Maintaining Device Anonymity While Disseminating Information
in a 3-Dimensional Plane, 10-R9661

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Principal Investigators
Steve Sprouffske
Mike Koets

Associate Investigators
Purser Sturgeon
Michael Lillywhite
Kirti Patel

Inclusive Dates:  10/01/06 01/01/08

Background - An overriding concern in the development of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Vehicle Infrastructure Integration (VII) initiative is privacy. Privacy pertains not only to the vehicle information reported to the infrastructure, but also the identity of the individual driving the vehicle. Information is easily obtainable from the vehicle that would readily identify it to the user of the data. Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and VII on-board vehicle component address information are merely two major items of interest.

Implementation of dynamic information dissemination throughout an infrastructure provides numerous operational scenarios that are relevant to clients and the technology focuses of SwRI. Information dissemination can easily be applied to not only traffic management purposes but also military convoys for dynamic logistics and targeting, vehicle remote control, and nautical operations. Anonymity of this information protects not only the common citizen operator but also the well-being of the war fighter. A problem with current infrastructure designs is in the way the transmitting unit broadcasts information across the infrastructure. All vehicles in the receiving coverage area receive the broadcast transmission. Situations occur in complex military scenarios and roadway interchanges that require segmented destination messaging. A by-product of vehicle anonymity throughout the infrastructure is the difficulty of dynamically disseminating information based on location, relevance, or importance criteria..

Approach - The project investigated the complexity, feasibility, and solutions for managing information dissemination to devices in three-dimensional (3-D) scenarios while maintaining device anonymity. To accomplish this, bi-directional communications were required to identify the location of devices in the 3-D plane and disseminate information to the device. 3-D modeling was performed to provide a visual representation of the 3-D zone areas. Simulators injected generated device flow through the zone and device communications into a decision-making system. A representative broadcast communications-based vehicle system was developed as a prototype. This allowed both simulated and real-time data fusion. As a test case, the decision-making system provided in-vehicle communications based on current traffic flow conditions, defined traffic law, and event-driven conditions such as incident, work zone, or school zone conditions.

Accomplishments - The project investigators have modeled and developed a Doppler analysis of a complex 3-D infrastructure found in the San Antonio area. The modeling depicts vehicle communications based on location segmentation or sub-zones within a broadcast transmission coverage zone. In conjunction with this effort, project investigators have developed algorithms to segment the communications zone into sub-zones based on information relevant to each particular sub-zone, to anonymously geolocate devices in a particular sub-zone, and to identify particular devices for direct messaging based on geolocation. A prototype was developed to prove the modeling theories using a system consisting of a Palm Treo, an iPAQ Personal Data Assistant (PDA), and Bluetooth GPS as the vehicle-based device. Communications were transmitted via a representative broadcast technology between the vehicle-based device and a communications infrastructure. Data received from and sent to the vehicle is displayed and enacted from a roadside infrastructure management system representative of typical traffic management systems.

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