InternetCAR -Internet Connected Automobiles-

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InternetCAR
-
Internet Connected
Automobiles
-


Keisuke UEHARA (
kei@wide.ad.jp
)

KEIO University

Yasuhito WATANABE (
riho
-
m@wide.ad.jp
)

KEIO University

Hideki SUNAHARA (
suna@wide.ad.jp
)

Nara Institute of Science and Technology

Osamu NAKAMURA (
osamu@wide.ad.jp
)

KEIO University

Jun MURAI (
jun@wide.ad.jp
)

KEIO Univers
ity


Abstract

This paper describes concept, experiments and researches of the
InternetCAR (Researches on Internet Connected Automobile) project
operated by the WIDE Project. The goal of this project is connecting
automobiles to the Internet to provide g
eneral Internet connectivity
amang automobiles and fixed nodes. One of the assumption of the goal of
the system is that all of the (several hundreds million ) automobiles in
the world is connecting to the Internet. An automobile is a mobile object
to provi
de a space for a human being with electric power supply from the
batteries. And the object has various sensor information which can be
valuable, such as thermometer and speedometer values. Thus, when an
automobile becomes an Internet object, a very large n
umber of mobile
sensors.

A hardware to retrieve the sensor information such as
geographic location, velocity, switches status (light, wiper
position, air condition, brake, auto cruse control and so on)
was designed and implemented. The design and implemen
tation
of software and communication structure to support stable
wireless connectivity to the Internet were also achieved. The
prototype system provides the general Internet connectivity
in an automobile, as well as clients on the Internet accessing
inform
ation from automobiles. A sample application is a rain
condition monitoring system by the information retrieved from
wiper positions of the Internet connected automobiles together
with their locations. This paper discusses the communication
architecture, t
he hardware design, and the evaluations of the
prototype systems. The plan for the future experiments also
is described.

Table of Contents



Introduction




Related Works




Purpose of this project and Problems




System O
verview




Reporting activities, Evaluation and Consideration




Future Plan




Conclusion




References


Introduction

Automobiles are globally distributed objects that are providing mobile
and ubiquitous environment fo
r human activities. The conventional
technologies have been providing information toward people in a car via
signboards, radio system, mobile phones and more sophisticated
technologies relating to the automobile communication. The Internet
technologies can

integrate these systems into a general digital
communication infrastructure.

Once we assume that the automobiles are Internet accessible,
the sensor functions of an automobile can construct a valuable
information structure on the Internet. Automobiles on

the
Internet are not only for people accessing information on the
Internet, but also for people on the Internet to monitor
automobile itself, various environmental information
generated from the sensors on the automobile. For example, when
wiper position
of automobiles are monitored, then rain
condition in a certain area can be detected.

The InternetCAR project was started in July 1997. The purposes
of the project is to connect automobiles to the Internet with
transparent manner, regardless of their mobil
ity and the
wireless connectivity, then achieving the new information
structure using the sensor information of the automobiles.
Current members of the projects are from automobile industries,
wireless communication industries and computer industries,
such

as Isuzu Advanced Engineering Center, LTD., Honda R&D CO.,
LTD., NTT Mobile Communications Network Inc., Nippon Telegraph
and Telephone Corp. Wireless Lab. and NTT Central Personal
Communications Network Inc.. This project is divided into
three phases. Ph
ase 1 was started in July 1997 and ended in
September 1997 with a modified automobile by HONDA which has
extra dynamo to supply electric power and car navigation
information. Phase 2 is started in October 1997 and will end
in March 1998. In this phase, abo
ut 20 normal automobiles are
used for the experiment. Each automobile loads a computer, a
data collection box, a GPS receiver and a cellular phone to
achieve the system which is described in section "Hardware".
In April 1998, phase 3 is planned to start, b
y re
-
designing
the hardware based on the result of the phase 2, focusing on
design toward mass productions.

Automobiles have a battery. It is a important matter to use
electric equipments. A battery of automobile usually has
sufficient capacity to operate

InternetCAR's equipments. An
InternetCAR has following equipments: a computer, a data
collection box, a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver and
a communication device. The role of each equipment is discussed
in the section "
Hardware
".


Figure 1: A data collection box and a GPS receiver

The rest of this paper is used as following: first,
we explain
the difference of the aim between related works and this
project. More details, such as problems, are introduced in next
section. Thus, system overview is showed. The system
prototypes are tested. After that, a future plan of this
project is des
cribed. The last section concludes this paper.

Related Works

Recently, there is several related works. Development and experiment of
several type of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) are started in several
activities.

ITS are designed for providing dy
namic information to navigate
automobiles such as traffic jam information, map update
information and etc. ITS related system today are retrieving
information from the information center. For example, with
traffic jam information, navigation systems can sh
ow a optimal
route to the driver. However, they are only used for send the
information to the automobile.

