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breakthrougH Intelligent maps and GeograpHic tools for the context-aWAredeliverY of e-safety and added-value services

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Intelligent maps for a smart journey

Journey planning can be a nightmare as there are so many factors that can change both timing and chosen route. A European project has devised a system so the driver is informed of all delays well in advance.

Digital Economy

Throughout Europe, despite many initiatives including laws, intelligent road systems and improvements in e-safety features for vehicles, safety and road congestion are still issues. To remedy this, the EU-funded Highway project aimed to provide integrated interactive services between the driver, the vehicle and information infrastructure. The new system consists of smart real-time maps, mobile Universal Mobile Telecommunications System Third Generation (UMTS 3G) telecommunications, spatial tools for map display and navigation and speech synthesis combined with voice recognition. The driver can access the complete network as a subscriber using a card and then receive information through a mobile phone or in-vehicle devices such as screens. The motorist is therefore able to receive up-to-date data about accidents, weather conditions and traffic jams that are a threat to safety and timekeeping. The system also provides alternative courses to avoid hold-ups and dangers. All the driver has to do is to provide the coordinates of the destination and present location via a Global positioning system (GPS). A map is then produced with all the hazards superimposed. As the journey progresses, information is relayed every five minutes for updates. Consequently, sudden unexpected dangers such as deteriorating weather and freak accidents like rock-falls can be allowed for. Highway researchers tested the prototype successfully in Finland and a joint venture between Motorola and Fiat set up trials using a similar service in Italy. The time seems to be imminent when even long car journeys will be stress-free and take as little time as possible.

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