The Institute - March 2007 - 1

Attracting Female engineers

p. 14


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Some Respect
By Trudy E. Bell
Many people hearing the word
"automation" picture robots assembling
cars in a factory. But an IEEE quarterly
journal has, since its introduction almost
three years ago, been making every effort
to establish automation as a science in its
own right and a field separate from the
robotics in manufacturing plants. The
journal, Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering (T-ASE), is out to
give automation greater visibility-and
credibility. And preliminary readership
figures indicate that it is succeeding.
DYNAMIC DUO Automation and robotics
have often been confused, notes IEEE
Fellow Peter B. Luh, professor of electrical engineering at the University of Connecticut at Storrs. Research in robotics
today deals mainly with applying intelligent systems to explore the unknown, be
it on the ocean floor or on a far-off planet.
Because scientists don't know what will
be encountered, robots must be flexible
when it comes to the [Continued on page 8]
Drug companies
apply automation
techniques to

M a r c h 2 0 07   Vol. 31, N0. 1

Standards for Car Talk
By Ivan Berger


he more your car knows, the safer
you-and everyone around you-
will be, or so goes the thinking.
The network linking a car's
major systems-engine, transmission,
brakes, suspension, and so on-already
does many things. It helps cars correct
skids before they happen, brake better,
avoid tailgating, warn of unsafe lane
changes, hold you securely in place in
a collision, and call for assistance if you
crash. Someday soon, cars will network
to other cars and roadside data systems
to spread the word about congestion, road
conditions, and accidents. And they'll
access travel-related Internet services.
A new family of four IEEE standards
is bringing that day closer, by ensuring
that car and roadside infrastructures can
communicate with each other. These
standards could do for cars and vehicular transportation what the popular
IEEE 802.11 wireless standards have
done for laptops and networking.
The IEEE 1609 suite of WAVE Communications standards, developed for
the U.S. Department of Transportation
(DOT), covers the underlying architecture
for WAVE (Wireless Access in Vehicular
Environments). The WAVE protocol uses
the dedicated short-range communications band, at 5.9 gigahertz. Three of the
standards in the suite have been approved
for trial use, and one is pending.
The first, IEEE Std. 1609.2, approved in
June, covers methods of securing WAVE
messages against eavesdropping, spoofing, and other attacks. The second, IEEE
Std. 1609.1, released in October, deals
with managing multiple simultaneous
data streams, memory, and other system
resources. The third, IEEE Std. 1609.4,

approved in November, primarily covers
how multiple channels-including control
and service channels-should operate.
IEEE Std. 1609.3, which covers WAVE
networking services and protocols, and
is an extension (802.11p) to the IEEE
802.11 wireless networking standard
covering WAVE-mode transmission, is
under development.
The Intelligent Transportation System
Committee of IEEE's Vehicular Technology Society is the sponsor of the WAVE
standards. Funding comes from the DOT,
and the Federal Communications Commission has allocated a 75-megahertz
swath of the 5.9-GHz band for WAVE.
WHY WAVE? The WAVE system, once in
place, would be designed to make driving
safer and easier. Several times each sec-

ond, WAVE-equipped cars will transmit
information to other cars and to roadside
transceivers about their location, speed,
acceleration or deceleration, brake status,
windshield wiper operation, and more.
Such information is already circulating
within cars equipped with GPS, electronic speedometers, antilock brakes, and
other sensor-based systems.
The roadside transceivers could eventually be installed at every traffic light
and freeway interchange along major
roads, "and anywhere there have been
lots of accidents," says IEEE Member Lee
Armstrong, who is the editor of IEEE
Stds. 1609.1, .3, and .4. The roadside
units will share information with passing vehicles and with safety, highway,
and traffic-control authorities.
To monitor traffic [Continued on page 6]


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