Cars as a Diffuse Network of Road-Environment Monitoring Nodes


The present paper aims to describe the conceptual idea to use cars as sensors to measure and acquire data related road environment. The parameters are collected using only standard equipment commonly installed and operative on commercial cars. Real sensors and car sub-systems (e.g. thermometers, accelerometers, ABS, ESP, and GPS) together with other “implicit” sensors (e.g. fog lights, windscreen wipers) acquire and contain information. They are shared inside an in-vehicle communication network using mainly the standard CAN bus and can be collected by a simple central node. This node can also be available on the market without too expensive costs thanks to some companies which business is devoted to car fleet monitoring. All the collected data are then geolocalized using a standard GPS receiver and sent to a remote elaboration unit, exploiting mobile network technologies such as GPRS or UMTS. A large number of cars, connected together in a diffuse Wireless Sensor Network, allow the elaboration unit to realize some info-layers put at the disposal of a car driver. Traffic, state of the road and other information about the weather can be received by car drivers using an ad hoc developed mobile application for smartphone which can give punctual information related to a specific route, previously set on the mobile phone navigator. The description of some experimental activities is presented, some technical points will be addressed and some examples of applications of the network of cars “as sensors” will be given.

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Allegretti, M. and Bertoldo, S. (2014) Cars as a Diffuse Network of Road-Environment Monitoring Nodes. Wireless Sensor Network, 6, 184-191. doi: 10.4236/wsn.2014.69018.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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