Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) Allowing Creation of Smart Mobility Society
Innovative Methods for Observation and Control of Traffic Flow
ITS Technologies to Solve New Traffic Issues and Toshiba's Approach
OKI Yoshiaki / OZAKI Nobuyuki / NAKAMURA Junichi
The ongoing decline in the birthrate and aging of society in Japan have led to a deterioration in traffic issues including traffic congestion and accidents. An effective means of preventing age-related traffic issues is to provide information so as to avoid contingent events with sufficient time through the prediction of traffic congestion and accidents. There is consequently an increasing need for intelligent transport system (ITS) technologies with enhanced prediction simulation functions capable of predicting the occurrence of a variety of events in advance.
With the aim of realizing a smart mobility society achieving both smooth traffic flow and energy saving, Toshiba is continuously making efforts to improve the essential functions of ITS technologies. By promoting our "Spiral Life-Cycle Business" operations while accommodating customers' operation cycles, these ITS technologies are expected to contribute to the solution of social issues in cooperation with customers facing the daily changes that are taking place in the social environment.
Traffic Flow Estimation Using Image Probe System Based on Image Processing Technology
UENO Hideki / OZAKI Nobuyuki / ASAKURA Yasuo
Attention has been focused on methods of grasping road traffic conditions using a data processing function to process data gathered from roadside sensors and probe data from traveling vehicles based on global positioning system (GPS) information. However, the costs of device installation, operation, and maintenance have been pointed out as an issue. A further issue lies in understanding overall traffic conditions, including the traffic flow rate and traffic density, due to the lack of information on the positional relationship between a vehicle equipped with a GPS and other surrounding vehicles to complement the available information on the GPS-equipped vehicle's position and velocity.
In order to resolve these issues, Toshiba has been engaged in the development of an image probe system integrating a traffic condition estimation technology, which is being studied by the Tokyo Institute of Technology, and an onboard image processing technology to calculate the distances between vehicle heads as an input for the former technology. The image probe system makes it possible to estimate total traffic volumes on a targeted road and to construct an asset-light traffic system. We have conducted running tests using a prototype image probe system and confirmed the effectiveness of the system during driving on an actual traveling route.
System to Support EV Drivers Travelling on Expressways and Its Technology Using AI to Predict Power Consumption of EVs
SHIBATA Yasuhiro / FUKUSHIMA Arika / KANO Makoto
Toshiba has conducted simulations and confirmed the effectiveness of its energy management system (EMS) for expressways, which can control the electric power demand of an entire expressway including that for electric vehicles (EVs) and charging stations by systematically guiding each EV that requires battery charging to the appropriate charging station. We have subsequently been aiming to provide practical information to support EV drivers travelling on an expressway.
As part of this approach, we have developed a system with a function to recommend appropriate charging stations to EV drivers based on each predicted travel distance so as to avoid battery power shortages and shorten waiting times for charging. We are now evaluating it through field tests using a prototype system under various driving conditions. We also developed a technology to predict the power consumption of EV batteries with high accuracy using transfer learning, an artificial intelligence (AI) technology.
Efforts for Practical Realization of Method to Forecast Traffic Accident Occurrence on Expressways
SHIMOKAWA Yusuke / TANIMOTO Tomohiko / OHBA Yoshikazu
Rear-end collisions with vehicles that have stopped at times of traffic congestion account for many of the traffic accidents that occur on expressways. The provision of traffic information to drivers when there is a high probability of accidents occurring can therefore be expected to contribute to the prevention of such accidents.
In order to reduce traffic accidents, Toshiba has been engaged in research and development aimed at the practical realization of a method to forecast the occurrence of traffic accidents on expressways by means of a self-organizing map, which is a type of neural network, and to provide such information to traffic control personnel and drivers. We have now conducted studies on an actual case of applying this method, called the traffic accident occurrence forecast module, to a traffic control system, and have extracted issues and proposed measures for implementation of the module.
Basic Software for Central Processing Systems of ITS with Appropriate Performance for Expressways in Global Market
SHIMIZU Ryogo / YUHARA Takashi / YOSHIDA Hideaki
An intelligent transport system (ITS) for expressways, which consists of a traffic control system, facility monitoring system, and toll collection system, is comprehensively controlled by software installed in a central processing system. Accompanying the ongoing increase in traffic in various countries, particularly in developing countries, there is an urgent need to introduce the ITS into expressways in order to enhance safety and mitigate traffic congestion.
