To increase road safety and improve traffic flow, telecommunications giant, Ericsson, is introducing Connected Traffic Cloud, a managed cloud platform that enables the sharing of real-time traffic and road condition data between connected vehicles and road traffic authorities. Unveiled at the Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona, Spain, the company says that with the Connected Traffic Cloud, road transport authorities will have access to all the data they need, and also a much better means of communicating potentially life-saving traffic advisories to drivers. According to the most recent data from the World Health Organization (WHO), road vehicles are responsible for 1.24 million fatalities every year. The cost of traffic congestion, calculated by adding up wasted fuel, time that could be spent more productively and higher business costs, already amounts to well over US$100bn annually in the USA alone.
Whereas currently highways authorities worldwide rely on a combination of broadcast radio and digital roadside signage, the Connected Traffic Cloud will facilitate proactive and location-relevant communication with drivers via the screens of on-board connected devices. The Connected Traffic Cloud also has the potential to greatly increase road traffic authorities’ ability to aggregate and analyze real real-time data from connected vehicles and devices; if the owners of the data are willing to share it. In terms of its components, Connected Traffic Cloud combines: industry applications, service enablement, connectivity management, and consulting and systems integration services, each of which has been proven in other industry-specific managed cloud platforms, such as the company’s Connected Vehicle Cloud and Maritime ICT Cloud.
Ericsson says the primary customer for the Connected Traffic Cloud are road traffic authorities worldwide that currently rely on a limited set of data provided by a relatively small number of road sensors and traffic cameras. Other potential sources of data for the system include aftermarket, portable GPS devices and smartphone navigation apps. Currently, traffic agencies use their data to manage traffic flow, such as by controlling traffic lights or to provide traffic advisories to drivers that help them avoid potentially dangerous road conditions. By launching the Connected Traffic Cloud, Ericsson hopes to inspire the creation of an open ecosystem in which data from connected vehicles will be shared to ease traffic flow and enhance road safety.
Orvar Hurtig, head of industry & society at Ericsson, explained, “Mobile connectivity is increasingly a must-have feature in cars, thanks to both consumer demand for infotainment, and a wide range of regulatory initiatives that aim to increase road safety. As a result, vehicles are becoming a major source of data that could be used to improve road traffic authorities’ ability to manage traffic and prevent avoidable accidents. Connected Traffic Cloud is the means by which that data could be shared.”
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