An innovative internet of things solution to control real-life autonomous vehicles

Thumbnail Image
Wahl, Roger L.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Vaal University of Technology
This research was initiated because of a global increase in congestion on roads and the consequent increase in the rate of fatalities on both national and international roads. Annually, 1.3 million people are killed on the roads globally, and millions are injured. It was estimated that 2.4 million people will be killed in road traffic accidents annually by 2030, and in South Africa, over 14 000 deaths were reported in 2016. A study undertaken by the American Automobile Association Foundation for Traffic Safety (AAAFTS), established in 1947 to conduct research and address growing highway safety issues, found that motorcar accidents, on average, cost the United States $300 billion per annum. In the same vain, the World Health Organisation (WHO) asserted in their 2013 Global Status Safety Report on Road Safety that by 2020, traffic accidents would become the third leading cause of death globally. In this organisation’s 2015 report, South Africa was listed as having one of the highest road fatality rates in the world, averaging 27 out of 100 000 people. Cognisance of these statistics that describe wanton loss of life and serious economic implications, among other reasons, led to the development of autonomous vehicles (AVs), such as Google and Uber’s driverless taxis and Tesla’s autonomous vehicle. Companies have invested in self-driving prototypes, and they bolster this investment with continuous research to rectify imperfections in the technologies and to enable the implementation of AVs on conventional roads. This research aimed to address issues surrounding the systems communication concept, and focused on a novel method of the routing facet of AVs by exploring the mechanisms of the virtual system of packet switching and by applying these same principles to route autonomous vehicles. This implies that automated vehicles depart from a source address and arrive at a pre-determined destination address in a manner analogous to packet switching technology in computer networking, where a data packet is allotted a source and destination address as it traverses the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model for open system interconnection prior to dissemination through the network. This research aimed to develop an IoT model that reduces road congestion by means of a cost effective and reliable method of routing AVs and lessen dependency on vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication with their heavy and costly sensor equipment and GPS, all of which under certain conditions malfunction. At the same time, as safety remains the foremost concern, the concept aimed to reduce the human factor to a considerable degree. The researcher demonstrated this by designing a computer-simulated Internet of Things (IoT) model of the concept. Experimental research in the form of a computer simulation was adopted as the most appropriate research approach. A prototype was developed containing the algorithms that simulated the theoretical model of IoT vehicular technology. The merits of the constructed prototype were analysed and discussed, and the results obtained from the implementation exercise were shared. Analysis was conducted to verify arguments on assumptions to clarify the theory, and the outcome of the research (an IoT model encompassing vehicular wireless technologies) shows how the basic concept of packet switching can be assimilated as an effective mechanism to route large-scale autonomous vehicles within the IoT milieu, culminating in an effective commuter operating system. Controlled routing will invariably save the traveller time, provide independence to those who cannot drive, and decrease the greenhouse effect, whilst the packet switching characteristic offers greater overall security. In addition, the implications of this research will require a workforce to supplement new growth opportunities.
M. Tech. (Department of Information Technology, Faculty of Applied and Computer Sciences), Vaal University of Technology.
Internet of Things (IoT), Computer simulation, Machine learning (ML), Artificial intelligence (AI), LiDAR, Packet switching, Routers