from Japan] [View from Austin]
[UC Irvine] [UC
San Diego] [Automakers]
experts on the next-generation of "smart" cars and roads
converged on San Diego October 19 for the inaugural Workshop on
Intelligent Transportation and Telematic Systems (WITTS). Sponsored
by Cal-(IT)˛, the meeting brought together academic researchers
from UC Irvine and UC San Diego as well as industry partners and
government officials involved in development of transportation systems
for California and the nation. "We're pulling together a set
of people who understand the frontiers of wireless and telematics
technology to prototype a system that could work in the real world,"
said Cal-(IT)˛ director Larry Smarr in his opening remarks.
"Cal-(IT)˛ is researching novel solutions to help alleviate
traffic congestion in the future, and which we believe was part
of [California] Governor Davis's vision for this institute."
noted that the sensors and microchips connecting cars to the Web
will quickly overtake the installed base of desktop PCs: "If
there are a hundred million cars with 25 embedded processors each-that
is 25 times the number of PCs connected to the Internet today."
As such, he said, networked cars and roads will be in the forefront
of Cal-(IT)˛'s mission to help extend the Internet throughout
the physical world.
U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is tracking progress toward
achieving the goal of deploying an intelligent transportation system
(ITS) infrastructure in the nation's largest metro areas. Said Ron
Boenau of DOT's Federal Transportation Administration: "We
are looking at 78 areas, measuring levels of ITS component deployment
and the level of integration between agencies that operate the infrastructure.
The benefits of ITS: Increased operational productivity, efficiency,
increased transit operating speeds, and decreased operational costs."
said the DOT is looking at a host of technologies that will need
to be integrated into a seamless transport infrastructure. Those
management systems (including one in Corpus Christie, TX, using
an experimental vehicle-to-vehicle automatic communication device);
payment systems (for tolls, fares and retail sales);
signal priority; and
vehicle location (AVL)
latter, the DOT official explained, faces opposition from organized
labor, because "the unions don't like the Big Brother concept
of being able to locate drivers at all times."
said that "standards will be necessary to integrate systems
from different manufacturers and systems within a vehicle,"
but he noted that the federal government is leaving it up to industry
to agree on its own standards. He also indicated that his agency
will provide additional guidance in the next 3-6 months on how it
sees the national ITS infrastructure developing-a framework within
which every local metro area can work. Boenau also told attendees
that the FTA is actively engaged in various partnerships with universities,
especially those partnering with small businesses: "The path
to deployment of university research has to involve the industrial
are committed to deploying intelligent transportation systems, because
they hold great promise for relief of congestion on America's highways,"
said John Allison, Division Chief of New Technology and Research
at the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans).
"I hope to see scores of students, professors, us, private
industry--all working together. The synergy that promotes will lead
to breakthroughs." Allison noted that his agency's new-technology
budget now runs $46 million a year, with much of the research done
on University of California campuses. Some of that research is already
reaching commercialization; Allison mentioned private industry is
now licensing equipment developed at UC Davis for picking up traffic
recent budget increases have allowed Caltrans to promote technologies
for collision avoidance and emergency communications. Allison also
said the agency is renewing its efforts to ensure the security of
the transportation infrastructure in the wake of the Sept. 11 tragedy,
and would be sponsoring a conference Oct. 30 in Washington, D.C.,
on how the transportation sector can combat terrorism. Caltrans
is also looking to deploy security devices on all bridges and tunnels.
