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GCN : March 2014
the roads, and they are recording the se- quence of messages from the mobile unit to the network," Avni said. "Every half a second when the phone is active there will be a message going up on the network. We use the sequence of messages to create a signature of the road." When Cellint then receives real-time information from the network, Traffic- Sense uses pattern-matching analysis track the exact location of the phone on the road. With a broader reach of moving sensors, Avni said, TrafficSense detects 99 percent of traffic slowdowns within a few minutes. TYING EVERYTHING TOGETHER "We are seeing disparate stovepipes of information services within the trans- portation segment starting to be pooled, which looks a lot like crowdsourced data, and then combined with other external data to provide a very rich transportation information," said ITS America's McClos- key. A key step in the process is finding ways to better integrate the stovepipes of data. And according to Kuang-Ching Wang, as- sociate professor of electrical and com- puter engineering at Clemson University, the key to that is software-defined net- working. "We formed a team to examine the current bottleneck for connected vehicle technology," Wang said. "And always we come to a very critical problem: there is not a sustainable funding model to build up DSRC everywhere. At the same time, other forms of wire- less connectivity are becoming more and more available to everyone -- 4G networks are affordable and Wi-Fi networks are in many places. Our team proposed to inte- grate all of these different forms of con- nectivity, and the way to integrate them is to use the software-defined networking concept." With software-defined networks, Wang said, it doesn't matter what type of traffic you're trying to send across what kind of network, since programmers can upload rules for handling network traffic to the logic chips in routers and switches. That allows data from DSRC systems to be in- tegrated easily with smartphone sensor data collected via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth net- works. Ultimately, most analysts expect this integration to take place in the vehicle itself. "More and more, automakers are building vehicles that are simply plat- forms," McCloskey said. "As they build as a platform they build it differently. It has faster processors, it has better memory management, it has some disk space that can be used for storage, but also it is com- municative and is part of a larger system. "I figure we're going to see data inte- gration occurring in the crowd, on the phone and in the car." • GCN MARCH 2014 • GCN.COM 21 While crowdsourced smartphone data is already informing consumers and regional tra c systems alike about road congestion and vehicles speeds, smartphone applications being developed in industry and academic labs are capable of providing much greater functionality. For example, Honda recently demonstrated the ability of a car equipped with dedicated short-range communications technology (DSRC) to detect a pedestrian with a DSRC- enabled smartphone. The smartphone tracks the position, direction and speed of its owner and compares it to the DSRC data about the status of nearby vehicles. When the software determines there is a potential hazard it emits a high-pitched sound and displays an on-screen warning. iOnRoad, a free downloadable application for Android devices and iPhones, employs the device s video camera and accelerometer to monitor conditions ahead of the vehicle in which it is mounted. The application issues alarms when it senses a potential collision. Of course, since the application is relying solely on visual data, it can detect potential danger only directly ahead, so it s primarily a reminder not to tailgate. According to Pushkin Kachroo, professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, researchers are working on a variety of smartphone applications. One can monitor seatbelt use in passing vehicles; another collects data on road service conditions and transmits it to transportation managers for potential action. "We have not yet built commercial applications of those," Kachroo said, "but we would like to commercialize many of these apps and get them to the market. The technology and capabilities are already there. It s just a matter of selecting which pieces you want." DESIGN-ENGINE New apps on the road to smart and safer highways Honda is exploring a dashboard device to detect a pedestrian with a DSRC-enabled smartphone.