WASHINGTON – A traffic safety initiative launched this week (Aug. 21) will equip 3,000 cars, trucks and buses with Wi-Fi connections designed to help vehicles avoid crashes and improve traffic flow, planners said.
The U.S. Transportation Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said its connected vehicle pilot project will test the ability of vehicles and highway infrastructure to “talk” to each other in real time. The second phase of the mobile Wi-Fi network will be installed in Ann Arbor, Mich., one of several Michigan cities to receive federal funding to develop auto-related technologies.
Federal officials called the connected vehicle program the largest of its kind for improving U.S. traffic safety.
Vehicles will be equipped with vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications devices designed under the pilot program to gather data on how the safety network operates while gauging its effectiveness in reducing accidents. NHTSA estimates that vehicle-to-vehicle safety technology could help avoid or reduce the severity of four out of five crashes.
Wi-Fi-enabled vehicles will be able to send and receive messages from similarly equipped vehicles, translate traffic data into warnings about dangerous traffic scenarios like the threat of a collision at a blind intersection or a rear-end collision with a vehicle stopped ahead.
“We need to understand how to apply the technology in an effective way in the real world,” NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said in announcing the pilot program. Data from the pilot program will be used by the agency to determine whether connected vehicle technology should be widely deployed in other fleets.
The Transportation Department has been working with auto manufacturers to find out how wireless technology can be used to allow vehicles to communicate with each other and with the U.S. transportation infrastructure. Planners envision the technology allowing future vehicles to “talk” to traffic signals, work zones, toll booths and other roadway infrastructure.
The connected vehicle technology is based on technology similar to Wi-Fi called Dedicated Short Range Communications. Transportation experts said the technology is relatively fast, secure and nearly invulnerable to interference.
The second phase of the deployment program announced this week will test wireless systems integrated directly into vehicles along with aftermarket safety systems and communications beacons. The devices are designed to emit basic safety messages 10 times per second. The data stream can then be used by other equipped vehicles to spot potential traffic hazards.
Program officials said the results of the connected vehicle pilot program will be used by NHTSA to determine whether to proceed with additional vehicle-to-vehicle communications efforts, including proposed rules on deployment. A decision on whether to expand the program is expected in 2013, transportation officials said.
Back in the early time of WiFi, I have tested 11b and 11g. They are able to seamlessly handoff from one coverage area to another as long as same SSID is being used. There is a couple packet drops due to IP address changes. If APs are connected to the same DHCP server (IP address allocation server), the packet drops will be minimal. Nonetheless, to enable WiFi on road safety, there will be a lot of challenges and that's why R&D is necessary. Funding will definitely help. ;)
GPS and WiFi together could be used as channels to alert out-of-town drivers to all the hazards that the locals are familiar with. That could be a real benefit - and indeed might be a minor addition to the existing GPS navigation systems that are increasingly common (especially in the hands of unfamiliar drivers). The WiFi "car-to car" system seems more problematic. "Relatively fast, secure and nearly invulnerable to interference" sounds promising. However, my personal experience with unreliable WiFi sitting still at home make me very wary of depending upon it for my life and safety at high speeds. Even a dedicated protocol would require a lot of testing to ensure that it didn't fail at the worst possible times.
Teaching my kids to drive has made me re-think a lot of safety issues that have become second nature to me after years of driving. But there are so many opportunities to make things safer; and not just in the city.
Just yesterday, I was cautioning him to put his turn signal on because the intersection is over a blind hill. Hazards like that are all over the place around here.
Many types of communications are possible like wi-fi wi-max. But the the real work is that every vehicle needs to sync with their clock timings and the timely processing of the data received from many near by vehicles is quite a bit of tedious work. A good software which has to analyze the speed,acceleration,pre planned direction of movement,size of the vehicle and decide to send warning information to the drivers of the vehicle are so much important.Instead a better technique will be to have micro radars fixed in the four sides of the vehicle and do analyses which is more faster and easier and accurate, works in real time.
Today, there are a lot of people having GPS and communication in the car. It can possibly help road safety. Nonetheless, it still cannot compare to peer to peer communication on the road. How are communications being handle? AP is installed on the road while every vehicle passing by will talk to it. Although WiFi allows automatically handoff from one "cell" to the next "cell", packet drop is inevitable. I'm sure there are a lot of challenges ahead which also equate to opportunities. Please feel free to share some of the challenges. ;)
This is good initiative by the traffic department. One thing that the traffic department can do is to flash messages to the drivers whenever they are exceeding the speed limits.
In the later stage if such centralized system could automatically regulate the individual vehicle speeds as per the speed zones in which they are travelling , it will reduce the accidents by 50%
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.