Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Yanhua Li, Advisor

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Krishna K. Venkatasubramanian, Reader




Emergence of autonomous vehicles (AVs) offers the potential to fundamentally transform the way how urban transport systems be designed and deployed, and alter the way we view private car ownership. In this thesis we advocate a forward-looking, ambitious and disruptive smart cloud commuting system (SCCS) for future smart cities based on shared AVs. Employing giant pools of AVs of varying sizes, SCCS seeks to supplant and integrate various modes of transport -- most of personal vehicles, low ridership public buses, and taxis used in today€™s private and public transport systems -- in a unified, on-demand fashion, and provides passengers with a fast, convenient, and low cost transport service for their daily commuting needs. To explore feasibility and efficiency gains of the proposed SCCS, we model SCCS as a queueing system with passengers' trip demands (as jobs) being served by the AVs (as servers). Using a 1-year real trip dataset from Shenzhen China, we quantify (i) how design choices, such as the numbers of depots and AVs, affect the passenger waiting time and vehicle utilization; and (ii) how much efficiency gains (i.e., reducing the number of service vehicles, and improving the vehicle utilization) can be obtained by SCCS comparing to the current taxi system. Our results demonstrate that the proposed SCCS system can serve the trip demands with 22% fewer vehicles and 37% more vehicle utilization, which shed lights on the design feasibility of future smart transportation systems.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Computer Science

Project Type


Date Accepted



Restricted-WPI community only


Cloud Commuting, urban computing, queuing theory