In the world’s megacities, traffic infrastructure often looks like it is collapsing under the weight of exploding population growth. Congested roads, traffic noise, the risk of accidents and general stress are all part of our daily rapid paced urban lives. Intelligent traffic management and efficient public transport systems will be required to ensure the future of mobility in such crowded public areas. Chips for Smart Life mobility solutions from NXP aim to ensure security and convenience in the smart cities of the future.
Despite double-tier multi-lane freeways, multi-hour traffic jams are an everyday scene in Peking or Shanghai. And every week some 10,000 vehicles are newly registered to join the already overcrowded queues. Ironically, the more mobile the population becomes, the more slowly people can expect to get where they want to go. Consequently, metropolitan areas worldwide are searching for sustainable infrastructures and increased mobility concepts. Authorities in many cities in Asia have realized that simply constructing more roads, tunnels or overpasses cannot relieve the daily routine of major traffic congestions. Thus municipalities have started cooperating with companies such as NXP to create systems for efficient traffic management in both private and public transportation.
Vehicles that can see and think
Intelligent automobiles can master today’s traffic problems. Cars that “think” can take a load off the driver by figuratively “taking the wheel” when, for instance, it comes to choosing the right route or driving in an energy-efficient manner. This intelligence is facilitated by networking systems in the car and by extending this network wirelessly to the corresponding infrastructure. NXP’s Automotive Telematics Onboard-unit Platform (ATOP) and IEEE802.11p CarITS platform give vehicles the capability to interact and exchange information with their environment, including car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communications.
Networking solutions of this kind can enable traffic lights and vehicles to “talk” to one another and regulate the flow of traffic. Traffic lights will tell drivers the right speed to drive through the city in order to minimize the number of red lights they must stop at. Obstacles such as construction sites, traffic backups or other danger spots will be reported to drivers so that they can adapt their route. Public transportation buses will receive priority through a traffic management system with telematics and car-to-car communication enabling them to maintain better schedule reliability. Field trials are already in progress worldwide, such as the one that has been taking place in Singapore since 2010.
E-ticketing optimizes public transport schemes
Public local transport agencies in China’s megacities like Beijing, Wuhan, Shanghai and Hong Kong are already utilizing modern chip-based systems as an answer to the daily onrush of commuters. With electronic ticketing, passengers buy their virtual tickets without a long queue by using a transport card or, in the future, by using an NFC-enabled cell phone. These electronic chips are able to securely transmit data to a reader over short distances of a few centimeters – within milliseconds. NXP is the worldwide leader in this market, with a market share of 73% (source: ABI Research). More than 650 cities are leveraging NXP’s solutions based on its MIFARE™ and SmartMX™ technology to improve their public transport systems.
Mobile vision for the future
Currently NXP is working to make mobile ticketing as an application for NFC-enabled smart phones a reality. This is then just a first step towards implementing a new vision in traffic and transportation for smart cities. From a technical point of view, it is already possible for a cell phone to combine in one electronic device the functions of an identity card, driver’s license, credit card and various keys, including home, car or hotel keys, as the Google Wallet (co-developed by NXP) already proves. This makes urban mobility concepts imaginable in which the cell phone, as a densely integrated communication platform, selects the optimum kind of transport. A destination chosen by cell phone navigation can be approached, depending on the traffic situation, by public transport, taxi or car-sharing rental. The cell phone acts as the means of payment for a bus ticket and taxi charge or even opens the door of a shared rental car parked nearby, conveniently authenticating the driver with its credentials safely stored in a trusted secure element provided by NXP.
In such a mobile vision, NXP’s NFC, MIFARE and ATOP technology enables implementing a variety of applications that simplify and improve urban Smart Life mobility. Asian smart cities have a pioneering role to play here. In this smart urban mobility vision, the car is no longer the classical status symbol of the past, but a major part of the convenience for a cities’ resident. Without lengthy planning, the most efficient means of transport can be chosen and paid, guiding the way to a paradigm shift that benefits both residents as well as municipalities of smart cities. And with Trusted Smart Life Solutions from NXP, that paradigm shift can begin today.
Lars Reger, VP Strategy & New Business – Automotive
Steve Owen, VP Sales & Marketing Identification