Some of the car navigation systems have capability to access
web sites via a cellular phone. Since connection between
automobiles and the Internet is

restricted (ex. slow and
unstable), these web sites are specially designed for car
navigation systems. Data on these web sites are designed as
light weight and concentrated for the navigation related
information [
1
]. For example, the web sites for this system
contain sightseeing information. A driver and passengers on
the automobile find the recommended restaurant from this
information. This system is also designed for the single
direc
tional information retrieval.

In order to provide the bi
-
directional nature of the Internet
in an automobile, stable connectivities between an automobile
and the Internet have to be achieved. Then, the information
model on the global Internet considering
the automobile
functions have to be designed. Unlike the all the efforts to
benefit drivers and automobile traffic system, the InternetCAR
is trying to achieve the future general information
infrastructure on the Internet with the explicit consideration
of

automobiles, the most typical mobile digital environment.

Purpose of this project and Problems

This section describes the goal of this project and problems to provide the
goal. There are some problems to connect automobiles to the Internet
with current
technologies. Some of the problems are caused by particular
communication devices. Wireless communication devices are not familiar
to the Internet systems. Other problems are owing to usage of
automobiles. Current Internet architecture isn't designed for s
uch a
special environment.

Applications

All current related works are aiming to use automobiles as a client host.
The works can be categorized into two types: information retrieving and
emergency call. There are no idea to provide informations from
autom
obiles except a geographical location information. The location
information is used to point at automobiles in emergency call
applications and navigation systems.

This project provide a system to use automobiles as problems
not only to use it as client ho
sts. At this point, it is
important that how to express automobiles in the Internet. We
have to consider identifier of automobiles and communication
systems.

This project is planning to develop applications to use
automobiles as probes in addition to appl
ications of current
related works. These applications are familiar to the Internet
because of a spirit of cooperation. To develop these
applications, we have to design the system of information
infrastructure.

An actual example of the applications is rain

information. When
a wiper of an automobile are working, it may be raining. Another
application is traffic information. If an automobile runs
slowly, there may be traffic jam, car accident or something.
Anyway it is good idea to avoid the way.

Wireless Co
mmunications

To connect automobiles to the Internet, wireless communication devices
are indispensable. There are many wireless digital communication
infrastructures such as cellular phone, PHS, wireless LAN and so on.
These wireless communication devices
are currently used to connect to
the Internet. Wireless LAN devices are designed for LAN environments,
needless to say. Cellular phone systems are recently shifting to digital
systems to be familiar multimedia communications. In fact, digital
cellular phon
e systems and PHS systems can carry various data includes
IP datagrams by Point
-
to
-
Point Protocol (PPP).

However, it is difficult to efficiently use wireless
communication devices in the Internet environment. Current
wireless communication devices have er
ror collection
mechanisms because wireless communication link is unstable in
general. In this situation, instability is appeared as
unsettled delays. On the other hand, Transmission Control
Protocol (TCP) uses expansion of the delay as a warning of
congest
ion.

View of automobiles

In related works introduced in section "
Related works
", automobiles are
operated as a client host. It connects to the Internet and browses
informations using a

HTTP client. Therefore automobiles don't need
identifiers. Allocating a temporary IP address is sufficient to archive this
purpose.

However, specific identifier is necessary to develop the
applications introduced in the top of this section. To make
a tra
ffic information, an automobile must be traced by other
hosts. Any identifier can be used if it can identify the
specific automobile.

Automobiles are not always connect to the Internet. When an
automobile is parked, it can't provide power to InternetCAR
e
quipments. If it is necessary to access to automobiles any
time, a proxy is required on fixed networks. Another solution
is that the application is designed as it doesn't require
continuous access.

System Overview

We developed a prototype of the Internet
CAR. This section introduce the
system overview. Figure 2 shows an overview of the system.


Figure 2: A data collection box and a GPS receiver

Hardware

An Int
ernetCAR has been added five major devices: a computer, a GPS
receiver, a data collection box, a wireless LAN device and a cellular
phone. An computer is used as a router and a probing agent. An UNIX
operating system (BSDI's BSD/OS 3.0) is installed to the

computer. It
retrieves sensor data via a data collection box. The box has 26 channels
of analog input, 8 channels of digital input and 2 channels of pulse input.
Input terminals are connected each sensors or switches. Currently,
following data can be prob
ed: head lights status, positioning lights status,
wiper position, speed pulse. The computer and the box are connected by
an RS
-
232c interface. The data collection box has one more RS
-
232c
interface for a GPS receiver. A cellular phone is connected to the
computer using a modem PC card. The cellular phone have a 28.8K bps
pipe.

