Quality of Traffic Observability on Highways With Lagrangian Sensors

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IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering


Observability is essential to estimate the states of a system from sensor measurements. Observability indicates the sufficiency of the sensors for state estimation. In a highway traffic setting, using global positioning system-enabled smartphones as sensors sets this observability problem in the Lagrangian dynamics framework, in which the moving vehicle that follows the microscopic dynamics of the system senses its own current state. This paper addresses the question of how different numbers of sensor vehicles in the traffic stream affect the observability of the system. This was accomplished by performing spatiotemporal discretization of the traffic hydrodynamics to obtain a system on which the rank observability condition was applied. Then, the observability problem for a generic system was studied in terms of the average penetration of these mobile devices in the traffic stream. Simulation results are provided to support the developments in this paper.


Highway, Lagrangian, observability, quality, sensing, smartphone, spacing, traffic



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