Articles | Volume 5, issue 2
Research article
13 Oct 2016
Research article |  | 13 Oct 2016

Vehicular-networking- and road-weather-related research in Sodankylä

Timo Sukuvaara, Kari Mäenpää, and Riika Ylitalo

Abstract. Vehicular-networking- and especially safety-related wireless vehicular services have been under intensive research for almost a decade now. Only in recent years has road weather information also been acknowledged to play an important role when aiming to reduce traffic accidents and fatalities via intelligent transport systems (ITSs). Part of the progress can be seen as a result of the Finnish Meteorological Institute's (FMI) long-term research work in Sodankylä within the topic, originally started in 2006.

Within multiple research projects, the FMI Arctic Research Centre has been developing wireless vehicular networking and road weather services, in co-operation with the FMI meteorological services team in Helsinki. At the beginning the wireless communication was conducted with traditional Wi-Fi type local area networking, but during the development the system has evolved into a hybrid communication system of a combined vehicular ad hoc networking (VANET) system with special IEEE 802.11p protocol and supporting cellular networking based on a commercial 3G network, not forgetting support for Wi-Fi-based devices also. For piloting purposes and further research, we have established a special combined road weather station (RWS) and roadside unit (RSU), to interact with vehicles as a service hotspot. In the RWS–RSU we have chosen to build support to all major approaches, IEEE 802.11, traditional Wi-Fi and cellular 3G. We employ road weather systems of FMI, along with RWS and vehicle data gathered from vehicles, in the up-to-date localized weather data delivered in real time. IEEE 802.11p vehicular networking is supported with Wi-Fi and 3G communications.

This paper briefly introduces the research work related to vehicular networking and road weather services conducted in Sodankylä, as well as the research project involved in this work. The current status of instrumentation, available services and capabilities are presented in order to formulate a clear general view of the research field.

Short summary
FMI's combined road weather station (RWS) and roadside unit (RSU) in Sodankylä is a unique research platform combining very advanced road weather measurements with a versatile collection of the most common wireless communication methodologies used in a vehicular environment. Together with harsh Arctic road weather conditions it represents an incomparable development environment and pilot RWS station within the field of intelligent transport systems and vehicular networking.