(19)
(11)EP 3 226 647 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
26.06.2019 Bulletin 2019/26

(21)Application number: 17163600.4

(22)Date of filing:  29.03.2017
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
H04W 84/18(2009.01)
H04W 88/04(2009.01)
H04B 1/3822(2015.01)
H04L 12/757(2013.01)
H04W 76/14(2018.01)
G08G 1/01(2006.01)
H04W 84/12(2009.01)
H04W 40/02(2009.01)
H04L 29/08(2006.01)
H04W 40/20(2009.01)
H04W 4/80(2018.01)
H04W 4/00(2018.01)
H04W 84/00(2009.01)

(54)

WIRELESS COMMUNICATION APPARATUS AND WIRELESS COMMUNICATION METHOD

DRAHTLOSKOMMUNIKATIONSVORRICHTUNG UND DRAHTLOSKOMMUNIKATIONSVERFAHREN

APPAREIL ET PROCÉDÉ DE COMMUNICATION SANS FIL


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 30.03.2016 JP 2016069310

(43)Date of publication of application:
04.10.2017 Bulletin 2017/40

(73)Proprietor: TOYOTA JIDOSHA KABUSHIKI KAISHA
Toyota-shi, Aichi 471-8571 (JP)

(72)Inventors:
  • ONISHI, Ryokichi
    Tokyo 107-0052 (JP)
  • SASAHARA, Masaaki
    Tokyo 107-0052 (JP)

(74)Representative: TBK 
Bavariaring 4-6
80336 München
80336 München (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
WO-A2-2016/056166
US-A1- 2007 115 868
  
  • BRAD KARP ET AL: "GPSR", PROCEEDINGS OF THE SIXTH ANNUAL ACM/IEEE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON MOBILE COMPUTING AND NETWORKING : AUGUST 6 - 11, 2000, BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, NEW YORK, NY : ASSOC. FOR COMPUTER MACHINERY, 2 PENN PLAZA, SUITE 701 NEW YORK NY 10121-0701 USA, 1 August 2000 (2000-08-01), pages 243-254, XP058322047, DOI: 10.1145/345910.345953 ISBN: 978-1-58113-197-0
  
Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


Description

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION


Field of the Invention



[0001] The present invention relates to a wireless communication apparatus and a wireless communication method.

Description of the Related Art



[0002] Recently, the collection and use of data from traveling vehicles are being studied. For example, by collecting current positions and speed information from a plurality of vehicles, traffic congestion information can be generated in real time. In addition, smoother traffic can be facilitated by analyzing, from various angles, the data collected from the vehicles.

[0003] Inter-vehicle communication can be used to collect data from vehicles. For example, vehicles transfer data to each other using a relatively inexpensive communication apparatus such as a wireless LAN, and a vehicle capable of connecting to a wide area network such as the Internet uploads the pieces of data on behalf of the other vehicles.

[0004] Forming such a network not only enables data generated by each vehicle to be transmitted to the wide area network but also enables information transmitted from the wide area network to be shared among a plurality of vehicles (JP 2014 096 630 A).

[0005] According to the system described in JP 2014 096 630 A, data collected by each vehicle can be communicated to an access point by having communication apparatuses respectively mounted on vehicles relay information.

[0006] However, the system described above does not take into consideration points such as to which vehicle information is to be transferred next by a vehicle-mounted communication apparatus transmitting information in order to collect information in a more efficient manner. In other words, there is room for improvement in the information communication efficiency.

[0007] Moreover, it may seem that a communication route of information can be generated by performing dynamic routing. However, in a network in which a traveling vehicle constitutes a node, since a position of the node constantly changes, a validity period of routing information is extremely short. In other words, performing routing by having nodes exchange route information is unrealistic.

[0008] Further related art is known as follows.

