicles Symposium
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781509048045
StatePublished - Jul 28 2017
Event28th IEEE Intelligent Vehicles Symposium, IV 2017 - Redondo Beach, United States
Duration: Jun 11 2017Jun 14 2017

Publication series

NameIEEE Intelligent Vehicles Symposium, Proceedings


Other28th IEEE Intelligent Vehicles Symposium, IV 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityRedondo Beach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Modeling and Simulation


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