Intelligent transport

Bikes for hire - intelligent transportThe market and applications of intelligent transport and automotive can be subdivide into five main areas of innovation. Although specifically different, there is generic commonality whether on land, sea, or air transport.

In-vehicle: efficiency, safety, environment

Systems which improve fuel efficiency such as engine management systems, safety systems which operate on information gathered within or in close proximity to the vehicle such as collision detection, or comfort, whether of occupants (drivers and passengers), or of cargo, e.g. frozen food.

Traffic sensing, signalling and management

Systems which enable the control and management of traffic whether land, sea, or air to be controlled. These are large and complex systems which assist controllers to optimise traffic flow, whether in city streets, around a busy air port or sea port, and usually require an extensive sensor network to detect and manage the extended system.

Driver / pilot information provision

Covering navigational aids, vehicle system monitoring of engine state, weather conditions, destination or route specific problem monitoring.

Situational awareness

The ability to monitor the external environment from within the vehicle. At a simple level this could be reversing sensors for a car, at the other extreme it could be a complex automatic landing system for aircraft or shipping. There is also significant activity in developing automotive RADAR systems for vehicle and road positioning.
From the external viewpoint, this can encompass information on the effect transport is having on the environment and users. Being aware of the level of atmospheric pollution on the one hand or congestion and journey times on the other can both support effective intervention and management to optimise the performance of a transport system.

Position / attitude

The most common of these systems presently available is the GPS system. However, this will only provide a location to within a few metres accuracy in X,Y, Z. For certain applications such as automatic docking or parking, the accuracy, whether relative or absolute, must be increased. Additionally, attitudinal information (yaw, pitch, roll) is also required.

When many or all of the above elements come together we arrive at “Smart Mobility”; the term coined for the convergence of information, transport and energy. Sensing and imaging systems provide the situational information about the location and state of assets and users within the network; through systems such as GPS, number plate recognition and vehicle telematics. This is coupled with appropriate communications out from the core to operators and users; through electronic arrival notices at bus stops, driver routing instructions and vehicle servicing schedules for instance. Resulting systems can constantly be adjusted to deliver the best service with regard to speed of transfer, cost, carbon impact etc. etc.