[0009] The document US 2007/0115868 A1 discloses a group-header based method to organize local peer group of vehicles for inter-vehicle communication. Specifically, a method for establishing and maintaining the network and a corresponding ad-hoc moving-device to moving-device network having a plurality of moving-devices grouped into a Local Peer Group (LPG) is disclosed. A group header node (GH) is selected from the plurality of moving wireless devices in the LPG. The GH controls and manages the LPG by broadcasting a plurality of control messages, including a heartbeat message at a fixed interval. The LPG also includes at least one group node (GN). The at least one GN can communicate with the GH via a network link created between the at least one GN and the GH. The GNs join the LPG via the GH. If there is more than one GH in an LPG, header resolution occurs to select only one GH.

[0010] The article entitled "GPSR: Greedy Perimeter Stateless Routing for Wireless Networks" by Brad Karp et al., Proceedings of the 6th Annual ACM/IEEE International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking (MOBICOM 2000), August 6 - 11, 2000, Boston MA USA, ISBN 978-1-58113-197-0, pages 243 to 254, presents a routing protocol for wireless datagram networks that uses the positions of routers and a packet's destination to make packet forwarding decisions.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



[0011] The present invention has been made in consideration of the problems described above and an object thereof is to improve the information communication efficiency in a system which collects information using a plurality of wireless communication apparatuses.

[0012] In order to achieve the above object, the present invention provides a wireless communication apparatus and a wireless communication method, as defined in the claims.

[0013] The wireless communication apparatus according to the present invention is a wireless communication apparatus which transfers information addressed to the master node.

[0014] The present invention can be applied to a network which gathers information to the master node. In the present specification, a side that is logically close to the master node will be referred to as an upstream side and an opposite side thereof will be referred to as a downstream side. Specifically, a relay of information is performed from a wireless communication apparatus positioned on the downstream side to a wireless communication apparatus positioned on the upstream side.

[0015] The present invention in its one aspect provides a wireless communication apparatus which transfers information addressed to a master node, the wireless communication apparatus comprising an assessment value generation unit configured to generate an assessment value representing logical proximity to the master node; an assessment value transmission and reception unit configured to transmit the generated assessment value to one or more other wireless communication apparatuses and receive assessment values from the one or more other wireless communication apparatuses by wireless communication; and a communication unit configured to when this wireless communication apparatus is a wireless communication apparatus that is logically closest to the master node among wireless communication apparatuses within a communication-enabled range, receive information addressed to the master node from other wireless communication apparatuses, and when a wireless communication apparatus that is logically closest to the master node other than this wireless communication apparatus is present among the wireless communication apparatuses within the communication-enabled range, transmit information addressed to the master node to the logically closest wireless communication apparatus, wherein the communication unit is configured to generate a delay time based on the assessment value when transferring the information received from the other wireless communication apparatuses to yet another wireless communication apparatus.

[0016] Since data flows in one direction with reference to the master node in the network that is an application object of the present invention, a wireless communication apparatus which relays information must transmit information in a direction approaching the master node. In consideration thereof, the wireless communication apparatus according to the present invention calculates an assessment value based on a logical proximity to the master node and switches between transmission and reception operations based on the assessment value.

[0017] Being logically close to a master node means that a larger amount of data can be transmitted to and received from the master node in a shorter period of time. For example, while a larger assessment value is calculated in the following cases, assessment value calculation criteria are not limited thereto.
  • When a distance to the master node is small
  • When a standby period until communication is enabled with the master node is short
  • When duration of communication with the master node is long
  • When there is a large amount of data that can be transmitted to or received from the master node
  • When the number of hops to the master node is small


[0018] For example, in order to deliver information collected by a plurality of wireless communication apparatuses to a master node positioned in a given area, a wireless communication apparatus near the area may be given a higher assessment value than a wireless communication apparatus at a distant position from the area.

