VACETS Regular Technical Column

"Everyday Engineering"

"Everyday Engineering" was a technical column posted regularly on the VACETS forum. The Chair of this column is Dr. Hoang Viet-Dung. For more publications produced by other VACETS  members, please visit the VACETS Member Publications page or Technical Columns page.

The VACETS Technical Column is contributed by various members , especially those of the VACETS Technical Affairs Committe. Articles are posted regulary on [email protected] forum. Please send questions, comments and suggestions to [email protected]

Tue, 01 Nov 94

An Intelligent Vehicle Highway Systems (IVHS)

Unlike anh Duc's [SCIENCE FOR EVERYONE], I decided not to broadcast anything last week. The competition was just too great. Perhaps I am too simple minded, but I am always amused by people who can build a mountain out of a mole hill.

Since 1983, automobile traffic has grown four percent annually. Americans now drive an estimated two trillion miles each year. Traffic congestion costs about $46 billion annually, mostly in lost productivity. An emerging global industry, the intelligent vehicle highway systems (IVHS) technology, is on its way to solve this problem and more.

By deploying computer, communications, and sensing technologies, IVHS promises to transform collections of passive thoroughfares into smart, responsive systems adept to control commuter patterns, to respond swiftly to medical emergencies, to manage interstate commercial trucking, to make public transportation more efficient, and to help motorists drive better. Smart cars and smart highways have the promise of improving transportation efficiency, increasing safety and mobility, and slashing the economic, environmental, and human costs of travel.

IVHS is a complex industry divided into many interrelated components:

1. Advanced Traffic Management Systems (ATMS) gather and report traffic information, control traffic movement, and relieve congestion by instructing cars to use different routes and by managing signals and lanes.

2. Advanced Traveler Information Systems (ATIS) provide real-time information to help users plan their trips. Automatic route guidance display maps and roadways, interpret traffic information broadcasts, and issue travel warnings.

3. Advanced Vehicle Control Systems (AVCS) technologies in car and on the road will help motorists drive better. Adaptive cruise control slows a car down when it gets too close to the car in front of it, or sensors on the road keep the car in its lane.

4. Advanced Public Transportation Systems (APTS) technologies make public transportation more attractive and cost-effective by managing the fleet and dispatch operations.

5. Commercial Vehicle Operations (CVO) promise to save significant time and money by automating toll collection, permit acquisition, and vehicle weighing.

6. Advanced Rural Transportation Systems (ARTS) include automatic emergency signaling, route guidance, and automatic vehicle location.

IVHS technologies rely on geographic digital data bases (maps) to describe and control the roadway network. These data bases must be accurate and comprehensive. Considerable efforts are put into generating these digital maps. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) play a major roles in these efforts.

Within the next 5 years, stand-alone products such as automatic route guidance, automatic vehicle location, and automatic vehicle identification will be available. When that happens, the world's most popular excuse of being late to work will be eliminated.

Viet-Dung Hoang, Ph.D.
[email protected]

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