Preserving Highway Safety with the Emergence of the Internet of Vehicles

The Internet of Vehicles (IoV) is another paradigm that will have an impact on the safety of travelers in rural and urban settings. Not familiar with IoV? Let’s first start with a few definitions.

IoV is the moving network of IoT enabled cars, which use modern electronics and the integration of information to help maintain traffic flow, and to perform more effective fleet management and accident avoidance. The electronics used include sensors, GPS, entertainment systems, brakes, and throttles. IoV is also an integration of three networks, including an inter-vehicle network, an intra-vehicle network, and a vehicular mobile Internet. Consequently, the IoV will become an integral part of the larger Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure by its completion.

These two definitions define IoV’s objectives and the systems types. Let’s look at how IoV potentially impacts safety on our highways. Typically, safety applications are based on two different types of messages. The first is a single-hop periodic message. These types of messages are broadcast by vehicles. They convey information about speed and position. The second type is an event driven message. The purpose of this type of message is to distribute safety related data in a specific geographic area. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has identified multiple areas these types of IoV messages can be applied to reduce collisions. These would be extremely useful for the following warnings:

  • Wrong-way drivers
  • Cooperative forward collisions
  • Lane changes
  • Blind spots
  • Merge assistance
  • Highway and rail collisions
  • Glare reduction

In addition to these technologies, there are systems that are built into consumer vehicles that help to ensure the safety of the traveling public. It has been estimated the connected car market worldwide will reach $155 billion by 2022. Also, it is believed that 75 percent of the estimated 92 million cars shipped globally in 2020 will have internet connectivity. NHTSA and the Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office (ITS JPO) believe that vehicle-to-vehicle communications (V2V) crash avoidance technology can potentially address up to about 80 percent of crashes involving two or more motor vehicles. NHTSA also believes this communication technology is extendable beyond vehicles and the infrastructure. Devices carried by pedestrians and cyclists could leverage this technology, helping to reduce the crashes they are involved in. V2V technology could be fused with sensor technologies, such as radars or cameras, to further improve the effectiveness of these safety systems. These technologies will help to detect potential crash events sooner and with more dependably.

Many automotive companies are on the forefront of introducing collision avoidance systems in vehicles that leverages infrastructure advancements. Some of these are highlighted below.

  • Audi introduced Pre-Sense autonomous emergency braking systems in 2011. This technology warns of an imminent accident. Activation of hazard warning lights, window closings and pre-tensioning of seat belts are some of the initial measures. Automatic light braking to alert drivers followed by full braking before impact.
  • In 2012, BMW introduced Active Protection and Active Driving Assistant” on its 7 Series. Active Protection detects imminent accidents. This system pretensions safety belts, closes windows and moonroof, returns the backrest of the front passenger seat to an upright position, and activates post-crash braking. Active Driving Assistant fuses lane departure warnings, pedestrian protection, and collision mitigation.
  • General Motors introduced a collision alert system with the 2012 GMC Terrain SUV’s. Cameras are used to provide warning when there is a vehicle ahead or a land departure.
  • Subaru's EyeSight system was introduced in May 2008. This system uses stereo cameras to identify pedestrians and bicyclists. The EyeSight system also provides pre-collision braking control and adaptive cruise control at all speeds.

As Smart and Safe cities continue to emerge and evolve, the IoV will play an integral part in ensuring that people, products, and goods are moved safely. Interaction between vehicles, people, and infrastructure will be at the forefront of this evolution.

About Bruce Aquila

Bruce Aquila is a senior transportation consultant for Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure and has been with the company for 33 years. He currently works in the Transportation Business Development group where he is responsible for technical business development, consulting, industry conference presentations and product requirement collection. Aquila works exclusively with State DOTs, Metropolitan Planning Organizations, local governments, and transit agencies in the areas of linear referencing, network and data modelling, and surface transportation analysis applications.

Categories: Transportation