To meet the diverse requirements of the global market, Toshiba has developed the Global ITS Central Software as basic software for the central processing system of an ITS, incorporating the results of market research in each region together with its accumulated ITS technologies and operational know-how in Japan. This software has a compact configuration, which was achieved by narrowing down ITS functions to the necessary level appropriate for each region, thereby shortening the delivery time and reducing costs. It is also compliant with standard interface specifications, allowing external equipment produced by other companies to be easily connected. We have applied this software to the North-South Expressway Construction Project connecting Ho Chi Minh and Dau Giay in Vietnam, the Japan's first overseas ITS package project, for which we received the contract in March 2014. The system was successfully put into service in March 2017.
Vehicle Type Discrimination Technology for Large-Sized Vehicles Using Roadside Camera Images
AOKI Yasuhiro / SATO Toshio
A large number of roadside cameras have already been installed for the purpose of monitoring road and traffic conditions. In recent years, demand has been increasing for the discrimination of extra-large vehicles, including large-sized buses and semitrailers, using images captured by such roadside cameras in order to allow road administrators to estimate road maintenance requirements and the state of congestion of service areas and parking areas in advance. In order to discriminate different types of large-sized vehicles in detail, however, observation of the overall vehicles is required and it is difficult to discriminate large-sized vehicles that have different rear structures using only the front patterns captured by these cameras. Moreover, the side patterns of vehicles change in appearance according to the differences in camera locations.
To rectify this situation, Toshiba has developed a vehicle type discrimination technology for large-sized vehicles in which a pattern matching method is applied to a number of vehicle images decomposed into front, side, and top patterns based on the coordinate systems of the vehicle relative to the position of each roadside camera. We have confirmed the effectiveness of this technology through experiments on the discrimination of large-sized buses using recorded images of a traffic flow.
False Approach Detection System to Prevent Accidents at Entrances and Exits of Urban Expressways
KURATA Ryoichi / WATANABE Yasunari / WADA Akira
Traffic accidents may occur at the entrances and exits of urban expressways due to the false approach of a pedestrian, bicycle, or vehicle that is not permitted to run on expressways, including motor-assisted bicycles and motorcycles under 125 cc, because the entrances and exits of urban expressways are often connected to the main line by a road of relatively short length and it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between the ramp and public road.
In order to prevent such traffic accidents, Toshiba, in cooperation with Metropolitan Expressway Co., Ltd., has been engaged in the research and development of a false approach detection system consisting of the following subsystems: a detection subsystem to automatically detect an erroneous entry, an on-site warning subsystem to issue a warnings by voice and display, and an alarm receiving and popup display subsystem as well as a video recording subsystem installed at the traffic control center. We have confirmed the effectiveness of this system through experimental trials using an actual entrance and exit of an urban expressway.
Software Platform Capable of Lengthening Lifetime of ETC Systems
YAMAMOTO Masahiro / KUSANO Atsushi / YAHAGI Masayuki
The basic policy released by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism mandates the optimal utilization of roads in Japan, particularly expressways, through enhancement of their management and small-scale improvements. It is therefore necessary to implement strategic measures for the maintenance and renewal of expressways as a social infrastructure system. The lifetime of the equipment of an Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) system, a key element of an intelligent transport system (ITS), is expected to be become longer as a result.
Toshiba has been developing and supplying ETC systems in response to such customers' requirements. However, the life cycle of electronic parts in hardware is becoming progressively shorter in recent years. Furthermore, as embedded software that can perform billing processing in real time with high efficiency is closely related to the hardware used, time and labor are required to implement the software design change accompanying a change in hardware. The lifetime of an overall ETC system and its equipment is consequently affected by the life cycle of the hardware. With this as a background, we have now developed a software platform that can lengthen the lifetime of ETC systems by minimizing the effects of changes in hardware. This software platform, which is divided into core parts for common processes and noncore parts related to hardware changes, can flexibly and efficiently respond to changes in hardware as well as the introduction of automated verification.
Wireless Charging Technology for Expansion of Electric Bus Systems
SUZUKI Katsuyoshi / OBAYASHI Shuichi
In response to global environmental issues, Toshiba is promoting urban transportation solutions for the realization of a low-carbon society through the development of electric bus systems. A wireless charging system capable of easily charging secondary batteries mounted on electric buses will play a critical role in the expansion of electric bus systems. In the development of such a wireless charging system, it is necessary to take into consideration both safety and usability as well as interoperability for different types of electric buses.
We have been developing a magnetic resonance technology that can handle a wide margin of positional displacements between an onboard battery charger and a parking pad on the ground and relatively long transmission distances. Verification operation tests on public roads have confirmed that this technology is capable of meeting the requirements for practical use in an electric bus system.