A Low-Cost Wireless System for Autonomous Generation of Road Safety Alerts


This paper describes an autonomous wireless system that generates road safety alerts, in the form of SMS and email messages, and sends them to motorists subscribed to the service. Drivers who regularly traverse a particular route are the main beneficiaries of the proposed system, which is intended for sparsely populated rural areas, where information available to drivers about road safety, especially bridge conditions, is very limited. At the heart of this system is the SmartBrick, a wireless system for remote structural health monitoring that has been presented in our previous work. Sensors on the SmartBrick network regularly collect data on water level, temperature, strain, and other parameters important to safety of a bridge. This information is stored on the device, and reported to a remote server over the GSM cellular infrastructure. The system generates alerts indicating hazardous road conditions when the data exceeds thresholds that can be remotely changed. The remote server and any number of designated authorities can be notified by email, FTP, and SMS. Drivers can view road conditions and subscribe to SMS and/or email alerts through a web page. The subscription-only form of alert generation has been deliberately selected to mitigate privacy concerns. The proposed system can significantly increase the safety of travel through rural areas. Real-time availability of information to transportation authorities and law enforcement officials facilitates early or proactive reaction to road hazards. Direct notification of drivers further increases the utility of the system in increasing the safety of the traveling public.

Meeting Name

Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems (2009: Mar. 9-12, San Diego, CA)


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Alert Generation; Low Power Consumption; Remote Monitoring; Road Safety; Structural Health; Wireless Sensor; Accident Prevention; Automobile Drivers; Bridges; Concrete Bridges; Electric Power Supplies To Apparatus; Electronic Mail; Health; Remote Control; Roads And Streets; Rural Areas; Sensor Networks; Structural Health Monitoring; Water Levels; Transportation; Wireless Sensor Network

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Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

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© 2009 SPIE, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Mar 2009