Thompson Rivers University

Let the cars do the talking

  Posted on: May 11, 2018

Dr. Ning Lu, Assistant Professor, Computing Science

We’re 10 years away from having 100 per cent of vehicles speak to each other through the Internet of Vehicles Dr. Ning Lu predicts, but to get there, basic foundations must be built, which is where his expertise comes in.

The Assistant Professor in Computing Science is supported by an NSERC Discovery Grant in his research project, Real-Time Scheduling for Internet of Vehicles. The technology his work supports is application oriented, but Lu is starting at the ground level, developing algorithms that will improve vehicle safety, transportation scheduling, traffic control, and energy conservation.

“With this data actions can be taken to avoid crashes and reduce sudden braking to prevent successive collisions,” he said, naming just a few examples of how this technology can be employed.

Traditional algorithms are unable cope with the full complexity of the Internet of Vehicles, or adequately predict system behaviour and challenges that arise from the high mobility and the diverse nature of vehicles and traffic.

“We want to focus on the algorithm layer, and based on the algorithm, we provide more services and information to the application layer of this technology,” Lu explained.

“We’re going from zero to 100 per cent of the vehicles on the road being able to speak with one another, which is so important because right now the vehicle is an island without any connection to the others around it.”

This technology has specific implications for the transportation sector, as it will let transport trucks to share information that will create ideal vehicle distance and plan optimal routes to save fuel and time.

“We can design sophisticated algorithms to improve the reliability of the information,” said Lu, who added that the data must be communicated in real time, which is currently impossible due to signal interference and fading using both WiFi and LTE.

“In order to improve public safety we have radar, we have sensors, we have driverless vehicles, so this technology is happening, but we don’t have car-to-car communication yet. That’s the next step.”