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Life in the ultra-fast lane

Distributed acoustic sensing technology will be used to convert a fibre optic cable into an array of virtual microphones

Research will leverage roadside data captured by Cisco routers, sensors and controllers
Research will leverage roadside data captured by Cisco routers, sensors and controllers

TomTom is developing ultra-fast lane level traffic technology to support autonomous driving and smarter mobility.


Research will be done in cooperation with Cisco to leverage roadside data captured by Cisco’s array of sensors, routers and controllers to create the next generation of traffic information technology. The research combines Cisco’s data with TomTom’s traffic fusion technology and expertise, supported by Cisco’s Internet of Things platform.


An innovative aspect of this cooperation is the use of ‘distributed acoustic sensing’ (DAS) technology, which has the ability to convert a fibre optic cable into an array of virtual microphones that detect and measure vehicle movements.


This data is to be merged with TomTom’s pool of floating car data from over 500 million devices. It will then be displayed and analysed in a TomTom interface specifically designed for the needs of traffic management centres.


“With this project, we are connecting road infrastructure, vehicles, drivers and road authorities, enabling them to exchange information in near real time. That is what the Internet of Things is about," says Edwin Paalvast, president EMEAR at Cisco.


"With TomTom’s expertise, its gigantic pool of traffic data and innovative traffic technology, TomTom is a strong company to work with in this field."


This research and development is expected to reduce latency and increase accuracy of real-time traffic services, while reducing the costs of traffic monitoring infrastructure. As an example, DAS technology promises to be significantly cheaper to set up and maintain than traditional inductive loop sensors.


This project aims to develop better products supporting the demanding requirements of autonomous driving, where cars need to know what lies beyond their sensors, in real time and on each lane.


“We strongly believe that Internet of Things and cloud technologies are essential parts to the future of mobility and we are excited to work with Cisco in moving traffic technology forward”, explains Anders Truelsen, managing director of TomTom’s licensing business.


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