US tests using the Internet of things (IoT) for traffic management

Arizona University researches test an IoT platform to allow cars and street furniture to communicate with each other

In yet another success for the Internet of Things (IoT) technology, a team of US researchers has developed a system to ease vehicle-to-infrastructure and vehicle-to-vehicle communications for better traffic management and curb increasing road accidents. The team led by Larry Head from University of Arizona used optimisation and algorithms with wireless devices and traffic signal controllers to manage the traffic signals in the US city of Phoenix.

"Drivers communicate wirelessly on smartphones with people around the globe, but their cars cannot communicate with cars around the corner. That is about to change," Head said. The researchers a took a team of supervisors, locals and transportation officials on a test bus ride on a 2.3-mile stretch of a road in Anthem -- a suburb in Phoenix.

The road had "Dedicated Short Range Communications" (DSRCs) radios mounted in demo buses and emergency vehicles, atop light poles and in roadside equipment boxes at intersections. Along the test ride, the bus received messages from traffic signals, computed how long it would take to reach the signals and sent requests for service back to the signals.

Using the algorithms developed by Head's team, the signals prioritised approaching vehicles: passenger, transit, emergency and commercial. For example, at one intersection, path was cleared for a fire truck and got the green light first. The monitor also alerted the bus of upcoming construction and school zones.

"Vehicle-to-infrastructure and vehicle-to-vehicle communications, or connected cars, are on the horizon -- and their capabilities will significantly change how traffic is managed and how drivers experience the road," Head added. The text material was provided by University of Arizona.


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