Many times we find ourselves stuck in traffic jams; frustrated, losing time, and wasting productivity. It is a problem that we all wish could be solved. Perhaps a robot able to replace the road barriers so that they can be adjustable on both sides of the road to control its capacity, could be a solution – but how would it be able to charge and be sustainable?

 

Our smart, efficient and green robot, the Smart Highway Robot, takes all of the previously mentioned factors into account. It can change the number of lanes to increase the capacity of one side of the road. This addresses rush hour, where one side becomes extremely crowded while the other has barely any traffic. The Smart Highway Robot will turn the barrier blocks in the middle of the road to independent robotic smart blocks that would be able to move precisely when needed. Powered by the solar energy it harvests, the Smart Highway Robot can be commanded by the traffic control centre remotely, even in secluded areas using wireless signals. For instance, as one side of the road becomes congested and the other is somewhat empty, the traffic control centre would send a signal to the Smart Highway Robot on an Internet of Things network to initiate the lane change.

Firstly, the master block will change the number of lanes to increase it on one side of the road, decreasing from the other. Then, the follower blocks will imitate the motion as broadcasted to them by the master block. When the process of changing lanes is complete, the last barrier block sends a confirmation signal to the control centre to indicate success. Even during the process of lane changing, the Smart Highway Robot keeps broadcasting data and status regarding the operation, for real-time updates to the control centre. This process is monitored for the driver’s safety on the side of the road where lanes are getting decrease since such a change of lanes is initiated by the traffic control centre.

Furthermore, the robot is capable of moving in all directions as enabled by its omnidirectional wheels for exact positioning matching the curvature of the roads and highways. Alignment of the robots is achieved with our developed algorithm that utilises fusion of the sensor data collected by the robot.

 

In addition to controlling the traffic jams, Smart Highway Robots will help reduce accidents resulting from reckless and frustrated drivers that are stuck in traffic. Moreover, such a solution would allow us to reclaim hours of time and productivity lost in commuting due to traffic jams.