Driverless car technology is a developing field but researchers are already exploring the immense benefits it can deliver in a connected world.

Automated, driverless vehicles, for instance, could make traffic lights and speeding tickets obsolete, and daily commutes, smoother and less chaotic. Even better, innovations in driverless car technology could also mean significant fuel savings.

New connected and automated vehicle technologies pioneered in two laboratories at the University of Delaware could enable the future of energy efficient mobility systems, says Andreas Malikopoulos.

Malikopoulos, who was recently named the Terri Connor Kelly and John Kelly Career Development Professor of Mechanical Engineering, says that the technologies, UD Scaled Smart City (UDSSC) test bed and a driving simulator facility will help people reach their destinations more quickly and safely while conserving fuel at the same time.

Collaborating with researchers from Boston University, Malikopoulos developed a solution to control and minimise energy consumption and also improve travel time in connected and automated vehicles crossing an urban intersection that lacked traffic signals.

Malikopoulos collaborated with researchers from the University of Virginia on a solution that yields optimal acceleration and deceleration in a speed reduction zone, avoiding rear end crashes.

Simulations also revealed that the connected vehicles could save 19 to 22 percent fuel and get to their destinations 26 to 30 percent faster than human-driven vehicles.

Two U.S. Department of Energy programs, the Smart Mobility Initiative and the Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy's NEXTCAR program, are funding Malikopoulos’ research.