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Smart traffic signals to relay change timings to drivers to optimise vehicle approach

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000237465D
Publication Date: 2014-Jun-18
Document File: 3 page(s) / 54K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

This disclosure describes the use of a number of different technologies to optimise the approach of vehicle drivers to automated traffic signals. This would be achieved by relaying the timing of the next signal change to a device that can translate this data into actionable information such as 'maintain speed' or 'slow down'. The methods for relaying this information are described as occurring over an infrared signal that is received by the camera imaging sensor on a Smartphone. The imaging chips on Smartphone cameras are inherently sensitive to infra-red light and in the majority of Smartphones models there is no infra-red filter to block this light. The relay of the traffic information could therefore be achieved by sending out a loosely directional infra-red signal that could be picked up and interpreted by the Smartphone camera with the appropriate software.

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Smart traffic signals to relay change timings to drivers to optimise vehicle approach

Disclosed is a system that would allow drivers to optimise their approach to traffic signals based on actual data obtained from the traffic signal controller. The timing data is made available by a directional infrared signal. This will be received and interpreted by a device such as the vehicle itself or a Smartphone. The timing data is then combined with GPS vehicle location, speed and heading data as well as road maps and known traffic signal location data. The driver is then presented with actionable instructions that allow them to optimise their approach to the traffic signal, either by maintaining current speed or slowing down.

    This disclosure includes the novel idea of using infra-red light for data transmission and receiving this with an imaging device such as a Smartphone camera. The imaging chips on Smartphone cameras are inherently sensitive to infra-red light and in the majority of Smartphones models there is no infra-red filter to block this light. The transmission could therefore be achieved by sending out a directional infra-red signal that could be picked up and interpreted by the Smartphone camera with the appropriate software.

    The proposed technology would be traffic signals that are fitted with a directional infrared transmitter; these emitters will be directly controlled by the traffic control system. The emitted infrared signal will convey a unique traffic light identifier sequence, the current traffic signal state and a countdown to the next phase change. This signal will be controlled so that it is highly directional and can only be seen by line of sight by directly affected drivers. An alternative approach would be to encode the information into the emitted visible light of the traffic signal through rapid and imperceptible flickering.

    The transmitted infrared signal could be picked up by a number of device types such as vehicles with infrared receivers, satellite navigation systems with cameras or infrared receivers and smartphones with built-in cameras as described below.

    The following is a novel application of a smartphone camera that has not yet been described. A smartphone framework application can be developed that captures the input from the onboard camera. A software image filter is applied to only process signals that are in the infrared range; a wavelength of light that most smartphone cameras are natively able to detect. If the encoded signal was broadcast in the visible light spectrum then the filter would need to work within this range. The filtered video signal is then analysed by software to detect valid signal patterns. The signal is then interpreted and the framework will return the processed data to a smartphone app that is written to take advantage of this information.

    The driver will have installed either the dedicated or a supported app on their smartphone and placed the phone in a cradle on their win...