- With more and more autonomous vehicles being introduced, a new thought has emerged on what can be done to smarten up the streets on which they travel.
- Doing so will allow smart vehicless to exchange information with other vehicles, traffic-management centers, and private companies about traffic congestion, accidents, and weather conditions. The aim to make it all as a system running solely on IoT, which will include various sensors embedded in the roadway and on traffic lights.
Professor of software and systems engineering at Penn State Great Valley, U.S , IEEE Fellow and author of the book Smarter Roads and Highways, Phillip A. Laplante states that while there are already intelligent transportation systems that provide information gathering to ease traffic congestion in real time such as Austria’s Autobahn, which uses Cisco’s Connected Roadways system to link 70,000 sensors and 6,500 traffic cameras to monitor traffic and road conditions, as of now no comprehensive IoT-based transportation system has been fully deployed.
The way forward
Municipalities can start making their roadways smarter right now by deploying sensors, Laplante says. Wireless or wired IoT sensors of all types can collect data about a road’s condition, the weather, and wildlife-movement patterns.
These sensors can be installed on existing traffic lights to improve the flow of traffic. Some traffic signals could communicate with each other to create a continuous sequence of green lights to keep traffic moving.
Concerns and implementation
Security and privacy of information are a concern for all IoT applications, but extra care must be taken with highways. The physical assets of the system must be protected against the threat of damage, vandalism, theft or hacking.
Additionally, law-enforcement agencies and insurance companies could use the collected information for purposes other than its original purpose, such as monitoring someone’s driving habits or tracking a car’s location.
According to Laplante, several IEEE standards are there to support smart highways. They include IEEE 802.11p, which standardizes vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication. The IEEE 1609 family of standards for wireless access in vehicular environments defines an architecture and a standardized set of services and interfaces for secure V2V and V2I wireless communication.
He says that although the challenges of building IoT-enhanced highways might seem challenging, they should motivate engineers and scientists to develop new solutions and thus provide greater benefits.