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Coming soon to a motorway near you

PUBLISHED: 12:22 21 January 2014 | UPDATED: 12:28 21 January 2014

Clearview Traffic Group with Oxford Brookes University are developing the 'catseye' of the future

Clearview Traffic Group with Oxford Brookes University are developing the 'catseye' of the future

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Clearview Traffic Group of Bicester in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Oxford Brookes University are Developing the ‘catseye’ of the future

Road studs of the future that will communicate in a life-saving, intelligent system are being developed by Clearview Traffic Group of Bicester in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Oxford Brookes University. Advanced wireless communications with solar power will deliver real-time information to improve traffic management and road safety. Clearview Traffic already produces an LED road stud which harvests sunlight and reflects it back at night to produce a much brighter and safer delineation of lanes. It has been used in many countries and has significantly reduced the occurrence of road accidents. The project will use Oxford Brookes’ expertise in robust wireless communications to develop a new system that can function with the low power budget available and in the harsh conditions on the surface of major roads.

Dr Shumao Ou and Dr Peter Ball from the Computing and Communication Technologies Department are leading the university’s input to the two-year project. They outline it for Brookes Connect:

‘One of the Clearview Traffic products is a solar powered, light emitting road stud that provides improved lane delineation. Look out for them when you next drive along a motorway – you will notice them as they shine brightly well ahead of regular studs which rely on the reflection from vehicle headlights. The aim of this project is to design and develop next-generation intelligent studs. These will include wireless transceivers that will allow them to ‘talk’ to each other, so that information from sensors built in can be passed along the road and then to a roadside controller. The objective is for the upstream link to inform a controller about road conditions and real time traffic flow, and the downstream link to enable the stud lighting to be controlled to adjust lane markings and manage flow. The ultimate goal is to be able to use the information from the sensors to give motorists advance warning of adverse conditions.

Wireless communication avoids the cost and the potential damage to the surface associated with feeding wires under the road. However, this is a challenging environment for radio because the radio path will be obstructed by the ground and passing vehicles. Moreover, the energy available for communication and lighting is restricted to the amount that can be harvested from the solar cells, and must operate throughout the year even when the amount of daylight is limited.’

The partners have recently recruited Vlad Marsic as KTP Associate to work in the company under supervision from Dr Ou at Oxford Brookes. Vlad comes to the project from Cranfield University where he was a Research Fellow in low power wireless communications.

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For more information about Knowledge Transfer Partnerships email KTP for more information: ktp@brookes.ac.uk

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