Timely information about highway traffic conditions is very important for the Department of Transportation (DOT) and other relevant agencies. Such live information would be very important when traffic incidents or accidents occur. An aerial view is the best for traffic situations, particularly over highways. Unmanned aircraft equipped with monitoring video cameras and/or other sensors may be able to deliver the necessary information through video images with relatively low operational costs and risks to human life. ATSS (Airborne Traffic Surveillance System), a project funded by the Florida Department of Transportation, attempts to make this vision a reality. This paper describes how the University of Florida research team implemented a system for ATSS from ground up, using unmanned aerial vehicles, digital video encoding, and transmission of data and multimedia video streams over FDOT’s microwave IP networks.
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