We consider the problem of monitoring road and traffic conditions in a city. Prior work in this area has required the deployment of dedicated sensors on vehicles and/or on the roadside, or the tracking of mobile phones by service providers. Furthermore, prior work has largely focused on the developed world, with its relatively simple traffic flow patterns. In fact, traffic flow in cities of the developing regions, which comprise much of the world, tends to be much more complex owing to varied road conditions (e.g., potholed roads), chaotic traffic (e.g., a lot of braking and honking), and a heterogeneous mix of vehicles (2-wheelers, 3-wheelers, cars, buses, etc.).
To monitor road and traffic conditions in such a setting, we present TrafficSense, a system that piggybacks on smartphones that users carry around with them. Each participating smartphone performs rich sensing using its communication radios, GPS, accelerometer, and microphone, scans for and exchanges information from other participating phones in its neighbourhood, and reports processed information back to a central server for aggregation and reporting. We discuss key technical challenges, including energy optimization and the need for hands-free operation, present the design of TrafficSense, including how information from multiple sensors is combined to make inferences, and evaluate it in various road and traffic settings in Bangalore.
(Joint work with Prashanth Mohan and Ram Ramjee.)
Bio: Venkat Padmanabhan is a Senior Researcher and Research Manager at Microsoft Research India in Bangalore, where he founded and now leads the Mobility, Networks, and Systems group. Venkat was previously with Microsoft Research Redmond for 8.5 years. His research interests are in networked systems and his current projects focus on mobile and senor systems, and network management. His professional service has included serving as program chair for ACM NOSSDAV 2004, ACM IMC 2005, and IEEE HotWeb 2008, and as an affiliate faculty member at the University of Washington, where he has taught and served in student thesis committees. Venkat holds a B.Tech. from IIT Delhi and an M.S. and Ph.D from UC Berkeley, all in Computer Science.