[0019] When entering a communication range of another wireless communication apparatus, the wireless communication apparatus according to the present invention transmits an assessment value thereof and receives an assessment value from the other wireless communication apparatus (hereinafter, the other apparatus). In other words, assessment values are exchanged between wireless communication apparatuses within a communication range. In addition, based on the exchanged assessment values, the wireless communication apparatus determines whether or not the wireless communication apparatus itself is positioned on a most upstream side of the master node among the one or more other apparatuses. Subsequently, based on a determination result, the wireless communication apparatus determines whether to transmit information to the other apparatus or receive information from the other apparatus.

[0020] According to the configuration described above, a tree structure can be formed in which information flows from the downstream side to the upstream side. In other words, in a network formed by a plurality of wireless communication apparatuses, flow of information can be appropriately controlled.

[0021] When information transmitted from a plurality of wireless communication apparatuses is collected in one place, phenomena such as an increase in pieces of overlapping information being transmitted and an increase in the number of communications being performed occur towards an upstream side, resulting in poorer transmission efficiency.

[0022] In consideration thereof, a wireless communication apparatus according to the present invention generates, when transmitting (i.e., transferring) information received from another wireless communication apparatus to yet another wireless communication apparatus, a delay time based on an assessment value, and transmits the information after the delay time elapses.

[0023] According to this configuration, for example, the number of transmissions can be reduced by bundling information to be transmitted, an amount of information can be reduced by integrating or deleting overlapping information, and the like. As a result, transmission efficiency can be improved.

[0024] In addition, since each wireless communication apparatus performs transmission and reception of information based solely on assessment values, route information or a routing table for communicating information need not be generated and exchanged. When attempting to use dynamic routing to communicate information, not only must nodes periodically exchange route information and continuously update routing information, there is also a risk that a movement of a node may disable a generated route and interrupt communication. However, in the present invention, since a communication route can be generated by a simple exchange of assessment values by wireless communication apparatuses that are close to each other, highly efficient and highly reliable communication can be performed.

[0025] Also, the wireless communication apparatus may further comprise an information generation unit configured to generate information to be transmitted to the master node.

[0026] Also, when information to be transmitted to the other wireless communication apparatuses has increased during the delay time, the communication unit may integrate two or more pieces of information which are transmission objects.

[0027] According to this configuration, the amount of information to be transmitted and the number of transmissions can be reduced and, consequently, transmission efficiency can be improved.

[0028] Also, the delay time may be longer when the assessment value is high as compared to when the assessment value is low.

[0029] The problem described above occurs more often on the upstream side than the downstream side. In consideration thereof, by setting a longer delay time for a higher assessment value, transmission efficiency can be further improved.

[0030] Also, when this wireless communication apparatus is a wireless communication apparatus that is logically closest to the master node among the wireless communication apparatuses within the communication-enabled range, the communication unit may issue a connection request to the other wireless communication apparatuses, and when a wireless communication apparatus that is logically closest to the master node is present other than this wireless communication apparatus among the wireless communication apparatuses within the communication-enabled range, the communication unit may receive a connection request from the logically closest wireless communication apparatus.

[0031] A trigger for collecting information is issued from a master node. A trigger refers to, for example, a request to collect information. Specifically, a wireless communication apparatus positioned on a most upstream side in a given range must distribute a trigger issued from the master node to wireless communication apparatuses positioned on the downstream side. In consideration thereof, the wireless communication apparatus according to the present invention issues a connection request to other wireless communication apparatuses in a given range when an assessment value of the wireless communication apparatus is the highest in the range, and receives a connection request from another wireless communication apparatus when the assessment value is not the highest. According to this configuration, a connection with a wireless communication apparatus positioned on the downstream side can be established and a connection relationship for efficiently communicating information can be established.

[0032] Also, the assessment value may be increased as a time until information transmitted from this wireless communication apparatus reaches the master node decreases.

[0033] In this manner, the wireless communication apparatus can appropriately determine the position thereof in a tree structure by calculating the assessment value based on the communication time of information between the master node and this wireless communication apparatus.

