The Roadway, Transportation, and Traffic Safety Research Center (RTTSRC) at United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) is working on a new intelligent transportation system to enable driverless cars to communicate on the roads.
The team, led by Professor Yaser E. Hawas, director of the RTTSRC, is working on a project funded by the UAEU in collaboration with Tata Consulting Group on the inter-vehicular communication system, which is based on an algorithm that enables vehicles to use real-time route guidance in urban traffic networks.
Six years since the team first started work on the project, which is the first of its kind in the world, Professor Hawas says it is now ready for its first deployment test. “The wow factor is we are now collaborating with Tata and we are going to have a deployment test in Al Ain,” reveals the director. “We are going to equip six vehicles to do the field testing – each vehicle is going to send information to the other vehicles – and we are then going to see how this information is going to be propagated.”
The algorithm enables communication between a ‘searcher’ vehicle and ‘candidate’ vehicles whose origin matches the destination of the searcher vehicle, and traveling in the opposite direction. This information can then be used to calculate in the simplest way the shortest path for each vehicle from its current position to the destination.
“Currently, the fully autonomous vehicles available move in the network assuming that they know where to go,” says Professor Hawas. “But the one that we are testing enables the vehicles to change their routes and get better ones to reach the destination using the information that they receive from other vehicles. Again, it is not only simulation tests that we do here in the center but we are also going to take it to a deployment stage here in Al Ain.”
The team is developing the hardware and software solutions of all the devices that will enable vehicle-to-vehicle communication between the six cars, including GPS and communication capabilities that will enable the vehicles to locate each other and redirect vehicles automatically in real-time to reach their aimed destinations in the network. Following the deployment test, Professor Hawas says the university will prepare technical papers detailing the results of the test.