Review of Learning-based Longitudinal Motion Planning for Autonomous Vehicles: Research Gaps between Self-driving and Traffic Congestion

Hao Zhou, Jorge Laval, Anye Zhou, Yu Wang, Wenchao Wu, Zhu Qing, Srinivas Peeta

Self-driving technology companies and the research community are accelerating their pace to use machine learning longitudinal motion planning (mMP) for autonomous vehicles (AVs). This paper reviews the current state of the art in mMP, with an exclusive focus on its impact on traffic congestion. We identify the availability of congestion scenarios in current datasets, and summarize the required features for training mMP. For learning methods, we survey the major methods in both imitation learning and non-imitation learning. We also highlight the emerging technologies adopted by some leading AV companies, e.g. Tesla, Waymo, and Comma.ai. We find that: i) the AV industry has been mostly focusing on the long tail problem related to safety and overlooked the impact on traffic congestion, ii) the current public self-driving datasets have not included enough congestion scenarios, and mostly lack the necessary input features/output labels to train mMP, and iii) albeit reinforcement learning (RL) approach can integrate congestion mitigation into the learning goal, the major mMP method adopted by industry is still behavior cloning (BC), whose capability to learn a congestion-mitigating mMP remains to be seen. Based on the review, the study identifies the research gaps in current mMP development. Some suggestions towards congestion mitigation for future mMP studies are proposed: i) enrich data collection to facilitate the congestion learning, ii) incorporate non-imitation learning methods to combine traffic efficiency into a safety-oriented technical route, and iii) integrate domain knowledge from the traditional car following (CF) theory to improve the string stability of mMP.

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