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Cooperative Vehicular Speed Regulation on "Smart Roads" Using Software Defined Speed

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000236817D
Publication Date: 2014-May-16
Document File: 4 page(s) / 48K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Disclosed is a Smart Road system for creating a well-regulated flow of vehicles on a road. The system can optimally adjust to a disturbance or other condition with each vehicle, acting to simultaneously change speeds and the space between vehicles to best continue vehicle movement during the disturbance condition.

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Cooperative Vehicular Speed Regulation on "Smart Roads" Using Software Defined Speed

Some experimental smart roads have been created in which the road can identify the number of vehicles on the road and the associated speed characteristics, as well as environmental factors such as lighting/visibility and road conditions (e.g., wet or dry pavement). At this time, vehicles' speed can be regulated by external control systems that emit commands to the vehicles.

To optimize various travel factors, including minimizing time to destination, minimizing the risk of accident, maximizing fuel economy, and minimizing traffic congestion, the vehicles and smart road must act as a single system.

The novel contribution is a system and method of using a central road controller to determine the timing of when vehicles can enter a smart road, based on real time factors. The system and method dynamically control for a central source the speed, braking, and distance between vehicles on a smart road as road conditions change.

The method for this system to optimizes various travel factors by controlling the speed and inter-vehicle distance. It is also assumed that each vehicle has independent radar for detecting the distance to next vehicle; thus, the road controller can have the vehicle follow the next vehicle in line at a specific distance.

This solution is focused on creating a well-regulated flow of vehicles on a road, which can optimally adjust to a disturbance or other condition by each vehicle, simultaneously acting in concert to change speed and space between vehicles to best continue vehicle movement during the disturbance condition. It is not about simply metering vehicles onto a road, based on a defined interval of time (e.g., one vehicle each 30 seconds) when an entrance ramp camera indicates a gap in the oncoming traffic; this invention can signal the existing metering system to convey the optimum time for the next vehicle to enter the traffic flow.

As an illustration of a disturbance is a "bubble" of vehicles. This occurs in highways when, for some reason (usually not an accident, but perhaps a person accidentally touches the brake or a piece of debris in the road) a "bubble" of vehicles begins to slow upon entering the bubble. As soon the vehicle exits the "bubble", normal speed is returned. The "bubble" moves down the highway in the opposite direction of the traffic flow.

The smart road system identifies the disturbance and then all vehicles, simultaneously acting as one, each slow and change the inter-vehicle space by the same amount. This prevents the formation of a "bubble" and optimizes the traffic flow. (Figure 1)

Figure 1: Managing a traffic "bubble", current art vs. novel Smart Road system

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As "smart" vehicles enter a "smart road", the road calculates the optimum speed and distance between vehicles, which is conveyed to the vehicles. The vehicles move in relative "lock-step" , similar to train vehicles, which move a...