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Monday, June 02, 2008

Brainstorming: Designing an Intelligent Transportation System (ITS)

Monday, June 02, 2008 Posted by Ismail Habib , , , 15 comments
Growth in congestion, as well as the difficulties in constructing new infrastructures has lead into a research in Intelligent Transportation System (ITS). The advances in sensing technologies, computer hardware and software, etc are also become additional motivation in this field of research. Automatic Highway System (AHS) is one of the most interesting topic. Its main idea: platooning is believed to be able to improve highway throughput without having to ignore the safety but instead improving it.

It is widely known that knowing the position and speed of the vehicles on the road network in real-time is one of the major challenges that vehicle control and traffic management applications are facing. Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) is considered as a potential technology that might be useful as an infrastructure component of an ITS since it received significant attention in the last decade and successful research put them in the forefront to answer this challenge. WSN itself is an exciting technology with unlimited potential for numerous application, including tracking, monitoring, and controlling.

A distributed paradigm is the most suited approach to implements an ITS. While it is naturally distributed (spatially) and consisted of various components, which may range from several to thousands number of components (scalability issue), it is also relatively complex. Not to mention that by distribute the implementation accordingly, a certain level of reliability could be achieved more easily. Dynamic components in ITS are implemented as agents. Instead of rely heavily in modeling the process, agent-oriented paradigm offers a higher abstraction compared to the object-oriented paradigm. Agent is an autonomous entity that behaves according to its perception of the environment and its knowledge. In most cases, one agent is not enough to form the expected system. Therefore, a Multi-Agent System (MAS) is required.

Since there is no formal method to test a distributed system, the only way to do it is by using a simulation. An engine that capable of simulating any dynamic behaviors is required. Using multi-agent approach as it concept, a researches is allowed to decomposed a big system into intelligent entities with specified behaviors. In a traffic system problem domain, some entities could be considered as agents: car, driver, traffic controller, etc depending on the modelers themselves.

The simulation of an ITS system might not be complete without the introduction of human behaviors. However, human behaviors may vary for each individual or culture. Investigating the difference in culture might be interesting not only in describing the human part of the system but also to parameterize some characteristics of controllers.

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