V ehicle-to-vehicle communication is a boon to the future of transportation and technology. It is the idea that vehicles could talk to each other and prevent accidents from happening. There is a larger superset that holds more potential - vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, which would allow vehicles of all kinds to better understand their environments. Collectively, it is known as Intelligent Transport System.
Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) is constantly gaining traction around the world. It is the idea that the infrastructure itself can be made smarter. ITS would make all modes of transportation safer, faster and efficient. Computational technologies, floating car data, sensing technologies, data fusion from multiple traffic sensing modalities and several other technologies can be applied to road transport alone. It is understandable that most ITS research is about road transport, as it is, where there is a high occurrence of accidents caused by human errors.
The exceeding regularity of problems arising out of human-errors makes transportation, especially road transport, a fertile ground for technological solutions to grow. A technology as old and simple as the radar can be highly effective in reducing accidents on Indian roads. It is obvious that a collection of autonomous and semi-autonomous technologies would go a long way in terms of reducing India’s traffic woes. It will be a combination of dynamic and static factors that will represent the solution. A singular car smart enough to travel anywhere without human help cannot be made. This necessitates a holistic technological upgrade of all infrastructure.
Along with road transport, the other modes of transportation have their own issues. International shipping and local-waterway shipping have distinct issues making ‘travel on water’ the only common thing between the two sub-sectors. The shipping market has picked up steam in India relatively late, hence more challenges will be discovered as the market develops. Just like road transport problems won’t be solved by smarter cars alone, water transport problems won’t be solved by bigger or smarter ships alone. The accompanying infrastructure - docks and loading systems on land, location tracking and navigation systems in and from space - will need to be much more intelligent than it is.
Governments around the world are trying to better public transportation systems. Efficiency is the key mass-transit issue faced by the authorities. Infrastructure, which is intelligent, can resolve this problem. Upgrading the train wagons and buses used would be just the first step of ITS. An intelligent infrastructure at the information desks, ticket kiosks and station entrances, for example, would make travel more efficient. Tier-1 cities stand to benefit the most from Intelligent Transport Systems. Transportation becomes safe and efficient only through technological advancements.
Intelligent Transport Systems are bound to create a market for innovative technologies, which will make travel faster, safer and efficient. Every single mode of transportation is ripe for such opportunities that integrate technology with transport.