iSGTW Feature - Grids a great tool against gridlock

Feature - Grids a great tool against gridlock

Grid-powered traffic simulations of a variety of situations can be used to predict traffic flows and provide important information to motorists.
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How can we design communication protocols that take advantage of emerging car-to-car wireless communication facilities to provide effective services to vehicles?

This is a question that researchers from the University of Cyprus, Rutgers University, and Siemens Corporate Research ask themselves when investigating the potential of inter-vehicle communication-a promising field of research with tremendous potential to assist drivers by providing time-critical information about road-traffic conditions, road-side services and safety-related conditions.

One way to answer this question is by introducing an application-layer communication protocol, designed to support traffic-oriented services over ad-hoc vehicular networks.

Enter the Vehicular Information Transfer Protocol

Andreas Florides, from the High-Performance Computing Systems Laboratory of the University of Cyprus, is investigating the feasibility and performance of one such protocol.

Using the Enabling Grids for E-scienceE infrastructure, Florides is testing the success of a new protocol-called VITP or Vehicular Information Transfer Protocol-in simulating a large range of traffic conditions, representative of both city and highway traffic.

"As simulations try to more closely resemble real traffic conditions, our computing requirements increase," Florides explains. "In addition, to be able to draw safe conclusions, we need to execute multiple parametric simulations. The answer to our resource limitations is the grid."

The VITP simulator was developed on top of NS-2, an open-source network simulator, and SUMO (Simulation of Urban MObility), an open-source vehicular traffic generator from the Institute of Traffic Research in Karlsruhe, Germany.

Directing the future of traffic

Florides' study demonstrated that using vehicular ad-hoc networks to run services based on the location of cars using the VITP protocol is feasible and provides accurate results.

Roads in the district of Nicosia in Cyprus were used in one of the simulation scenarios on EGEE.
Image courtesy of University of Cyprus

"Our simulation studies of large-scale vehicular networks with realistic traffic conditions show the effectiveness of the protocol," he says. "They also show the accuracy of its results when used to resolve traffic queries, monitor traffic conditions, distribute alert requests and discover road-side services."

Already, several major automobile manufacturers and research centers are investigating the development of inter-vehicle communication protocols and systems, as well as the use of inter-vehicle communication for the establishment of vehicular ad-hoc networks.

"We're continuing our research on various optimization techniques for the VITP, to enhance its overall performance," Florides explains. "For example, we're caching information or using alternative routing mechanisms like cellular GSM/GPRS networks when needed. A testbed implementation of the protocol is also included in our future plans."

- Maria Poveda, High-Performance Computing Systems Laboratory, University of Cyprus