Intelligent Transportation Systems

Friday ITS Transportation Seminar! Location: A Persistent Framework


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It's a new school year, and new semester, and a new series of the ITS Transportation Seminars! Kicking things off this week is Jane Macfarlane, Head of Research for HERE. She give a talk on "Location: A Persistent Framework".

Advances in the Internet of Things (IoT), Networking and Connected Car technologies are radically transforming how maps are created and used. Currently, devices are collecting and delivering location data at a scale greater than ever. Although cloud computing provides the computing scale and power required to process these data, new mapping and analytic frameworks are needed to extract useful and actionable knowledge effectively from the data produced by IoT and connected cars. This discussion will provide examples of location data and some of the analytics that HERE uses to transform this data into a higher level understanding of road network dynamics. We will also show how new types of ecosystems are being created by analytics around location data, IoT, and mobility services. Finally, we will discuss how location as a persistent framework will continue to support the very human part of mobility which is Context.

The seminar takes place today, September 4th at 4:00 PM in 290 Hearst Memorial Mining Building with a reception to follow. Cookie Hour will be at 3:30 PM in the same location.

See you this afternoon!

On Positive Train Control


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It's been almost a week since the Philadelphia train derailment and people the question remains - would postive train control prevented the incident

What is potive train control? The Federal Railorad Administation (FRA) defines it as: "Positive Train Control (PTC) systems are integrated command, control, communications, and information systems for controlling train movements with safety, security, precision, and efficiency." Its deployment is mandated in the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 by December 31, 2105. There is still a ways to go. 

The Association of American Railroads notes the enormity of the task

PTC is an unprecedented technical and operational challenge. Since enactment of RSIA, railroads have devoted enormous human and financial resources to develop a fully functioning PTC system over the 60,000 miles that are subject to the PTC mandate. Progress to date has been substantial. Railroads have retained more than 2,400 signal system personnel to implement PTC and has already spent $5 billion on PTC development and deployment. Railroads expect to spend more than $9 billion before development and installation is complete.

A GAO report from 2013 outlines a number of challenges facing OTC roll out, echoing AAR's concerns about the complexity of the system and the timeline not being feasible. 

The week before the Philadelphia derailment, the FRA also issued a research brief about PTC across shared networks that could be used by multiple railroads. 

For more research about PTC you should go check out TRID

 

Modeling network of vehicles in a heterogeneous non-urban environment

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Last week's Friday Seminar featured EECS Professor Ruzena Bajcsi and grad student Katie Driggs-Campbell presenting their research on developing driver models to address issues in heterogeneous environments (with autonomous vechiles and human drivers). Their research group has focused on the relationship of the individual driver in the environment around them. Modeling driver behavior is important because driver distraction makes drivers unpredictable and leads to significant safety implications. NHTSA reports in 2013, 424,00 people were involved in distracted driving crashes with 3,154 fatalities. Even with the rapid advances in automated and connected vehicle technology,  Bajcsy forseees heterogeneous environments for at least the next 15 years, so the ability of the models controlled the autonomous vehicles will need to understand potential behaviours of human drivers. To develop the models using control theory, Driggs explained how they used human-in-the-loop driving simulations to better detect different stages of driver distraction and maneuvering. These models can then be used for semiautonomous vehicular control

Stay tuned for this Friday's Seminar, which is the last of the semester. ITS gradstudent Haoyu Chen will present his dissertation research on improving public transit at city-wide scales. 

Monitoring Traffic for Incidents and Extreme Congestion Events


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Last week's Friday Seminar welcomed back ITS alumn, now Univeristy of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Assistant Professor, Dan Work. He presented some of his work in the area of monitoring traffic data to better responde to incidents and extreme congestion events. The talk began with focus on how his group uses the app TrafficTurk for low-cost traffic sensing, which has been used in managing big events like homecoming weekend at University of Illinois and the Farm Progress Shows in Decatur, IL (where over 100,000 people flock for the event). He then talked about how he's used this sensing data to more quickly respond to traffic incidents through multiple model particle filtering. He concluded the talk preseting some preliminary results from New York City taxi data (which is shared here as open data) on the congestion in the city following Hurricane Sandy. The data shows that there was not much congestion during evacuation, as there was a system and a plan in place, but that the extreme congestion after the storm shows a need for better post-event planning and coordination. 

You can find more of Work's publications (and source code) here

Connected/Autonomous Vehicles, Ownership, and DMCA: What will vehicle ownership mean in the future?


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Today Wired ran a story about John Deere's assertion that purchasing one of their tractors is "an implied license for the life of the vehicle to operate the vehicle." The key issue is not the hardware, but the software and the ability to access and modify it.  Using DMCA, many vehicle manufacturers are submitting comments to the Copyrights Office that modifying their software in a form of piracy. So legally, is this the end of ownership as we know it?

The questions and concerns about this legal development has been brewing for some time, but as the internet of thing comes closer to being a reality more people are calling into question our existing copyright and patent system and their limitations. (Even John Oliver discussed patents!)

This issue has been on the radar of USDOT's ITS JPO for a while now, especially the policy implications for connected and automated vehicles. The critical issue is the balance of open source software and concerns about cybersecurity and safety. Some of the promise of connected/automated vehicles, is the rich big data environments they will operate in but how can the industry cooperatively get there despite concerns about privacy and innovation? There is also the looming issue of liability for connected/autonomous vehicles, much of which hinges questions of safety and the perception of risk. 

It will be interesting to see how all of this develops and the rules are made. 

