Intelligent transportation systems (ITS) are currently one of the most innovative areas of technological deployment with cutting edge technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and automation poised to transform the landscape even further. However, intelligent transportation systems are not without their own challenges.
In order to fully realize the potential of ITS systems in the age of the Internet of Things (IoT), network connectivity needs to be flexible, scalable, and be ready to meet rising consumer demands.
Being able to connect to the internet while travelling, either on public transport or privately-owned vehicles, has become an essential feature, rather than the added luxury of yesteryear. Constant connectivity is a challenge in itself, but particularly in remote locations where even the faintest connection can often be difficult to come by.
In this article we’ll be taking a look at some of the challenges faced by intelligent transportation systems in remote locations while also looking into wireless mesh networks and how they may be the key to unlocking scalable connectivity within ITS systems in remote locations.
Firstly though, let’s start by understanding the challenges faced in bringing reliable intelligent transportation systems in remote geographic locations.
What are the Challenges?
The challenges of delivering an effective intelligent transportation system in a remote area are numerous. From limited connectivity and latency issues to the need for operators to access real-time data about traffic situations, intelligent transportation systems depend upon reliable network connections in order to function optimally.
When a single failure point within a communications network can be responsible for the failure of the entire network, the time has come to rethink your approach to critical communications systems.
In order to combat these challenges, different approaches to networking and communications networks have been proposed, with several gaining traction and going on to be deployed in real-world situations. One of the most exciting of these networking innovations has been mesh networks.
Mesh networks are exciting because they offer a solution for the issue of remote as well as reliable connectivity for intelligent transportation systems and have proven successful in various trials and deployments around the world.
What are Wireless Mesh Networks?
Wireless Mesh networks are a network topology that incorporates the use of infrastructure nodes which connect to as many other nodes in a dynamic, direct, and non-hierarchical way in order to increase their range and connectivity.
These dynamically connected nodes allow network data to be transmitted from one node within the mesh to another until it reaches its final destination. The nodes themselves are left to make purely routing-focused decisions. However, there are other iterations of mesh networks that differ from this.
Edge mesh networks combine the concept of mesh networks with edge computing in order to enable the distribution of decision making tasks among the various edge devices connected to a network, rather than transmitting all of this data to a single centralized server.
Combining the use of both mesh networks and edge computing within intelligent transportation systems, Edge Mesh integration could bring various benefits such as better scalability, distributed intelligence, and enhanced performance, security and privacy. Edge mesh networks would also enable only priority data to be sent to a cloud or centralized server.
The main attraction of mesh networks is their ability to span much larger distances than traditional networks while still retaining higher throughput and lower latency as well as enabling real-time detection and reporting of problems.
Mesh Networks in Remotely Located Intelligent Transportation Systems
Using wireless mesh network topologies to design and build intelligent transportation systems in remote locations around the world could prove to be a revolutionary step in realizing the true potential of intelligent and connected smart cities.
Without reliable and scalable connectivity, ITS systems may take even longer to reach the furthest corners of the modern world than many of the people living in these areas find acceptable.
With the utilization of data becoming a trademark of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, mesh networks could allow for markedly improved access to real-time data that could then be analysed and turn into actionable insights to help improve both traffic management and the operation of intelligent transportation systems themselves.
Technological innovations such as edge mesh networks, artificial intelligence and automation will also undoubtedly play a part in the evolution of intelligent transportation systems and, as these technologies evolve and mature, it seems likely that they will influence the direction of each other development and deployment within this area.
While these cutting-edge technologies are still yet to make their full impact, mesh networks are well and truly here and only time will tell how their development and deployment will improve the integration of intelligent transportation systems within remote locations.
For the reasons listed above, however, it feels safe to say they’ll certainly be a significant step towards doing so.