UVic Researcher is Making Self-Driving Cars a Safe Reality

UVic researcher in wireless communications sees the future.


The current system of wireless networking isn’t adequate for stand-alone, autonomous vehicles. Recent U.S. fatalities involving self-driving vehicles highlight the need for a more reliable, intelligent transportation system that can instantaneously transmit accurate information to avoid accidents, reduce congestion, improve fuel efficiency and more. 


That could all change if Lin Cai has her way. The UVic professor of electrical and computer engineering is developing a solution to the complex challenges of autonomous transportation. The 2019 E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship recipient is working to create a safe, seamless wireless network that connects vehicles, roadside infrastructure, pedestrians and “the cloud,” which will transmit and sort all of that information for transportation systems of the future.

From wearable devices to home appliances, the Internet-of Things has seen huge growth. As it expands into the transportation sector, Cai is working to make sure we merge smoothly onto the roads of the future. These massive vehicle-to-everything (V2X) networks must be capable of instantly transmitting speed, location, destination and driving conditions for every vehicle on the road, at any given time.

“Similar to the way smart phones changed our daily lives since the first iPhone was released in 2007,” says Cai, “V2X is the next disruptive invention that will shake up many sectors of the economy and increase the global competitiveness of all industrialized countries.”

This article is from the June/July 2019 issue of Douglas.