The Institute - March 2007 - 6


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better, vehicles with WAVE could double as
traffic reporters. They'll also sense ambient
temperature and road conditions, enabling
highway authorities to deploy snowplows,
for example, even before they're needed.
And the roadside units could warn drivers
away from hazards and congestion. "You'll
also be alerted when a traffic light's about
to change, and be warned if someone's
running through it," Armstrong says.
None of the information coming from
cars will identify the vehicle it comes from.
"We're building privacy in, from the ground
up," says IEEE Member Doug Kavner, who
chaired the security subgroup for IEEE Std.
1609.2. To mask their points of origin, for
example, WAVE-equipped cars will transmit only limited data until they've traveled a certain distance from their starting
points, Kavner says. For even more privacy,
WAVE radios will change their local Internet Protocol (IP) and medium access control addresses periodically.
Drivers will receive information about
road conditions, red lights, and hazards
from cars 300 to 500 meters ahead on
highways, and 100 meters ahead in cities.
Emergency vehicles, equipped with longerrange (1-kilometer) WAVE systems, will

be able to warn vehicles ahead to let them
pass and to control traffic lights to give
them the right of way.
Vehicle manufacturers must decide
how to use WAVE data, how to present
the data to drivers, and what automotive
systems to control. The emphasis will be
on driver alerts, including visual, audible,
and tactile warnings. A warning of an
impending accident will be fed to precrash systems, such as those now found
on some luxury cars. These systems do
such things as pre-tension seat belts, prepare brakes for an emergency stop, and
tilt reclined seats upright.

A WAVE radio could alert the driver
to traffic and other road conditions.

NATIONWIDE Once widely adopted, the
WAVE infrastructure could provide a
single, nationwide system for paying tolls,
time-of-day road charges, and other usage
fees. It might also be used to pay for gas
and parking, though the DOT does not
currently contemplate doing that. Like
today's piecemeal toll-tag and credit-card
systems, such uses could compromise
driver privacy and will be switched on only
in cars whose drivers opt for them. Data on
traffic and road conditions, however, will
be sent automatically and anonymously.
More intrusive uses, such as tracking cars that speed or ignore stop signs
and traffic lights, probably would not be
allowed in the United States, both for privacy's sake and lest they discourage car
owners from adopting the system.
The auto industry, the IEEE, and the
DOT hope their cooperation will ensure
that when vehicles with WAVE roll off the
assembly line, "there will be infrastructure
to communicate with," a DOT representative says. Even so, the road infrastructure
might lag behind WAVE installations in
cars, because responsibility for roads is
spread among the states and countless
local traffic, transit, and safety authorities.
"Who will pay and who will orchestrate is under discussion," says Kavner, the

security subgroup chair, "though it seems
safe to assume that there will be federal
involvement and funding."
HOW FAR OFF? Highway tests of the WAVE
system are scheduled to begin soon. Electronics manufacturers are proto-typing
WAVE radios, and the auto industry,
which has been involved with the technology for several years, is developing ways
to build the radios and their antennas
into cars. The government and the auto
industry are expected to decide whether
to implement the system by the end of
next year. Cars with WAVE may come off
the assembly line in about 2011.
Tests so far have uncovered no technical problems. WAVE is built on existing
technologies, such as the IEEE 802.11
chipset and an adaptation of IP version 6.
However, the new standards are for trial
use and may well need revision before
they are permanently adopted.
First, of course, the system has to work,
Kavner notes. "No decisions have been
made about deployment, and no one has
deployment in their current budget," he
says. "But the DOT, the auto industry, and
other groups are pouring a lot of effort and
money into WAVE. They really want to
make it happen."	



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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Institute - March 2007

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