What makes your road travel truly smart?
We all talk about “smart cars,” but what exactly makes a car smart and talk to each other? Curious by this, we dug into the heart of connected car to search for an answer. Surprisingly enough, it was not just one function that made a car smart but an integration of various functions collectively called Vehicular AdHoc network (VANet).
Many academic articles have been published introducing VANet, its benefits and challenges, but there isn’t a robust solution out in the market yet that truly makes VANet work. This is not to create pessimism amongst our forward thinking readers as the Internet-of-Things era is just dawning.
VANet is a type of network where cars can automagically connect and communicate with other cars or roadside sensors to relay information. The information might be road condition, traffic situation, vehicle condition, etc. that can assist anyone on the road.
VANet consists of various technologies and processes acting simultaneously. The most important technology that makes VANet work are the array of sensors. Each vehicle is embedded with sensors like odometer, GPS, gyroscope, radar(far-field), ultrasound(near-field), etc. Similarly, road-side sensors could include radar speed detection, security cameras, etc. Currently these technologies operate in silo and are not communicating with each other. A VANet system will collect data from each of these sensor and route them through each vehicle acting as a sensor node to a centralized server to process a usable information that is re-routed back to the desired vehicle(s).
With collection of these sensor data, an intelligent VANet system can be used in following key applications:
- Road traffic safety
- Traffic engineering & optimization
- Improve quality of road travel and re-routing
- Advanced traveller information system
- Automated toll payment
- Predictive traffic modeling to prevent jams
VANet will be really useful for drivers and organization responsible for traffic management. However, there are some challenges in routing the information from point of origin. This is mainly because VANet consists of dynamic topology where vehicles are moving and it is difficult to predict optimum path of transmission of information through each vehicle node. However, researchers are looking into various routing models to efficiently transmit information.
Although VANet research is mostly being done in academic & research labs, there are few startups like the ones below pioneering to bring this technology out in the market: