In November 2015, the UK’s Transport Systems Catapult (TSC) and the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) launched the ‘Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Challenge’ competition, which sought innovative ideas from postgraduates, professionals and academics that could accelerate the introduction of the vehicles onto public roads.
The co-organizers have now announced that the winner of the CAV Challenge is Ben Ward (pictured, below), the director of Love Hz, a consultancy specializing in the Internet of Things (IoT) and wireless technology, based in Oxford. The contest was run on the Intelligent Mobility knowledge exchange platform, IMExchange, hosted by the Transport Systems Catapult and Zyncd, which is a Q&A community for transportation professionals to exchange knowledge and expertise.
Entrants were asked to think of technological product ideas in areas such as services, security, data and urban planning, for a near future when CAVs become ubiquitous. Ward’s innovative idea featured the use of generic path computation and the IoT to orchestrate how autonomous vehicles decide on the routes they take; avoiding vehicles choosing the same route at the same time and causing congestion.
Commenting on his win, Ward said, “I’m very excited about winning this competition. What I love is that networks, traffic and topologies actually affect both road and telecoms networks, and although telecoms use the terms as metaphors, the underpinning concepts still hold. With IoT, everyday objects become equipped with intelligence. How can we ensure they don’t fight over resources like humans do? Do CAVs offer a way to reduce the effects of human nature on road capacity and travel habits? I hope my idea can contribute to answering some of these questions.”
The TSC’s chief technology officer, Paul Zanelli, commented, “Ben’s entry was very well thought out and highlighted one of the many areas which need to be addressed before this exciting technology becomes accessible to the public. We had a number of fantastic entries, but Ben’s idea is one I could really see becoming an integral part of the autonomous future. These vehicles are coming sooner than people think, and it is important we start considering the challenges now, to ensure we gain the full benefits.”