Cars: Wireless networks; smarter, safer infrastructure

Gather a group of engineers to consider new ways to improve automotive safety, navigation, and maintenance, and ideas speed around the room. Automation and wireless network technologies inside and outside vehicles can help with these applications, according to recent discussions at the IEEE Fox Valley Subsection meeting on the topic, “The Networked Car: Technology and Use Case Drivers,...

04/01/2007


Gather a group of engineers to consider new ways to improve automotive safety, navigation, and maintenance, and ideas speed around the room. Automation and wireless network technologies inside and outside vehicles can help with these applications, according to recent discussions at the IEEE Fox Valley Subsection meeting on the topic, “The Networked Car: Technology and Use Case Drivers,” a presentation from Paul Bocci, fellow of the technical staff, Motorola Inc.

Bocci welcomed conversation during and after the presentation to some 50 engineers. For Motorola, Bocci focuses communications between vehicles to support safety applications. Many concepts covered could be applied to almost any operator-guided or semi-automated piece of complex machinery with sensors, logic, and wireless connections.

What’s needed to bring about this envisioned higher state of automotive safety using interactive networks? Bocci told Control Engineering after the Feb. 28 meeting at Illinois Institute of Technology Rice Campus that demonstrations showing how wireless networks can augment automotive safety and convenience would help, as would proof of value to automakers and policymakers. As Bocci described, it’s possible that wireless and other automation technologies, beyond increasing convenience, could save the U.S. a portion of the $250 billion approximate annual economic cost of automobile accidents, he suggests.

With appropriate communication infrastructure and onboard technologies, most automobiles ultimately could:

  • Notify drivers about safe routes around dangerous areas and notify salt trucks or maintenance crews of slippery spots or potholes.

  • Interact with traffic lights to avoid collisions.

  • Give location data to improve traffic light timing.

  • Schedule maintenance.

  • Stop the vehicle before a front-end collision would occur.

  • Alert the driver of parking locations.

  • Drastically decrease distance between vehicles on highways, allowing safe, high-speed travel.

  • Detect pedestrians and other vehicles.

  • Drive themselves.

Because many issues cut across a wide number of areas and jurisdictions, expanding the initiatives will require resolution of many technology and policy-related questions.

Various related efforts are underway:

  • Integrated vehicle based safety systems (IVBSS);

  • Cooperative intersection collision avoidance system (CICAS) which might use vehicle or sensor-related data to delay a green light if someone else might miss a red light;

  • Vehicle infrastructure integration (VII) can communicate information about surroundings. Tire slippage information could be transmitted to authorities for better dispatching of snow crews.

  • Continuous air interface for long and medium (CALM) distance is looking at data paths among environments in Europe.

  • Car2Car Communications Consortium also is looking at technologies and needs.

Bocci offers the wireless automotive network presentation in a 14-slide PDF courtesy of the IEEE Fox Valley subsection site.

www.ieee.org/foxvalley





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