Three-minute thesis testing tomorrow's transport

3 Oct 2018

A possible solution to traffic congestion will be the focus of a University of Queensland PhD student’s entry in an international Three Minute Thesis competition in China.

Anshuman Sharma from the School of Civil Engineering studies connected vehicles, which use technology to communicate with the driver, other cars and roadside infrastructure to improve vehicle safety and reduce commute times.

“Future mobility has always excited me, and connected vehicle research is a global hot topic,” he said.

The technology can warn drivers about possible dangers such as unexpected pedestrians or potential collisions.

“I am working to determine whether connected vehicles are the answer to our congestion and traffic problems before we spend billions of dollars on rolling them out.”

Mr Sharma designed a driving simulator experiment to gauge how different drivers would react to warnings or messages from a connected vehicle.

“Imagine you are driving a connected vehicle on Coronation Drive and you receive a collision warning,” he said.

“Some people will trust the message and act accordingly by pressing hard on the brakes, whereas others will use their own judgement before reacting to the situation.

“From those experiments I found that the smaller the gap between the connected vehicle and the vehicle in front, the more the driver relied on the connected vehicle’s suggestions.”

He is now analysing a wide range of traffic scenarios with different numbers of connected vehicles.

After falling short of first place in UQ’s Wildcard round, he is hoping he can win when he heads to the McDonnell Academy International Symposium 3MT competition in Beijing, next month.

“I am really excited,” he said.

“It will be a great learning experience to compete against other leading universities.”

Media: EAIT Communications, Paige Ashby,, 0430 511 615.