"We also want to take better advantage of various expertise
at UC campuses," said Allison. "We are looking at creating
a more distributed, but integrated research program that leverages
the different strengths of each campus."
from Japan [.pdf of presentation]
advent of third-generation (3G) mobile communications in Japan (ahead
of the United States) is also indicative of the pace the Asian nation
is setting in the telematics and transportation fields. Workshop
participants were impressed with the presentation of Professor Katsushi
Ikeuchi, a distinguished Professor from the University of Tokyo
and a world-renowned expert in the field of computer vision and
intelligent transportation. "The major characteristics of our
work in Japan is on navigation, driver services, and safe driving
assistance," said Ikeuchi. "Our ability to provide information
to drivers will increase dramatically as a result of the dynamic
communications made possible by 3G mobile systems."
is also blanketing the country with a centralized system that will
be complete by 2005. Dubbed VICS (short for "Vehicle Information
& Communication System"), the system will tap into in-vehicle
terminals for car navigation and on-board emergency notification
systems to gather road information in real time. The VICS center
will then provide drivers with information on the least congested
routes via radio or optical beacons and FM multiplex broadcasting.
For the moment, drivers cannot talk to the center, but that will
change as 3G makes bi-directional communications feasible.
Already, the VICS system deployed in major urban areas has accelerated
reporting of emergencies. "It has reduced the time to hospital
from an average of more than 16 minutes before, to barely 7 minutes
now," said Ikeuchi. "That boosts the chance of saving
those lives to 90%." By the end of 2002, 70% of toll booths
will be equipped with electronic toll collection, and, since 35%
of Japanese jams are at toll booths, the technology is reducing
drivers have also purchased nearly 2.5 million in-vehicle safe driving
terminals. They allow for automatic reporting of accidents by hitting
a manual switch; that, plus navigation information on the car's
exact location, provides police with faster notice.
also talked about plans underway to improve driving safety on major
highways. As early as 2003, Japan will begin installing the first
Smart Cruise 21 systems in cars and along major roads. With cameras
and other sensors mounted on vehicles communicating with each other
and with roadway systems, drivers will be able to put the car on
"cruise" and leave the driving to computers. The system
will prevent cars from straying from their lanes, or colliding with
pedestrians or vehicles in the vicinity. Ikeuchi expects 150,000
kilometers of Japanese highways to be equipped with Smart Cruise
21 technology by 2010.
his Tokyo University lab, the Japanese researcher is focusing on:
gathering (recognition of vehicle in infrared images even at night,
landmark recognition, and event recognition at intersections);
display (modeling environmental map through vision, visualization
of arbitrary views for driver).
is also experimenting with 360-degree cameras on vehicles to model
urban scenes in 3-D panoramas that enhance visualization of real-time
traffic conditions. As he concluded: "Intelligent transportation
systems will lead to safer mobility, greater survivability in accidents,
and also reduce pollution."
View from Austin [.pdf
communication has the potential to become an integral element of
transportation system operation," said Hani Mahmassani, professor
at the University of Texas at Austin. "It will be a source
of system-state information as input to management support tools
and a delivery medium of an expanded realm of information and other
control actions." He added that there will be a proliferation
of opportunities to develop transportation-related content for 3G
services, including navigation and route guidance tools as well
as in-vehicle infotainment.
his presentation titled "Perpetual Virtual Motion: Transportation
Systems Research for the Age of Wireless Telecommunications"
(downloadable here in PDF file format), Mahmassani focused on transportation
systems and policy issues rather than telematics in particular.
"The convergence of transportation and telecommunications goes
well beyond the improved operational performance of cars and roads
and better fleet management," he noted. "There is a natural
complementarity between transportation and telecom systems; both
are complex dynamic spatial systems that involve non-linear interactions
among human beings and advanced technologies, in a network setting
to deliver services that meet critical human needs."
predicted that the convergence of location, telecommunications and
auto technologies will yield better transportation system safety,
efficiency and user convenience. He outlined four general areas
of a wide array of products and services for the public and private
of online methodologies for system optimization and user-level
of analysis tools to evaluate performance of complex transport
systems under different telecommunication capabilities and informational
behavior and human factors.
He also noted the need for more travel behavior research: "System
effectiveness depends on user acceptance and adoption, including
response of travelers to real-time information. We also have too
look at driver performance when using telecom devices (attention,
reaction time, etc.), driver performance in a quasi-automated
environment, driver information processing, user compliance under
multiple information sources, and so on." Mahmassani also
warned that, in the rush to build telematics into vehicles, more
research is required on how those technologies will be integrated
into the overall telecommunications infrastructure.
