Sauder professor part of network to receive $8-million in funding toward smart car technology research


Garland Chow

Sauder associate professor Garland Chow is a member of a research network that has been awarded a $5-million grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and an additional $3-million from industry partners towards a large-scale research program that will transform the way Canadians drive.

The collaborative research project called Developing Next Generation Intelligent Vehicular Networks and Applications (DIVA), will be supported by several government organizations, private businesses, and universities researchers from UBC, University of Ottawa, Carleton University, Ontario Institute of Technology, Ecole Polytechnique de Montréal, Queen’s University, University of Alberta and University of Waterloo.

The goal of the project is to design wireless networks and applications for Canada’s vehicles and roads that support high-speed communications among vehicles and between vehicles and ground-based infrastructure. The Canadian research team will work with and develop leading-edge communications technologies and systems that will significantly improve efficiency, safety, productivity and mobility on the road, while reducing threats to travel safety and security, as well as greenhouse gas emissions.

The researchers envision a wireless communications network that will allow real-time information about the transportation environment to be delivered directly to drivers, from alerts about accidents and poor road conditions that can cause drivers to idle in traffic to information about what retail options are available.

They also see opportunities to enhance passenger entertainment options by using vehicle-specific networks that provide access to video-on-demand, gaming and enhanced communications services that allow passengers to interact with the occupants of other vehicles sharing the road.

Associate Professor Garland Chow, the director of Sauder's Bureau of Intelligent Transportation Systems and Freight Security, and his UBC colleagues Professor Victor Leung, TELUS Mobility Research Chair in Advanced Telecommunications Engineering, and Professor Panos Nasiopoulos, director of the Institute for Computing, Information and Cognitive Systems, will initially focus their work on the following projects as part of the network: Harnessing Vehicular Social Networks for Crowd Sensing, Intelligent Transportation Applications Supporting Secure and Efficient Movements of Freights, Secure And Trusted Terminals And Network Infrastructure, and Heterogeneous Vehicle-to-Vehicle and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure System Integration and Evaluation Strategies.

This major collaborative research project is timely as a similar intelligent vehicular network project is already in its initial stages in the United States, and several automotive companies are currently investing in in-vehicle wireless communications systems which are expected to be introduced to the market over the next few years.

The funding for this project is provided by NSERC’s Strategic Network Grants Program, which aims to increase research and training in targeted areas that could strongly enhance Canada’s economy, society and environment within the next ten years.