Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'CarTel' Aims To Reduce Commute Times, Detect Engine Woes

Date:
October 17, 2008
Source:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Summary:
Dozens of cars in the Boston area are testing the latest generation of an MIT mobile-sensor network for traffic analysis that could help drivers cut their commuting time, alert them to potential engine problems and more.

The CarTel web portal, showing a trip taken by one driver and accompanying data.
Credit: Photo courtesy of Balakrishnan/Madden Labs

Dozens of cars in the Boston area are testing the latest generation of an MIT mobile-sensor network for traffic analysis that could help drivers cut their commuting time, alert them to potential engine problems and more.

In the CarTel project, Professor Hari Balakrishnan and Associate Professor Samuel Madden of MIT's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science use automobiles to monitor their environment by sending data from an onboard computer -- which is about the size of a cell phone -- to a web server where the data can be visualized and browsed. They do so via pre-existing WiFi networks passed during a trip.

The resulting data, accessible from the web or a cell phone, not only helps a driver track conditions specific to their own car, but when combined with everyone else's can indicate historical and real-time traffic conditions at different times of the day. "Everybody's data is contributing to collective views of what congestion looks like," Madden said.

"Our goal," Balakrishnan said, "is to make the data behind CarTel available to help you plan and organize your commute and drives. We want to minimize the amount of time spent in your car."

For example, the current system, deployed since January on 50 Boston-area cars --including 40 taxis -- tracks traffic by monitoring each vehicle's speed at different points during a trip. Unlike other route-planning systems, "CarTel understands where traffic delays are and recommends routes to avoid them," Madden said.

The system has already cut Balakrishnan's commute to MIT by 25 percent. It recommended a new route that, although a few miles longer than the approach suggested by some mapping web sites, is considerably faster in practice.

CarTel is also linked to a vehicle's onboard diagnostics system (available in all cars sold since 1996), so a driver can check various parameters key to maintenance and be alerted to potential problems.

There are two principal research efforts behind the system. First, Balakrishnan, Madden and Jacob Eriksson (now at the University of Illinois, Chicago) developed a way to connect to WiFi networks that is 35 times faster than other systems. "It can take about 15 seconds to connect using a regular system, so in a car you are already past the WiFi location by the time you get the signal," Madden explained. QuickWiFi can connect in 360 milliseconds. "It's the difference between whether you can use WiFi with a car or not."

The majority of the work, however, is focused on managing the huge amounts of data key to the system. Depending on the sensors in use, CarTel can receive more than 600 data points a second. So the team has developed two generations of software "to synthesize all that data into interesting uses," Madden said.

One such use is new algorithms for traffic-aware routing, or obtaining directions between two locations that take historical and current traffic conditions into account. Balakrishnan and Madden have developed these algorithms with graduate student Sejoon Lim and Professor Daniela Rus, both of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

"CarTel makes it easy to collect, process, deliver and visualize data from a collection of remote, mobile and intermittently connected nodes," the researchers concluded in one of several technical articles and conference presentations on the work. Most recently, they described the research at the Association for Computing Machinery's Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking (MobiCom) in September 2008.

This work is funded by the National Science Foundation and the T-Party Project, a joint research program between MIT and Quanta Computer Inc.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "'CarTel' Aims To Reduce Commute Times, Detect Engine Woes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081009111035.htm>.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (2008, October 17). 'CarTel' Aims To Reduce Commute Times, Detect Engine Woes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081009111035.htm
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "'CarTel' Aims To Reduce Commute Times, Detect Engine Woes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081009111035.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Gulfstream G500, G600 Unveiling

Gulfstream G500, G600 Unveiling

Flying (Oct. 20, 2014) Watch Gulfstream's public launch of the G500 and G600 at their headquarters in Savannah, Ga., along with a surprise unveiling of the G500, which taxied up under its own power. Video provided by Flying
Powered by NewsLook.com
Japanese Scientists Unveil Floating 3D Projection

Japanese Scientists Unveil Floating 3D Projection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 20, 2014) Scientists in Tokyo have demonstrated what they say is the world's first 3D projection that floats in mid air. A laser that fires a pulse up to a thousand times a second superheats molecules in the air, creating a spark which can be guided to certain points in the air to shape what the human eye perceives as an image. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

3BL Media (Oct. 20, 2014) Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-fuel Impala Video provided by 3BL
Powered by NewsLook.com
What We Know About Microsoft's Rumored Smartwatch

What We Know About Microsoft's Rumored Smartwatch

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) Microsoft will reportedly release a smartwatch that works across different mobile platforms, has a two-day battery life and tracks heart rate. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins