ICS Theory Group

Winter 2016: Theory Seminar
ICS, Room 243, 1:00pm

February 5, 2016:

On the Complexity of an Unregulated Traffic Crossing

Nil Mamano

The steady development of motor vehicle technology will enable cars of the near future to assume an ever increasing role in the decision making and control of the vehicle itself. In the foreseeable future, cars will have the ability to communicate with one another in order to better coordinate their motion. This motivates a number of interesting algorithmic problems. One of the most challenging aspects of traffic coordination involves traffic intersections. In this paper we consider a simple and fundamental geometric optimization problem involving coordinating the motion of vehicles through an intersection. We are given a set of $n$ vehicles in the plane, each modeled as a unit length line segment that moves monotonically, either horizontally or vertically, subject to a maximum speed limit. Each vehicle is described by a start and goal position and a start time and deadline. The question is whether, subject to the speed limit, there exists a collision-free motion plan so that each vehicle travels from its start position to its goal position prior to its deadline. We present two results. We begin by showing that this problem is $\mathsf{NP}$-complete with a reduction from 3-SAT. Second, we consider a constrained version in which cars traveling horizontally can alter their speeds while cars traveling vertically cannot. We present a simple algorithm that solves this problem in $O(n\log n)$ time.

(Based on a paper by Philip Dasler and David M. Mount at WADS 2015.)