C3R -- Urban Sustainability Through Car-to-car Cooperation

Motivation and Approach

The world population is moving toward urban centers at a very rapid pace. At the end of 2008, half the world's population were city dwellers and the percentage is expected to grow to about 70% by 2050. Mostly unplanned, this outstanding growth is severely impacting our quality of life with growing traffic delays, worsening environmental conditions and a significantly stressed underlying road infrastructure. Live information from pervasively deployed sensors (e.g. reporting pollutant concentrations) is key to ensuring the sustainability of our cities. While technologically possible, the realization of such a richly instrumented, constantly expanding system is both economically and logistically infeasible. Our work is motivated by the observation that vehicular traffic grows organically with the cities and, thus, may hold the key to a practical solution to the problem.

Recently, technological advances have fueled new research on inter-vehicle communication protocols and systems for Vehicular Ad Hoc Networks (VANETs). Millions of instrumented vehicles could offer an easily upgradeable, naturally scalable, and widely distributed network for promising applications. With nodes freed from space or energy constraints, these vehicular networks offer an ideal platform for urban monitoring. Most previous work has focused on highway scenarios. Urban environments---with frequent intersections, complex mobility patterns and signal-weakening obstructions---are significantly more challenging. Attaining our vision of live urban monitoring through vehicular networks will require radically new solutions.

Large-scale distributed urban monitoring through vehicular networks can provide rich, previously inaccessible data on the state and dynamics of our cities. Public officials, professionals and the general public could benefit from the collected view of instrumented vehicles through better informed urban planning, empirical model validation and "live" feedback on the state of our environment. The C3R project focuses on enabling this vision by improving our understanding of the unique characteristics and limitations imposed by urban environments, designing information dissemination algorithms for these settings and developing evaluation approaches and metrics to judge the effectiveness of alternative approaches. This work is driven by a class of urban monitoring applications that will help ensure the sustainable growth of our cities, including traffic, environmental pollution and civil infrastructure monitoring.

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Related Projects

VANET projects
ITS projects