Communication Systems

In this project, some special communication mechanisms are installed to
the system. These mechanisms provide stable data transmission.

Mobile
-
IP[
2
] is used to provide access transparency to a host
in an automobile. In this system, IP address is dynamically
allocated by IPCP of PPP or DHCP. Therefore, IP address will
be changed every migrat
ion. When a correspondent host try to
send a data to a mobile host in an automobile, it have to know
a new address of the mobile host anyhow. To solve this problem,
Mobile
-
IP is introduced to the system.

On the other hand, we developed Light Weight Protoc
ol (LWP)[
3
]
architecture for a low throughput and long delay link. This
protocol is designed as an integration of interface, IP and
TCP layer protocols. LWP architecture can be separat
ed into
two functions. LWP is a protocol which is designed to reduce
its overhead. TCP/IP have a large header to use in the low
throughput link environment. Some field of the TCP/IP header
are omitted as header compression mechanism of PPP. Another
functio
n is intercepting TCP connection. A mobile host and a
correspondent host is usually connected by TCP. In LWP
architecture, a intermediate route, which is located between
wired network and wireless network, intercept the TCP
connection and relay using LWP.
Figure 3 shows overview of this
mechanisms.


Figure 3: Overview of Light Weight Protocol

Mobile
-
IP and LWP are selectable.

Addition, InternetCAR system has an

automatic file transfer
mechanisms. An user can schedule to retrieve from and up load
data to a fixed host as UUCP over TCP. Difference between this
mechanism and UUCP is adaptation to unstable connection. This
mechanism watch on network interfaces of a m
obile host. When
the specified interface is set up, the mechanisms starts file
transfer by user preference.

Middleware

Some middleware systems are introduced to provide a mobile computing
systems.

Dynamic DNS is used with LWP. LWP is not familiar to mob
ile
protocols such as Mobile
-
IP or VIP. Therefore, when a mobile
host use LWP, a binding a hostname to IP address must be changed.
Dynamic DNS can support this mechanism. When a mobile host is
connected by LWP, the mobile host register configured IP
addres
s by DNS UPDATE message[
4
] of Dynamic DNS.

Service Location Protocol[
5
] is installed to look up nearest
servers
. In some application services or middleware services,
any server can provide same service. DNS is typical of these
services.

Remote resource access is important because of limited
resources on a mobile computers. InternetCAR system has a
distributed file

system called a Personal File System (PFS)[
6
].
PFS provides capability of a disconnected operation and an
asynchronous operation. PFS has three mode of operation: NFS
mode, low bandwi
dth mode and disconnected mode. In InternetCAR
environment, NFS mode is used in a garage with a wireless LAN
device and low bandwidth mode is used with a cellular phone.

An InternetCAR moves around geographically, needless to say.
It means if an InternetC
AR can be trace its location, users
on the Internet can know where is his/her friend. Also, other
various can be supported. In this system, Geographical
Location Information (GLI)[
7
] s
ystem is introduced for the
purpose. GLI system is a kind of distributed database system.
It is constructed by GLI home server, GLI area server, GLI agent
and GLI client. Each GLI agent belong to a GLI server. GLI
client look up a location of a GLI agent b
y requesting to the
GLI home server. The home server forward to GIL area server
and it reply to the client. A GLI agent periodically register
to a GLI area server.

Applications

InternetCAR Project is aiming to construct global infrastructure of
informati
on exchange. This system can provide informations retrieved
from an automobile. Applications process the information and visualize
fro users.

For example, rain map can be provide by this system. An client
gather informations about a location and wiper sta
tus of
automobiles and map it. As another application for example is
traffic congestion map. Using information about location and
speed of automobiles, users can know which streets are
congested.

Figure 4 shows a screen dump of an example of InternetCAR
a
pplications. This application maps the location of a bus with
number of passengers.


Figure 4: An example of InternetCAR applications

Reporting activities, Ev
aluation and
Consideration

In November 1997, five InternetCARs became available. One of them
was a modified automobile. A dynamo and a DC
-
AC inverter were added
to supply electric power to a computer and so on. This automobile carries
a 19 inch rack to in
stall computers and other equipment. The other
automobiles were normal automobiles. Each automobile carries a laptop
computer which is supplied by an original dynamo. In January 1998, two
more InternetCARs were installed in addition.





Figure 5: A modified automobile





Figure 6: four normal type InternetCARs

Primary experiments were held to test the developed systems
in November 1997. A GLI system, PFS and other communication
systems were tested. Furthermore, a wireless LAN device was
added in the test
ing. Also a garage with wireless LAN was
prepared. Each automobile started out from the garage, ran
around our campus and return to the garage. This testing shows
us several problems and almost successful. Table 1 shows
necessary times for the change over
of interfaces. As can be
seen, it takes a little long to use for interactive
applications.