Irvine [.pdf of presentation]
workshop presentations of Ikeuchi and Mahmassani led into digests
of key research activities at the two campuses collaborating through
Cal-(IT)˛: UC Irvine and UC San Diego. The institute's "layer
leader" in Irvine, Will Recker, began with an overview of the
scope of Cal-(IT)˛ activities in the transport sector, including:
traffic flows by sharing information;
intelligent systems to sit in the ether; and
intelligent management of systems (using robotics, database managers
and other systems to process information).
director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC
Irvine, Recker oversees a $3-million annual research budget, 50
graduate students and 25 faculty. Currently, he is working on an
Advanced Transportation Systems Testbed-a fully instrumented research
environment to share real-time data and compare results with simulation
models. The testbed includes a mobile surveillance unit to collect
freeway data and control ramp metering.
Cal-(IT)˛ layer leader says intelligent transportation systems
represent a fundamental shift in the way instrumentation will be
done in the transportation sector. "It is evolving from the
pavement to the vehicle; from sparse and rudimentary to static and
rich data; from processing data exclusively at traffic management
centers to doing it in vehicles," said Recker. "That means
decision making will go from historical to real-time, from control-based
to information-based, and from managed to self-organizing."
gave workshop participants an outline of his institute's Autonomous,
self-organizing information Network (AutoNet) and control system
for effective management of interactions among intelligently informed
vehicles, roadways and stations. "AutoNet will be a mobile,
ad hoc wireless peer-to-peer electronic communication, linking cars-even
traveling at high speeds-into a wireless information system that
can become the central nervous system of urban transportation networks."
The professor sees "autos as moving cells of information, and
the challenge is how to share the information among cells and fuse
them into a cohesive whole."
also outlined an extension of the project called ZevNet (Zero emission
vehicle Network-enabled transportation). The multi-modal Shared-Use
Station Car program couples rail transit with shared-use cars as
an alternative for commuting in major employment areas.
the research issues singled out by Recker: sensor technology (self-powered
or traffic-powered); data management and fusion; computing (distributed
processing or "grid" processing); and dynamic algorithms
to optimize the network in real time. (For
more on Recker and ITS's work, go to http://www.its.uci.edu/.)
San Diego [.pdf of presentation]
counterpart at UC San Diego, Mohan Trivedi, began his presentation
by explaining what he means when he talks about intelligent transportation
and telematic systems. He said they include:
roads, highways and bridges;
stations and services.
listed his research group's core competencies as "sensing,
wireless, computing, software, human interfaces and cognitive science."
On the latter, Trivedi noted that his group is working with UCSD's
trend-setting Cognitive Science department--the first department
of its kind in the country.
to Trivedi, his team's research on development of novel transportation
and telematic systems is focusing on how to:
smoother and safer driving;
auto and occupant safety;
safe, secure delivery of information to drivers; and
new types of interactions.
Trivedi's direction, researchers at UCSD's Computer Vision &
Robotics Research (CVRR) lab are working on a project called
ATON, short for Autonomous agents for On-scene Networked incident
management. The system will use clusters of video and acoustic sensors,
mobile robotic agents, interactive multimedia workstations and interfaces,
all connected using high-speed, high-bandwidth communication links.
The sensors--including omni-directional cameras already deployed
on the UCSD campus--will monitor traffic and automatically detect
an incident. Remote agents will be deployed for verification and
on-scene deployment of specialized sensors and interactivity tools.
