Vehicular Communications and Networking

There are many opportunities in the emerging area of vehicular networking. These span from providing basic Internet access to enabling communication for autonomous control of the entire transportation infrastructure in a way analogous to packet switching in computer networks. Many of these opportunities focus on real improvements on system efficiency, congestion, and driver safety; but some also deal with improving the driving experience.

There are significant technological hurdles in realizing our transportation vision. In particular, safety-critical applictions such as active braking require new levels of system performance which are difficult to guarantee with conventional networking techniques. Moreover, the lack of infrastructure for an intelligent transportation system is a barrier as is the expectation of systems that must accommodate a wide range of technology adoption.

Our research focuses on the communication aspect of the vision as a medium to enable technologies efficiently, reliably, and resourcefully. Providing communication under these conditions requires new adaptations of existing models by synthesis of concepts from wireless communications, cellular telephony, mobile ad hoc networking (MANET), and opportunistic and delay tolerant networking (DTN). While there are several proposed architectures for implementing vehicular communication, the standard likely to emerge is one proposed in the IEEE 802.11p. The physical layer of 802.11p is a dedicated short-range 5.9 GHz for communication among vehicles and with roadside infrastructure. Due to the extent of our current and future transportation systems, any emerging communication system is likely to be hybrid, being comprised of ad hoc mobile and mesh components plus fixed roadside access points or cells.