Safer Transportation Tech Stoplights To Send SMS
Imagine if your car could talk to other vehicles, not just to them, but also work with motor carrier networks, public transit systems, GPS, and satellite traffic data to warn drivers and even prevent collisions.
Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), a broad term, refers to the integration of communication and sensor technologies that allow private drivers, trucks, public transport, and infrastructure systems, to work together to improve safety, quality, and mobility on the roads. Personal mobile devices and integrated devices that are designed to reduce distractions to drivers also fall under ITS.
Types of ITS
The ITS can be used for everything from road management to vehicle communications between personal devices, vehicles, buses, trucks, and other roadside equipment. These ITS have many benefits, including avoiding dangerous situations and saving time and money as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
- Personal IT will provide drivers with additional awareness beyond what they can see or hear. It will alert them to potential hazards, traffic, and weather impacts, as well as allow vehicles to optimize their travel from preventing collisions to optimizing fuel efficiency.
- Vehicle-to-Vehicle communications (V2V ) would allow cars of travelers to communicate with each other, including helpful tips like how to spot ice and avoid collisions.
- Vehicle Infrastructure Integration would allow communication between vehicles and roadside units via Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC). Roadway ITS would transmit and collect data that could be used to assist both drivers and transport managers in preventing and managing transportation safety.
Moving Fast to the Future
Car-to-Car Communication was named by MIT's Technology Review as one of the top ten most important breakthrough technologies. According to the report, and forecast, cars will be able to communicate with each other within 1-2 years. This is just around the corner.
It makes sense that Intelligent Transportation Systems development is the main focus of many auto manufacturers, government agencies, and communication companies. With so much attention being paid to improving roadway safety and infrastructure, it makes perfect sense. The report stated that the technology could prevent over half a million injuries and more than 1,000 deaths in the United States each year.
Strong Federal Support
Skynet is a familiar name, but don't be alarmed, the government has your back. Although convenience is a great benefit, the main reason for ITS development is the potential to make transportation safer, more efficient, and more affordable. The US Department of Transportation (DOT), ITS Joint Program Office, (ITSJPO), strongly supports the widespread deployment of intelligent transportation systems. It focuses on the integration of wireless technologies between vehicles and infrastructure, Known as Dynamic Mobility Applications (DMA). DOT hosted a series of webinars to discuss the current progress, developments, and impacts of government-sponsored DMA programs.
The Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITSA) is the largest ITS-focused organization in the United States. It unites public agencies, the private sector, and research institutions to support discussion, research, and development in the ITS industry. ITSA works with Congress, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and other government agencies to promote the development of these technologies as well as their integration into our lives.
This technology is moving at an incredible pace thanks to dozens of pilot studies and programs. Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot is currently investigating the viability of the nationwide deployment of DMA. Under-road Wireless Inductive Charge would enable electric vehicles to be charged while they wait at red lights. Traffic signals already respond to congestion and intersection flow. Eco-Traffic Signal Timing will shift the focus from data collection to monitor traffic and adjust to it in real-time, with an emphasis on reducing environmental impacts.
Ford Motors, Fiat Chrysler, and Honda all have automatic braking technology. This alerts the driver to possible collisions and then brakes automatically if the driver does not react. The ITS uses a combination of radar, cameras, and databases to distinguish between pedestrians from roadside objects. The number of automaker innovations is increasing rapidly, with many companies including ITS in their strategies and concepts.
Volvo will launch the " Drive Me" pilot program. This pilot program will put 100 autonomous vehicles into the hands of regular drivers to test in normal traffic on select roads in Gothenburg, Sweden. Volvo's Autopilot system is a responsive system that uses radar, cameras, GPS, a high-definition digital map, and ultrasonic sensors to create 360-degree awareness around the vehicle.
Is this not distracted driving?
The DOT-sponsored Connected vehicle Human Factors Research investigates driver distractions with ITS and what can be done to prevent them. These notifications and alerts could increase driver distraction rather than reduce it. ITS research aims to create a world in which mobile devices will not distract but help drivers be more attentive. This trend is being followed by car and communications companies, which offer and develop ITS from mobile and integrated personal alarms to self-driving vehicles.
Nissan's new Driver Attention Alert (DAA), was showcased at the New York International Auto Show. According to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, one-in-five fatal accidents are caused by fatigued drivers. The system analyzes each driver's driving patterns and establishes a baseline. It then detects and alerts for inattentive behavior. The DAA system alerts you by displaying a small amber coffee cup with the words "Take your time".
Verizon Wireless developed the app "Safely Go", which allows drivers to control their phones while driving. The system can respond automatically to all calls and texts, as well as lock and unlock all apps except navigation and maps. In 2001, the company was a leader in driver mobile responsibility and supported hands-free legislation. They also launched their Responsible Driver Action Plan. The Safely Go app is part of that fifteen-year, ongoing Verizon Wireless Commitment campaign, which also includes supporting driver-safety-targeted legislation, community initiatives, advertising, and employee education.
Many mobile apps now lock and silence the phone when it senses that you are driving. Some also send auto-replies and notifications to incoming messages, such as Sprint's "Drive First" app. Others allow for one-touch access to music and callers or limit access to certain information, such as AT&T’s "DriveMode" program. #itcanwait AT&T's initiative allows drivers to stop texting while driving. To inform their loved ones that they are driving, the campaign urges them to use #X (a two-character text) to do so.
FleetSafer is a mobile phone lock designed for commercial fleets. It senses driver movements and sends out auto-replies to texts and calls. AegisMobility was recognized as a market leader in distraction-driving solutions. It received the Frost & Sullivan Customer Value Leadership Award for its "simple yet powerful platform that responds to the varied needs of corporate fleets."
Moving into the Future
The future is not far away. Technological advances in transportation such as mobile-to-dash connectivity and vehicles that can alert and even talk to drivers are now a reality. These are tools that many believe will be used to create safer drivers and better travel throughout the country. We are moving towards a future of safer and smarter travel if the trend of government support and corporate innovation continues.