Zircon Works With End Users to Produce HMI for Integration into Newcastle GLOSA System

Operating Systems: Andriod 5 (Lollipop)
Languages: Java, JSON
Configuration Management: Git
Software Development Tools: Android Studio
Hardware: LG Smartphone
Newcastle City Council had been a part of an EU funded project to develop and deploy a Cooperative Intelligent Transport System (C-ITS). Following the conclusion of the project in December 2015, our client received additional funding to further extend the capabilities of the system.

The aim of the feasibility study was to demonstrate how Carbon Dioxide emissions produced by public transport vehicles (e.g. buses) could be lowered by allowing drivers to know the status of traffic signals in advance. The system was to be comprised of roadside units that control the traffic light system and On Board Units (OBU’s) that communicate with the roadside units as the vehicle passes by.

Part of the study required a number of vehicles to be equipped with Android based devices to act as a Human Machine Interface (HMI) between the driver and the OBU’s, to allow the messages regarding the status of traffic lights and road hazard warnings to be displayed visually and audibly in real-time.

Initially Zircon were given the responsibility of developing the HMI as an Android application capable of displaying information on either a tablet or mobile phone. In order to ensure that the presentation of the application would align with user expectations, Zircon undertook a series of workshops to get advice from the bus drivers on which of the HMI prototypes would be suitable. The outcome of these workshops was to keep the HMI as simple as possible, to reduce the risk of driver distraction.

The application provides a map of the local area that displays hazard events. Overlaid on this are images that will display messages regarding the status of traffic signals so that the drivers will be able to anticipate the state of the junction when they arrive there. The application is capable of informing the user either, what speed to approach the junction or other information, such as the length of time left until a light will change from red.

Whilst working on the HMI project, Zircon discovered that the client was experiencing difficulties with sourcing a supplier of the On Board Units that was capable of fulfilling their requirements. As we had an in depth understanding of the project and our client’s requirements, Zircon offered to source suitable off-the-shelf OBU hardware and provide the required additional functionality.

Working alongside the OBU supplier, Zircon made updates to the hardware’s client software so as to enable the provision of real-time GPS data for use by the HMI. In addition to this, Zircon made a number of enhancements to the OBU’s so that they would be capable of logging data remotely and enable the ability to update the software installed.

As a result of Zircon’s assistance our client not only had a product that was able to fulfil their needs, but also the peace of mind that there was a solution to a very troublesome problem.

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