VTC Fall 2013: can vehicles be intelligent?

VTC Fall 2013 Conference

VTC Fall 2013 Conference

Making vehicles intelligent was one of the major topics this Wednesday. Transportation is an influential factor to economic growth, but it faces many challenges in the areas of safety, mobility (traffic jams) and protection of the environment. Building intelligent traffic surveillance systems is a major goal of US Department of Transportation researchers James Pol and Walton Fehr.

Intelligent traffic surveillance systems heavily rely on in-vehicle information systems which are connected to each other. The information systems in cars can help to collect transportation data which is required in order to predict traffic jams, avoid car accidents and measure pollution. As long as vehicles are not equipped with information systems, data-driven analysis of traffic is not possible. James Pol refers to this issue as a “chicken-egg-problem”: we need intelligent vehicles in order to have a functioning traffic surveillance, but the individual driver might require an intelligent traffic surveillance in the first place in order to invest into (possibly expensive) in-vehicle information systems.

There is much research activity going on in both areas: intelligent cars with in-vehicle information systems are developed as well as networks that connect the different in-vehicle information systems.
Walton Fehr presented some of the ongoing US Department of Transportation “Research and Innovative Technology Administration” (RITA) projects that face the current challenges in building intelligent traffic and transportation systems. Connected Vehicle Technology is a project which has the goal to develop and deploy a communication platform to fully connect all vehicles in a transportation system. Vehicles (or more precisely: in-vehicle information systems) are building mobile ad-hoc networks (MANets) which allow vehicle drivers to collect and exchange data on the overall traffic as well as other vehicles. This technology offers opportunities to researchers which can develop applications for the connected vehicle MANets.

Future research directions will be:

  • Interoperability of different in-vehicle information systems,
  • Automation of traffic data collection and
  • Management of the traffic data.

For more information about the ongoing projects visit the following site:

http://www.its.dot.gov/