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Smart cities: using data to shape our urban environments

Rebecca Merrett | May 2, 2014
Organisations in Australia and overseas provide insights into how they are using information to build more intelligent cities.

At the time, Wall asked: How could smart, connected technologies help prevent crashes like this, as well as make the job of emergency services easier?

Wall says gathering weather data, as well as information about the driver and car through an opt-in form, could be used to encourage drivers to avoid certain roads during severe wet conditions or to take public transport when they are planning their journeys.

"In the future, hopefully we will prevent those kids from getting on the road in the first place. The driver who hit this pole was a P-plater, she was in an old vehicle, and the weather was absolutely terrible. She hit a very wet patch of road in really heavy rain, and lost control," says Wall.

"If the system was able to know a little bit more about the driver, perhaps the journey systems could of taken into account all of this information on the weather plus the fact she was young, driving a car that doesn't have stability control and recommend she go by train or bus."

Connected vehicles also have a role in preventing crashes on the road. The idea is to have sensors on the wheels that detect a sharp bump in the road or a when the wheels start to get slippery so that information can be relayed to other connected vehicles behind and warn the drivers to slow down, Wall says.

"The car could even prepare itself to hit that wet patch by getting its breaking systems ready, and electronic stability control. So it's not just being able to warn the driver, it's also warning the vehicle management systems that control the breaks and the accelerator and steering -- all of those sorts of things -- that there's a potential hazard ahead."

The NSW Centre for Road Safety is trialling a Cooperative Intelligent Transport Initiative (CITI) where trucks are fitted with anti-collision devices. Information such as the truck's position and speed is sent from the truck to roadside devices. The devices then send alerts, such as warnings about potential crashes, back to truck drivers.

"The Dedicated Short Range Communication radios that we will have installed in some trucks in the Illawarra from July are doing this 10 times a second -- sending information out to other vehicles if they detect hazards that are on the road," says Wall.

"The vehicle talks to the driver only when the situation becomes more urgent or critical ... because we don't want drivers getting 10 messages a second. The system itself that sits in the vehicle takes care of that information and then decides through business rules what it should actually advise the driver on."


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