Clear Roads Plug-n-Play Initiative
Posted on 03.28.14

Delcan Technologies recently submitted their recommendations for the draft of the Clear Roads Universal In-Cab Communications Protocol. The public comment period is open until February 28, 2014. The final standard is targeted for completion in 2015.

Clear Roads is a pooled fund research project that provides ongoing research about winter maintenance materials, equipment, and methods for use by highway maintenance crews. One of the current Clear Roads projects is the Plug-n-Play Initiative, which will provide standard communication protocols between winter maintenance electronic devices. Different vendors manufacture sensors and other electronic devices with their own proprietary communication protocols and data formats. That means that a spreader controller by one vendor may not communicate with an AVL by another vendor.

Currently, AVL vendors have been adapting their technology to communicate with the spreader controllers. However, that requires custom firmware updates for each product provided by a different vendor. The burden on AVL vendors, along with constant increase of data complexity, makes the current model unsustainable.

Clear Roads developed a universal, bi-directional protocol to work with spreaders, AVL devices, and other winter maintenance electronic equipment. The Clear Roads Universal In-Cab Communications Protocol provides a Data Parameter Library (DPL) to standardize the protocol, data format, Baud rate, and sensor negotiation. The standard is designed as a living document, and new data parameters can be added as technology changes.