Proactive Discovery and Management of Ride-Sharing Opportunities in Smart Vehicular Ad-Hoc Networks
Ride-sharing promotes a way to better use empty seats in vehicles, thus saving expenses and reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. Most of current ride-sharing portals over the Internet suffer from significant practical limitations. First, the users must explicitly enter information about origin, destination, route, time and date when searching for riders who fulfill their mobility needs. Second, the users can feel distrust due to the lack of secure mechanisms for the mutual identification of riders to each other. In this paper, we explore new opportunities of ride-sharing to proactively discover the most frequent trips of each user and automatically selecting trip mates for each itinerary. Actually, we exploit the large number of people who gather together in heavily trafficked zones at certain times to deploy a smart Vehicular Ad-Hoc Network (VANET) over their handheld devices. The smart VANET exchanges among the vehicles the information necessary for (i) matching the users' itineraries and particular preferences, and (ii) identifying like-minded riders for common routes. Besides, our approach enables new ways of safely organizing mobility services, by exploiting public-key cryptography and geolocation of handheld terminals. The approach has been validated by a VANET simulator and a prototype that was used by 46 users.