Imagine a future where vehicles can 'talk' in real time! Researchers are working on an intelligent transportation system where vehicles communicate with each other, warning about traffic delays, allowing a single driver to control multiple vehicles and routing vehicles around hazardous road conditions.
They have already developed a model to improve the clarity of the vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) transmissions needed to make that concept a reality.
"The model helps us understand how the V2V signals are distorted. And understanding how the signal may be distorted allows you to design a signal that is less likely to become distorted in the first place," said Dr Dan Stancil, head of North Carolina State University's department of electrical and computer engineering and co-author of a paper on the work.
"One advantage of this sort of direct communication between vehicles is that it has very little time delay, and could warn you to apply the brakes in response to an event only hundreds of yards away," added Stancil.
V2V communication relies on transmitting data via radio frequencies in a specific band.
But the transmission is complicated by the fact that both the transmitter and the receiver are in motion and by the reflected radio waves, or radio echoes, that bounce off of passing objects. These variables can distort the signal, causing errors in the data.
The new model accounts for the motion of the transmitter and receiver, but previous models have done that as well.
The researchers recognised that most roads are lined with objects that run parallel to the road itself, such as trees, gas stations or parked cars. This means the objects that can reflect radio waves are not uniformly distributed in all directions.
By accounting for this parallel distribution of objects, the researchers were able to create a model that more accurately describes how radio signals will be affected by their surroundings.
That information can be used to adjust the transmission signal to improve the clarity of the data transmission. In addition, the model is relatively simple to calculate and does not require a powerful computer.
"We want to continue fine-tuning the model, but the next step is to incorporate this information into V2V technology to improve the reliability of V2V signals," Stancil said.