Vehicular Communications A Life or Death Matter According to Leading IEEE Journal

Jul 26, 2011, 10:15 ET from Proceedings of the IEEE

VC Technology Could Reduce Worldwide Road Crash Deaths; Save Billions in Costs by Giving Drivers "Eyes Behind Their Head" Navigation Capability

PISCATAWAY, N.J., July 26, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Saving lives by reducing vehicle accidents and millions of resulting annual deaths is a compelling reason for the world to care about Vehicular Communications (VC) technology that can alert drivers to crashes and other dangers before they could possibly see or be aware of it.  

This is the subject of the July special issue about "Vehicular Communications" in Proceedings of the IEEE, the world's most highly-cited general interest journal in electrical engineering and computer science since 1913.

Published by the IEEE, the largest technical professional association in the world, this nine-paper special issue makes a strong case for continued research, development and deployment of VC that uses wireless technology to create the "eyes behind the head" capability for vehicle drivers. Although researchers have been attracted for some time to VC's potential for safer roads and enhanced driver experience, there is still a long way to go.

"This special issue of Proceedings of the IEEE addresses problems with the systems currently in development including standardization of V2X systems being carried out primarily by the IEEE and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), modeling of radio channels, physical and medium access techniques and simulation methods," said Erik G. Strom, who served as one of four guest editors of the issue and leads the competence area Sensors and Communications at the traffic safety center SAFER hosted by Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden.  

Accident statistics tracked by the World Health Organization (WHO) substantiate that VC is a life and death matter. According to WHO, road crashes are the 11th most common cause of death across all age groups; predictions are that this number will increase 65 percent by 2020. Currently 1.4 million people die annually and up to 50 million are injured in road crashes, which are also taking a worldwide economic toll of $518 billion.

There is general consensus that wireless vehicular communications has the potential to prevent collisions and save lives; but only advanced level equipment is suitable for VC to attain reliable and consistent life-saving benefits, according to authors Paul Alexander and David Haley, IEEE members, and Alex Grant, Senior Member IEEE, in the invited paper "Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems: 5.9 GHz Field Trial."

This article reports on exhaustive field trials in Australia, Italy, Germany, Austria and the United States, covering more than 1,100 km of driving in a wide variety of physical environments.  The authors state, "The field trial results demonstrate significantly improved performance using advanced radio like IEEE 802.11p compliant equipment that employs sophisticated channel estimation and tracking, which results in increased driver warning times and stopping distances. Of particular significance is that the results demonstrated that off-the-shelf Wi-Fi equipment fails to provide sufficient stopping distances to avert accidents in some cases."

In a second invited paper on standardization, "Vehicular Channel Characterization and its Implications for Wireless System Design and Performance" by C. F. Mecklenbrauker, A. F. Molisch, J. Karedal, F. Tufvesson, A. Paier, L. Bernado, T. Zemen, O. Klemp and N. Czink, the authors describe the key characteristics of V2X channels, which have a major impact on transmission reliability, latency, available vehicular channel models and the observed channel characteristics (such as delay spreads and Doppler spreads). The authors also briefly discuss the available vehicular channel models and their respective merits and deficiencies.

The other papers, which follow a top-down-top approach, explore issues related to the vehicular radio channels, the communication stack by discussing the physical and medium access layers, and finish by describing modeling and simulation approaches.

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SOURCE Proceedings of the IEEE