Autonomous vehicles wheel wander: Structural impact on flexible pavements

Autonomous vehicles (AVs), including trucks, are already available and their adoption is coming at a rapid pace. Despite the fact that this new transportation technology will travel on existing pavement infrastructure assets, the study and investigation of the AVs structural impact on pavements has not reached the same level of attention and maturity as other related research areas. Considering the extensive investment on pavement construction and maintenance, the necessity to fully understand these impacts in the long term, is becoming evident. The present paper presents and discusses currently published relevant research and findings on the quantification of the wheel wander potential impact, both negative and positive, offering potential insightful future areas of enquiry to help mold and shape future research for this emerging field. The paper focuses on the impact of the AVs zero lateral wheel wander on both new flexible pavement design and the damage accumulation within existing flexible pavement structures. Other wheel wander distributions (normal, uniform, etc.) are investigated as well. The outcome and findings are that the AVs zero lateral wheel wander has a definable negative structural impact on flexible pavement structures in comparison to current human-driven (non-autonomous) vehicles that tend to follow a normal lateral wheel wander distribution. However, under certain defined conditions (optimal wheel wander distribution), the pavement service life can be potentially extended.


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  • Accession Number: 01775476
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 28 2021 9:51AM