[0034] Also, the wireless communication apparatus may further comprise a positional information acquisition unit configured to acquire a current position, and the assessment value may be determined based on a frequency of communication opportunities between this wireless communication apparatus and the master node, or on a time until the communication opportunity arrives, the frequency and the time being calculated based on the current position.

[0035] A node with more opportunities to directly communicate with the master node can be determined as a node positioned on the upstream side. The frequency of communication opportunities or the time until a communication opportunity arrives may be determined based on past information or determined based on a prediction. For example, when a travel route or a destination of a wireless communication apparatus can be acquired, the communication opportunity with the master node can be determined based on these pieces of information. Alternatively, a distance to the master node or a movement direction of the wireless communication apparatus can be used.

[0036] Also, the assessment value may be larger when the time until the communication opportunity between this wireless communication apparatus and the master node arrives is short as compared to when the time is long.

[0037] The time until the communication opportunity arrives being short means that this wireless communication apparatus should be positioned more to the upstream side in the tree structure. Therefore, the assessment value may be calculated such that the shorter the time, the larger the assessment value.

[0038] Also, the assessment value may be larger when the time until the communication opportunity between this wireless communication apparatus and the master node arrives is predicted to subsequently become shorter as compared to when the time is predicted to subsequently become longer.

[0039] The time until the communication opportunity arrives subsequently becoming shorter means that this wireless communication apparatus is traveling more to the upstream side in the tree structure. Therefore, when the time is changing in a direction in which the time becomes shorter, the assessment value may be increased (in other words, a determination that the wireless communication apparatus is on the upstream side may be made).

[0040] Also, the assessment value generation unit may calculate the assessment value using respectively different criteria in accordance with a type of information to be transferred, and when information of a plurality of types is to be transferred, the communication unit uses an assessment value corresponding to the type of the information, for each type of information to be transferred.

[0041] Favorably, assessment value calculation criteria are not uniform and different criteria are used in accordance with properties of information to be communicated. Moreover, when the assessment value changes, relationships with surrounding wireless communication apparatuses also change. Therefore, the position of the wireless communication apparatus may be determined and relationships with surrounding wireless communication apparatuses may be re-generated for each type of information to be communicated.

[0042] Moreover, the present invention can be identified as a wireless communication apparatus including at least a part of the units described above. In addition, the present invention can also be identified as a wireless communication method carried out by the wireless communication apparatus. The processes and units described above may be implemented in any combination insofar as technical contradictions do not occur.

[0043] According to the present invention, the information communication efficiency can be improved in a system which collects information using a plurality of wireless communication apparatuses.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



[0044] 

FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram showing an information transmission route according to a first embodiment;

FIG. 2 is a configuration diagram of a wireless communication apparatus 100 according to the first embodiment;

FIGS. 3A and 3B show an example of assessment value calculation criteria according to the first embodiment;

FIG. 4 is a flow chart of a process performed by the wireless communication apparatus 100 according to the first embodiment;

FIG. 5 is a diagram representing a positional relationship between a master node 10 and the wireless communication apparatus 100;

FIG. 6 is a sequence diagram showing communication between apparatuses;

FIG. 7 is a diagram representing a positional relationship between the master node 10 and the wireless communication apparatus 100;

FIGS. 8A and 8B are diagrams representing a positional relationship between the master node 10 and the wireless communication apparatus 100;

FIGS. 9A and 9B show an example of calculating an assessment value based on a movement direction; and

FIGS. 10A and 10B are diagrams showing examples of an area according to a second embodiment.


DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS


(First Embodiment)


<Outline of system>



[0045] Hereinafter, preferred embodiments of the present invention will be described with reference to the drawings.

[0046] The present invention can be applied to a system which transmits information (collects information) transmitted from a plurality of wireless communication apparatuses to a master node.

