Visible to the public EAGER- Autonomy-enabled Shared Vehicles for Mobility on Demand and Urban Logistics

The cities in the U.S. and elsewhere in the developed world are experiencing a transformation: Many people demand denser neighborhood with mixed use, while they choose to utilize public transportation, rather than private cars, for their commute and other daily transportation needs. To support this trend, cities are in need of novel transportation and logistics services that can help address the needs of their citizens, boost their productivity, and increase the wellness of their lives. There are a number of emerging technologies that can address this challenge. Among these are Internet-of-Things-enabled vehicle sharing services, electric vehicles, and autonomous vehicle technologies. Bringing these technologies close together can help enable joint mobility-on-demand and urban-logistics services. The proposed work aims to develop and demonstrate the Persuasive Electric Vehicle (PEV), an autonomous tricycle that can shuttle passengers as well as packets ordered through online vendors, in an urban environment utilizing the bike lanes.

The intellectual merit of the proposed work is found in the co-development of design and algorithms for vehicle-level and system-scale autonomous vehicles to operate in urban environments delivering both mobility-on-demand and urban-logistics services. On the algorithmic front, provably-safe algorithms for autonomous navigation in bike lanes as well as algorithms for high-performance routing and rebalancing will be developed. On the design front, the designs that can best embrace CPS technologies will be investigated. The proposed work will also investigate the best neighborhood and city planning practices that help enable the proposed concept.
The broader impacts will be materialized through education activities and participation in the Global City Teams Challenge organized by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The proposed project will fuel various relevant Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) classes at MIT. Furthermore, the PIs will partner with the New Urban Mechanics Group at the City of Boston Government to participate in the Global City Teams Challenge, where they will demonstrate their prototype PEV as well as their simulation results on a 3D model of a relevant neighborhood of the City of Boston. With the help of this participation, the proposing team will engage with city governments and researchers throughout the world.

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EAGER- Autonomy-enabled Shared Vehicles for Mobility on Demand and Urban Logistics