Connected UAV and CAV Coordination for Improved Road Network Safety and Mobility 2021-01-0173
Having connectivity among ground vehicles brings about benefits in fuel economy improvement, traffic mobility enhancement and undesired emission reductions. On the other hand, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) have proven to help in getting aerial data to end users in an affordable manner. When UAVs are equipped with cameras, they can get information about the terrain they are flying over. Moreover, using Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) communication technologies, it is possible to form a communication link between UAVs and the connected ground vehicle networks comprising of Connected and Autonomous vehicles (CAVs). To investigate and exploit the potential benefits and use cases of a broad vehicle network, a microscopic traffic simulator modified previously by our group with the addition of nearby UAVs is used to integrate simulated Connected UAVs flying above a realistic simulation of heterogeneous traffic flow containing both CAVs and non-CAVs. Use case scenarios are defined, where the Connected UAVs in the simulation environment have soft cameras on them that are used to observe traffic patterns when hovering over intersections and to detect abnormalities in the traffic flow when flying over a highway. The information gathered by the Connected UAVs, such as average vehicle speed in the intersection, speed limit on a road segment, queue location and advisory speed are then broadcasted to be picked up by CAVs. The performance of the CAVs in fuel economy and traffic mobility are then analyzed between the baseline case of no UAV communication and the case where Connected UAVs were present. It is seen that having Connected UAVs can help to increase mobility of the nearby road network. Encouraged by the simulation study, a hardware implementation is also investigated and a DSRC based communication architecture is set up between a CAV platform and a Connected UAV. Preliminary tests between the CAV and Connected UAV show that package losses may be an issue in the DSRC communication and optimal antenna configuration for least package loss in the data transfer improves the reliability of DSRC communication between a ground and an aerial vehicle. A 4G internet WebSocket server-based communication architecture is proposed and preliminary testing is reported in an effort to increase the communication range beyond that of DSRC communication, at the expense of slightly increased latency.