Shaping Smart City #2: Intelligent Mobility - The Traffic Light Management
In our latest blog, we have written about AutoPi and how road detection gears up to reduce mortality on the roads and create more reliable road networks for Smart cities. So in this blog post, we go further and discuss how Smart City technological innovation, together with IoT, could end the age of wasting time in traffic congestion, the Smart Traffic Light Solution.
"Did you know that the average U.S commuter wastes 54 hours a year stuck in traffic - more than an entire week of full-time work?"
Urban mobility is one of the major problems in our modern world, especially in the metropolitan areas where daily traffic flow growth and changes are leaving our modern traffic light system outdated. Current traffic light systems are working on simple timers and based on estimated traffic flow which forces commuters to sit and wait in traffic jams even though the other side of the road could be empty.
However a small number of traffic lights are connected to cameras and sensors to detect cars, but they usually do not fit in with bad weather conditions, like icy roads or heavy rain which automatically slows down the flow and can also interfere with sensors. That is why it is important for cities to have a reliable real-time traffic flow data to be able to manage traffic light systems in real-time.
What is Internet of Things (IoT)?
Internet of Things (IoT) solutions enables everyday objects to be connected and controlled through the internet, which makes these connected devices able to talk to each other, gather data and create actions. The implementation of IoT solutions in traffic light management can help city traffic management centers optimize and adapt the traffic flow and changing patterns, gain a great volume of real-time traffic data and direct that into better road planning solutions that would save precious time of the daily commute of citizens.
What is AutoPi and how is it connected to Smart Traffic Light Systems?
AutoPi.io is specializing in IoT hardware devices and extendable cloud solutions to securely connect vehicles to the internet and gain data of automotive usage. AutoPi delivers innovative connected car technology to create a more flexible and human centric mobility service and enhance the driving experience for citizens.
With the implementation of AutoPi in the traffic light system, Smart Cities could be able to gain real-time data of the vehicles on the road and also communicate with infrastructures to synchronize the light cycles, optimize the number of stops and guarantee the best traffic flow.
Using AutoPi for Adaptive Traffic Control System
The concept of Smart intersections is to make advantages of wireless communications in the vehicle. AutoPi Iot-enabled vehicles can communicate with each other (other connected vehicles), with the infrastructure (traffic signal control systems) or through dedicated short-range communications (smartphones). AutoPi enabled vehicles are also equipped with advanced sensors, on-board computer processing, GPS coordinates and wireless networks.
Compared to the traditional adaptive signal control strategy, where there is only instant vehicle data provided when a vehicle is driving past it, AutoPi advanced solutions can present real-time vehicle state information such as travel time, position, speed, acceleration or other traffic data.
Communications between vehicles and infrastructure also allows the traffic signal control system to gather a much more detailed information about the surroundings of the vehicle. This real-time data can be used by the traffic signal control system enabled with a cloud platform to make a better green light timing optimization and alter the lights based on current traffic situations.
"Connected vehicle technology has the potential to reduce travel time by 37%, reduce emissions by 30% and improve safety indicators by 45%."
In reality, the smart traffic light controller can wireless communicate with the on-board AutoPi device, through a cloud solution, and obtain the position and the speed of the vehicle, using this to predict the travel time to the next intersection.
This information can be used to control the offset between traffic signals while adjusting an effective green time lightning. In the meanwhile, traffic control management centers can directly communicate with different sensor sources and smart traffic light controllers to identify potential traffic problems and implement strategies in real-time to address the problems.
Additionally, collecting IoT connected vehicle data is undoubtedly less expensive to implement and maintain than a dozen detectors. Using historical data could also help traffic management centers to predict where the traffic could go or in the event of an accident take measures and clear the roads for the emergency vehicles and prevent potential congestion.
AutoPi is designed as a collaborative digital platform to allow governments, businesses and citizens to take initiative in the shaping of the future Smart Cities. We are ready. Are you?
Other blog posts for further reading
Carsharing: How to use your AutoPi for short term lease car sharing
Carsharing is a growing field within the car rental industry, and not just in the US, but also in places like in Denmark and several other countries. So, what is “Carsharing”? The concept of carsharing comes from the “sharing economy”, in which certain parts of the private sector is becoming more and easily accessible through sharing between private parties and with the help of a developing platform.
Discover hidden functions in your car (using CAN bus sniffing)
All modern vehicles today is controlled by multiple Electronic Control Units (ECU), which you can think of as small computers controlling all electrical components in your car. Using the OBD-II port and an AutoPi it is possible to communicate with the ECUs. One of the ECU’s is called the Engine Control Module (ECM). This is responsible for communication with a lot of subsystems, like transmission, power steering, windows and doors. These subsystems communicates on a network bus called Controller Area Network (CAN), by broadcasting messages on the bus.