Making City-Scale Networks of Connected Vehicles Reality


creative commons licensed ( BY-NC-ND ) flickr photo shared by Roberto Maldeno

Last week's Friday Seminar featured João BarrosAssociate Professor at the University of Porto and CEO of Veniam talking about how he and his team turned public transit into smart city hot spots for Porto. After early attempts to use cellular technology for connected vehicles, which had major bottlenecks in the networks and was cost prohibitive, Barros explored the possibilities of using wi-fi technology to create a city wide mesh network. This builds upon some of Barros' earlier research that looked into the feasibility and impact of VANETs in urban environments

The key to Veniam's success on Porto has been the city's fibre-optic backbone to create wifi hotspots around the city, like bus stops. A combination of wifi and the IEEE 802.11p standard for wireless vehicle communication, and deployment in fleets such as many of the city's taxis and Metro de Porto's fleet, made the city wide mesh network possible. It also made it very cheap to offer free wifi on the entire bus fleet, which has pleased passengers

For the buses, the connectivity can be used for ticketing, navigation, infotainment, and vehicle diagnostics. This has also created a very rich, high definition data set of the fleet's operations which has informed service and route updates. 

The mesh network has also been very effective in tracking operations at Porto de Leixões. Early attempts to track vehicles with cellular technology were hindered by the lack of cell towers in the industrial area and interference from shipping containers. The wifi mesh network has made it possible to track port traffic to improve efficiency and safety. 

Barros hinted that the next wave of innovation could be in the field of wearables. His group had a project that tracked bus driver comfort and stress to better understand their behavior and how it depends on the built environment. 

In California, self-driving cars need a permit.

Gcantpark

Yesterday California's 3-foot passing law for cars and bicycles took effect. New regulations from the California DMV about Autonomous Vehicles in California also took effect - all self-driving cars will need a permit for testing. Audi, Mercedes, and Google have already applied for an received the first set of permits in the state. (If you're keeping tabs, Audi received the first permit.)

Regulations and licenses for operation of autonomous vehicles in California will be finalized by January 1, 2015

For background on policy and regulation of autonomous vehicles, check out the 2014 RAND report "Autonomous Vehicle Technology: A Guide for Policymakers," which builds upon concepts from the 2009 PATH report "Liability and Regulation of Autonomous Vehicle Technologies."

Institute of Transportation Studies Friday Seminar: A sensor-based and spatially-enabled system for next generation Intelligent

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Friday's Transportation Seminar is all about smart infrastructure. James Tsai from Georgia Tech presents, "A sensor-based and spatially-enabled system for next generation Intelligent and sustainable infrastructure management."

Roadway infrastructures, including pavements, bridges, and signs are deteriorating rapidly due to material aging, improper usage, harsh environments, and damages resulting from natural or man-made hazards. With the advancement of sensor technologies, it become feasible to collect the large-scale in-field detailed infrastructure data, such as 3D pavement surface data, using high-performance cameras, lasers, LiDARs, and Inertial Navigation System (INS) to gain better insight understanding of the large-scale in-filed infrastructure behavior. This talk first presents a framework for the sensor-based and spatially-enabled next generation Intelligent and sustainable infrastructure management system, including the key components of data acquisition, automatic information extraction, data integration, and intelligent infrastructure management. An intelligent sensing system has been developed, using 2D Imaging, Laser, LiDAR, and GPS/GIS Technologies with artificial intelligent and pattern recognition to automatically detect pavement surface distress, including rutting, cracking, raveling, etc. along with their detailed level characteristics for determining pavement health condition. The availability of high-resolution roadway images, 3D pavement surface data, and 3D LiDAR data has brought us a great opportunity and new challenges. This calls for a new concept to model this detailed level of big data for revealing new values for infrastructure management. First, we need to effectively extract valuable decision-support from this big data. For cracking, an innovative crack fundamental element (CFE) model that is a topological representation of cracks to support crack classification, diagnosis, and intelligent pavement management will be presented; this CFE provides researchers a mathematical foundation for modeling large-scale, in-field pavement/infrastructure crack characteristics to study crack propagation behavior at multiple scales will be presented. Examples of developing an innovative and sustainable pavement preservation method and developing intelligent crack sealing planning using emerging sensor technologies will also be presented.

The Friday Transportation Seminar takes place on September 12, 2014 from 4:00-5:00 PM in 290 Hearst Memorial Mining Building. Cookie Hour immediately precedes it at 3:30 PM in the same location. (Note: Cookie Hour is not in the library!) There will be a no-host Happy Hour at LaVal's at 5:00 PM.

Google Unveils Self-Driving Car Protoypes

Yesterday Google posted posted information and videos about their purpose-built autonomous car prototpyes they've built and are testing. Google will have 100 of these vehicles built for initial closed-road testing and hope to have them on California streets by the end of 2014. One of the most talked about features is the distinct lack of a steering wheel. And while the future is almost here, it's a good time to reflect on the potential positives and negatives of autuonomous vehicles (according to Vox)

USDOT moving forward with Vehicle-to-Vehicle communication technology

 

Yesterday USDOT and NHTSA announced plans to move forward with vehicle-to-vehicle communications technology (V2).  The Connected Vehicles program will eventually push research into production, establishing protocols and standards for manufacturers. Right now the aim is for 2017, so it's not going to happen overnight. Connected vehicles should increase road safety despite some security concerns. Malware for you car? The ITS-JPO has already held a public workshop to address different network security angles

Much of the research on V2 or Connected vehicles can be found in TRID. The Technological Innovations section highlights advanced technology across the board, but for just vehicles use "vehicle to vehicle communications" or "vehicle to roadside communications". 

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