Table 1: times of interface switching

devices

sensing disconnection

new address allocation

amount

wireless LAN
-
> PDC

14.2 sec

9.60 sec

25.3 sec

PDC
-
> w
ireless LAN

-


7.27 sec

8.14 sec

After the testing, we had changed the GLI system. The problem
of the GLI system lise in the structure of the server. It was
designed as a central system. To support large number of
automobiles, it is changed to a distri
buted system as described
in the section "
System Overview
".

The current system contains many problems. For example, we have
to type "shutdown
-
h now" to turn off the system. If a us
er
forgets that operation, a file system will be crashed. Also
there are problems of developed softwares and the architecture.
We used IP addresses to specify an automobiles. However, IP
address space is too small to specify all automobiles in the
world. I
Pv6 is looked to solve to the problem. Because it is
hard to remember an IP address in a IPv6 environment, we are
introducing a new identifier to specify an object in the real
world.

Future Plan

Phase 2 of this project will be finished in March 1998. In
Phase 2, we test
software systems in the small infrastructure. Several software have
already been modified to solve problems. We have to prepare GLI servers
for ordinary testing. The report of phase 2 will be available in the spring
of 1998.

Phase 3 will
start in April 1998. About a hundred automobiles
will join in the testing. In this phase, some sample
application will be developed to show usability. Furthermore,
embedded systems will be designed. It will be discussed which
information is necessary. We h
ave a plan to develop a PC based
system to install in a car. Whichi will be includes a PC, a
data collection board and GPS. Also a cellular phone can be
connect to the box. Estimation of costs, which includes
production costs and communication costs, is an

important task
of this phase.

Furthermore, computers for automobiles will be available soon.
Microsoft Corp. has announced Auto PC[
8
]. Lucent Technology
Inc. has released the Inferno opera
ting system. It is designed
for a kind of PDA. These products can be used for our purpose.
UNIX has some problems. For example its file system will be
crashed when a computer turned off without shutdown. It require
a large size storage system and a memory.

So we planed to
introduce the Inferno system. Also, some communication modules,
i.e. LWP, will be developed on the Inferno system.

Conclusion

A seamless and transparent Internet access to sensor functions on
automobiles as well as the Internet access fr
om an automobile has been
achieved. The system was developed by the integration of a new design of
architecture for automobiles on the Internet and special mechanisms
such as dynamic device switching, GLI and hardware design, as well as
with existing mobil
e Internet technologies. As a result, robust Internet
connectivity in an automobile using a rapid switching mechanism was
achieved, sensor information in an automobile became available on the
Internet, and a standard way to provide location information of
an
automobile was provided.

This paper described the design and result of phase 2 of the
project. And phase 3 will start in April 1998. More than a
hundred automobiles will join in the testing. The focus of the
phase is application prototype and larger sc
ale testbeds. The
hardware and the computer would be integrated for the use as
a commercial product. Investigation on the feasibility on the
real society and market also are included in task of this phase.
In the year 2000, the number of automobiles in the

world is
expected to be 737 million. The InternetCAR system prototype
achieves 1) the Internet
-
available space in an automobile, 2)
new mobile sensor information on a possible large scale of
numbers throughout the world, and 3) a general prototype of
mobi
le and non
-
computer nodes in the Internet.

References

1.

Sony Corp., Information Navi System,
http://www.sony.co.jp/ProductsPark/Consumer/CAR
-
AV/InfoNavi/
navi.html
, (in Ja
panese)

2.

C. Perkins, IP Mobility Support, RFC2002, (1996)

3.

K.Uehara, A.Nishimura, J.Murai, LWPA: Internet architecture
for Wide area wireless communication media, Proceedings of
Internet Conference 97 (1997) (in Japanese)

4.

P. Vixie, Ed., S. Thomson, Y. Rek
hter, J. Bound, Dynamic Updates
in the Domain Name System (DNS UPDATE), RFC2136, (1997)

5.

J. Veizades, E. Guttman, C. Perkins, S. Kaplan, Service Location
Protocol, RFC2165, (1997)

6.

T.Tateoka, K.Uehara, H.Sunahara, F.Teraoka, PFS: A
Dynamically Adaptive Fil
e System for Networking Environments,
Proceedings of the Internet Conference '96 (1996) pp.81
-
pp.88 (in
Japanese)

7.

Y.Watanabe, A.Shionozaki, F.Teraoka, J.Murai, The Design and
Implementation of the Geographical Location Information
System, Proceedings of I
NET'96 (1996)

8.

Microsoft, Develop for the Auto PC Powered by Windows CE,
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsce/developer/autopc.htm