Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Bulging bumper could speed journey to computerised carriageways

19.02.2007
Investigations by engineers at The University of Manchester into an extendable car bumper could help speed along the arrival of computer-controlled motorways.

A paper presented at the Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) World Congress and Exhibition recently offers a glimpse of how a high-tech, environmentally-friendly and efficient motorway network could operate safely in the future.

The authors, from the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, scooped Best Scientific Paper at the meeting of 3,000 key decision makers and technical experts from across the world.

Automated Highway Systems (AHS) and Co-operative Vehicle Highway Systems (CVHS) have been under development for many decades.

The vision is that vehicles would not be independently driven, but regulated and controlled via information beamed from transmitters at the side of the road. Cars would also communicate and co-operate with the vehicles around them to ensure a safe and fast journey for everyone.

With the use of UK motorway space estimated to be as little as five per cent, the grouping or ‘platooning’ of cars is seen as one way to increase capacity and reduce congestion. As computer-controlled vehicles would be able to travel much closer together, it would mean less fuel consumption due to a reduction in aerodynamic drag.

In their award-winning paper, the University of Manchester academics note that concerns over legal and liability issues, in the event of failure, seem to have held back development.

The system proposed by the University of Manchester team would use a ‘bridging damper’ in the event of a signal failure. This would be an intelligent bumper, which would extend to touch the car in front, should the main communication system break down.

Computer simulations have indicated that a group of at least 20 cars could continue to travel safely and smoothly in the event of a main system failure, by detecting the status of the car immediately in front through their extended bumpers. Information on the other cars in the group would not be necessary.

The authors of the paper have investigated the use of a system that would see bumpers adjust to compensate for varying road conditions such as uphill and downhill stretches.

Although much of the research has been conducted using computer simulations, the research team have developed a small simplified pneumatic version of the damper device for further investigation.

Dr Renfrew, one of the paper’s authors, said: “With so much intelligence going into the creation of co-operative vehicle highway systems, the consequences of a system failure are potentially quite severe – although the overall benefits, including the potential for greater safety, are considerable.

“Our paper explores ideas about how this type of transport system might continue to operate safely if the main communication system broke down.

“A vast amount of further research is needed to explore the viability of the proposed system. But we do hope that by tackling the issue of safety and presenting our ideas for discussion and further investigation, intelligent transport systems may arrive just a little bit quicker.”

The University of Manchester paper also proposes that the bridging damper could be used on guided bus and guided taxi systems.

But it notes that further research is needed into the technological, social, policy, psychological and economic aspects of so-called ‘contact convoy’ systems.

Martin Davey, chair of the judging panel at the conference and Project Director of Transport For London’s Technical Services Group, said: "Dr Renfrew's paper offers a glimpse of how one form of transport system might operate safely in the future.”

The authors received an attractive glass trophy and £500, which was given to Aurelio Gonzalez-Villasenor, who carried out the vast majority of the research for the paper for his PhD thesis.

Having graduated in May 2006, Dr Gonzalez-Villasenor is now working as a Research Associate in the Power Conversion Group in the University’s School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

Jon Keighren | alfa
Further information:
http://www.manchester.ac.uk

More articles from Transportation and Logistics:

nachricht Variable speed limits could reduce crashes, ease congestion in highway work zones
07.06.2017 | University of Missouri-Columbia

nachricht Experiments show that a few self-driving cars can dramatically improve traffic flow
10.05.2017 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

All articles from Transportation and Logistics >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Touch Displays WAY-AX and WAY-DX by WayCon

27.06.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Drones that drive

27.06.2017 | Information Technology

Ultra-compact phase modulators based on graphene plasmons

27.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>