Trivedi also talked about a prototype robotic device recently built
in his lab call MIA (Mobile Interactive Avatar)-a mobile device
with wireless, two-way Internet video and other sensing and communications
UC San Diego professor also spelled out three research themes. "The
first is the distribution and evolution of intelligence among infrastructures,
vehicles, and services," said Trivedi. "Second, we are
looking at dynamic environmental, structural, and vehicular condition
monitoring using mobile webs. And finally, we are keenly interested
in technologies that may reduce driver distraction and therefore
to Trivedi, the growth of various wireless and telematic devices
promises to be a major factor in making our professional lives more
productive and our personal lives more convenient. However, he said,
"there is also rising concern about how distractive these devices
and gadgets will be. It is critically important to ensure that the
use of these new technologies does not adversely affect the safety
of the driver and others. We will undertake systematic research
where development as well as safety assessment of the new types
of telematic devices will be at the core of the investigations."
more on the work of Trivedi and CVRR, go to http://cvrr.ucsd.edu/.)
car companies working on different aspects of "smart"
autos gave short presentations at the workshop, and mentioned areas
of potential interest for future Cal-(IT)˛ research. Volkswagen's
Klaus Schaaf talked about the human-machine interface-"allowing
drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road."
Jane MacFarlane of GM's OnStar agreed. "We have clearly
opted for a voice orientation," she said. "We don't want
to distract the driver the way we would if we had adopted a display
orientation." OnStar's voice-based interface already supports
access to traffic reports, roadside assistance, remote locking,
hotel reservations and even personal calling (after programming
phone numbers into the vehicle using voice recognition). Concluded
MacFarlane: "We are looking for IT solutions rather than device
solutions." Toyota also considers the integration of
voice services a prime area of interest. The Japanese automaker's
Bill Reinert also noted that anything that relieves traffic jams
will be welcome: "Congestion has become a quality-of-life and
employee retention issue." Wingcast, a joint venture
of Qualcomm and Ford Motor, is charged with developing wireless-based
telematics, and not just for Ford, according to the company's Erwin
led the shortlist of industry partners that aim to supply services
across car platforms. The Volvo-Ericsson-Telia joint venture's Paul
Drysch said its Universal Telematics Network (already available
in Scandinavia) offers car makers and fleet owners a wireless platform
and billing engine that will accommodate new services as they come
on stream. Truck owners are already familiar with Omnitracs (400,000
units shipped so far), a service of Qualcomm. (Click here
for .pdf file of presentation graphics.) The company's James Ostrich
sees future demand for tracking hazardous waste and high-value asset
shipments, as well as real-time voice, video and telemetry broadcasting.
Ostrich also noted that Omnitracs is betting on "software-based
solutions that allow for reprogramming over the air, rather than
relying on ASICS and other hardware." Radha Giduthuri of Equator
Technologies agreed. He called the company a fabless semiconductor
developer focusing on enabling broadband solutions. Equator's "system-on-a-chip
is essentially a universal video platform," said Giduthuri.
"We are putting all video functions into software rather than
ASICS, thus reducing development time as new products come online."
One heightened area of interest since September 11, he said, is
Omnitracs, WirelessCar or OnStar, Sensoria is an open platform
inside the car that interfaces with 802.11, Bluetooth and cellular
(AMPS). The company's CEO, Dave Gelvin, said Sensoria enables the
car maker, dealer or driver to import devices such as PDAs and MP3
players to work on the network. Gelvin said he would like to get
Cal-(IT)˛ researchers to develop applications to run on the
Sensoria platform. Nancy Neigus of Hughes Network Systems
reminded everyone that HNS was the original developer of OnStar.
HNS operates large-scale satellite networks to push high-bandwidth
multimedia for major corporations, and Neigus said the firm is "in
a unique position to deliver it to automobiles." In his presentation,
Manuel Jaime of Network Car said the company's target customer
is the auto dealer. Network Car's onboard system compiles tons of
data from an OEM diagnostic system that transmits "trouble"
codes to a server. Network Car then compiles real-time reports that
are sent to the owner and the dealer. Said Jaime: "We can even
do testing for smog on the fly, and we are looking for other types
of information to gather and analyze."