Indian-origin researchers WiFi network for cars cuts commuting time by 25pc

October 10th, 2008 - 1:48 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, October 10 (ANI): A mobile-sensor network created by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for traffic analysis is being tested on dozens of cars in Boston to determine whether it can help reduce commuting time, and alert drivers to potential engine problems and more.
Led by Indian-origin professor Hari Balakrishnan and Associate Professor Samuel Madden, the CarTel project aims at using automobiles to monitor their environment by sending data from an onboard computerabout the size of a cell phoneto a web server where the data can be visualized and browsed.
The researchers do so via pre-existing WiFi networks passed during a trip.
The resulting data can be accessed through the Internet or a cell phone.
It can not only help a driver track conditions specific to their own car, but also indicate historical and real-time traffic conditions at different times of the day.
“Everybody’’s data is contributing to collective views of what congestion looks like,” Madden said.
Balakrishnan added: “Our goal is to make the data behind CarTel available to help you plan and organize your commute and drives. We want to minimize the amount of time spent in your car.”
The current system deployed since January on 50 cars, including 40 taxis, tracks traffic by monitoring each vehicle’’s speed at different points during a trip.
Unlike other route-planning systems, “CarTel understands where traffic delays are and recommends routes to avoid them,” Madden said.
Balakrishnan said that the system has already helped cut his commuting time to MIT by 25 percent. He said that the system recommended a new route that, though a few miles longer than the approach suggested by some mapping websites, would be considerably faster in practice.
Since CarTel is also linked to a vehicle’’s onboard diagnostics system, a driver can check various parameters key to maintenance and be alerted to potential problems.
The research was recently published in MIT Tech Talk, the institutes official newspaper. (ANI)

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