ORU Engineering Professor Receives $194,146 Grant to Further Groundbreaking Vehicle Safety Research

Advanced technology will be researched with Duke University to reduce car accidents

By David Brown

Oral Roberts University (ORU) has been awarded a National Science Foundation grant to carry out collaborative research with Duke University focused on vehicular ad-hoc networks to improve vehicle safety for the future. This grant provides $194,146 to further the research of Dr. Xiaomin Ma, ORU Associate Professor of Engineering on this vehicle safety project.

Transportation systems are designed to help get people from one destination to the next as safely and efficiently as possible. Unfortunately, many accidents and fatalities occur on the road every day. Nearly 6.2 million police-reported motor vehicle crashes occurred in 2005 in the United States-one every 5 seconds. AAA reports that in 2008 vehicle accidents cost $162.4 billion, which comes to $1,051 per person.

The basic idea of the project is to build sensors to be aware of surrounding cars or road conditions, and to measure the distance between your car and another car, and the relative speed. In an emergency situation, your car sends a signal through wireless communication to warn the other driver of danger or an adverse driving situation. Statistics show that many auto accidents are caused by a one-second reaction delay. With this early warning signal, a driver can brake or steer away when he or she is a mere second away from the danger of a collision.

ORU will partner with Duke University for this research, as the two universities will be working as a team to complete this highly complex project. Dr. Kishor Trivedi, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke will focus on analytic modeling of the network service. ORU's Ma will focus on the investigation and modeling of the network communication environment and leading the research among other aspects.

The proposed research tackles an important problem that has great impact on people's lives and environments. The results of this project will contribute to paving the way for practical vehicular wireless ad hoc networks to be deployed on the road which will greatly improve road safety and urban traffic efficiency. The success of this project will not only improve the traveling experience of millions of people but also contribute tremendously to improving urban environments.