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Archive for February 25th, 2009

CALTRANS and California Highway Patrol Utilize Proxim Wireless and ICx Technologies for Life-Saving “Fog Pilot” Project



CALTRANS and California Highway Patrol Utilize Proxim Wireless and ICx Technologies for Life-Saving “Fog Pilot” Project


Integrated Weather Detection and Traffic Safety System to Reduce Deadly Accidents Caused by Fog and Extreme Weather


Proxim Wireless Corporation (NASDAQ: PRXM), a leading provider of end-to-end broadband wireless systems that deliver the quadruple play, today announced that the California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS) and California Highway Patrol (CHP) are utilizing technology from Proxim Wireless and ICx Technologies (NASDAQ: ICXT) for an innovative system designed to reduce the frequency and severity of car crashes caused by fog and extreme weather. The “Fog Pilot” project is a comprehensive fog and reduced-speed warning system that will help protect motorists along a 12-mile stretch of freeway along State Route (SR) 99 in California’s Central Valley. This particular stretch of freeway is notorious for dangerous fog conditions, and was the site of a deadly 86-car collision in November of 2007.


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 “The combination of harsh fog conditions and irresponsible driving often result in deadly multi-vehicle accidents along this stretch of road,” said Central Division CHP Chief Jim Abrames. “This system will play a key role in identifying and alerting drivers to dangerous conditions, empowering them with the information necessary to take precaution and, ultimately, to save lives.”


As fog conditions increase in severity, traffic speeds tend to decrease rapidly. When you combine the rapid decrease in traffic speeds with decreased visibility, it makes it easy for faster traffic coming into heavy fog zones to collide with the slower traffic that they cannot see. The Fog Pilot system keeps drivers updated on upcoming speeds and visibility conditions in advance, so that drivers can slow down and adjust their driving as necessary.


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The Fog Pilot system, which was completed at the end of the year and is now operational, integrates multiple technologies including weather detection stations, microwave vehicle/motion detectors, visibility sensors, closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras and changeable message signs. All of these components communicate and are connected wirelessly via Proxim’s Tsunami™ MP.11 5054 base stations and 5012 subscriber units, which utilize high performance, license-free WiMAX technology to wirelessly transmit the large amount of data generated by the multiple components.  All of this data and all of the components in the system are centrally managed and controlled by ICx’s Cameleon ITS Transportation Management Software, which ties everything together into one integrated system. ICx worked closely with Moonblink Communications, a value added distributor focused on wireless technologies, to identify the technologies that would best serve this project.


A total of 21 weather sensors, traffic sensors placed every quarter mile, and a series of CCTV cameras all detect and gather a great deal of information including the severity of the fog, driver visibility, amount of traffic, traffic speeds and more. All of this information is then fed back to the Cameleon software via Proxim’s wireless radios, which are centrally managed via Proxim’s network management system, ProximVision ES. The Cameleon software then utilizes the data to create the warnings and updates that are communicated to drivers via the large changeable message signs, which are placed every half mile.


The key to driver safety, however, is how fast these alerts can be delivered to drivers. The Fog Pilot system uses advanced automation technology that can process and deliver the weather warnings automatically to drivers. The high performance and low latency of Proxim’s wireless technology enables these automated alerts to be processed and delivered to drivers in under 30 seconds.


“We have complete confidence that this system will both reduce accidents and save lives during the winter fog season,” said CALTRANS District 6 Director, Malcolm X. Dougherty. “Our $12 million investment in this system will be well worth it if it can help save even one life.”

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Related Topics: WiMax, Wireless, Broadband |

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