On the Complexity of an Unregulated Traffic Crossing

An introduction to and analysis of the Traffic Crossing Problem, in which a set of autonomous vehicles must cross an intersection collision-free while adhering to delay limits.



One of the most challenging aspects of traffic coordination involves traffic intersections. In this paper we consider two formulations of 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 three results. We begin by showing that this problem is 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. Finally, we provide a solution to the discrete version of the problem and prove its asymptotic optimality in terms of the maximum delay of a vehicle.