[0047] A wireless communication system according to the first embodiment is a system which transmits information generated by a plurality of wireless communication apparatuses mounted on vehicles to a master node by having the plurality of wireless communication apparatuses communicate with each other. FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram showing an information transmission route. The wireless communication system according to the present embodiment is constituted by a master node 10 and wireless communication apparatuses mounted on a plurality of vehicles 20A to 20H (when distinctions need not be made, collectively referred to as a vehicle 20). A wireless communication apparatus 100 is an apparatus which performs wireless communication with the master node 10 and other wireless communication apparatuses 100. In addition, the master node 10 is a communication node connected to a wide area network such as the Internet. While the master node 10 is a communication apparatus fixed to the roadside in the present embodiment, alternatively, the master node 10 may be a mobile communication apparatus .

[0048] In the first embodiment, the wireless communication apparatus 100 mounted on the vehicle 20 relays information (for example, sensor data) generated in each vehicle to transmit the information to the master node 10.

[0049] When information is collected by having the wireless communication apparatuses 100 mounted on the vehicles 20 relay information to each other, to which wireless communication apparatus information is relayed (in other words, selection of a wireless communication apparatus to be a next hop destination) is important. For example, when desiring to collect information to a roadside apparatus installed at a given intersection, information should be transferred in a direction approaching the intersection rather than transferring the information in a direction away from the intersection.

[0050] When simply disseminating information, data may be unconditionally transmitted and received when a plurality of wireless communication apparatuses enter each other's communication range (so-called flooding). However, with such a method, inconveniences may occur such as information failing to reach an area to which the information is to be transmitted.

[0051] In consideration thereof, in the wireless communication system according to the present embodiment, communication control is performed such that a direction in which information is to be distributed is defined and each wireless communication apparatus 100 constituting a network distributes information from a downstream side to an upstream side. In the present embodiment, a side that is logically far from the master node (in other words, a side where information to be collected is generated) will be referred to as downstream and a side that is logically close to a master node (in other words, a side where information to be collected reaches in a delayed manner) will be referred to as upstream.

[0052] Upstream and downstream are not necessarily related to actual distances from the master node. For example, in order to transmit information from an entire area toward a given point A, a hierarchical relationship may be configured such that the point A is most upstream. When entering a state where communication can be performed with another wireless communication apparatus, a wireless communication apparatus according to the present embodiment characteristically determines which wireless communication apparatus is to be positioned upstream (downstream) and determines a transmission/reception destination of information based on a result of the determination.

[0053] Examples of information to be transmitted to the master node include, but are not limited to, sensor data acquired by a sensor mounted to a vehicle.

<System Configuration>



[0054] A configuration of the wireless communication apparatus 100 according to the first embodiment will be described with reference to FIG. 2.

[0055] The wireless communication apparatus 100 is a communication apparatus to be mounted on the vehicle 20 and includes a wireless communication unit STA, a positional information acquisition unit 101, an assessment value calculation unit 102, an assessment value acquisition unit 103, a comparison unit 104, a communication control unit 105, and a wireless communication unit AP.

[0056] The wireless communication apparatus 100 can be configured as an information processing apparatus including a CPU (an arithmetic processing apparatus), a main storage apparatus, and an auxiliary storage apparatus. The respective units illustrated in FIG. 2 function as a program stored in the auxiliary storage apparatus is loaded to the main storage apparatus and executed by the CPU. Alternatively, all of or a part of the illustrated functions may be executed using exclusively designed circuits.

[0057] The positional information acquisition unit 101 is a unit which acquires a current position (latitude and longitude) of the wireless communication apparatus 100 from a GPS module (not shown) provided on the apparatus.

[0058] The wireless communication units STA and AP are units which include a wireless communication interface and which transmit and receive information by wireless communication. In the present embodiment, the wireless communication units STA and AP perform communication conforming to a wireless LAN (IEEE 802.11) communication system (infrastructure mode).

[0059] Specifically, the wireless communication unit STA is a unit which, as a wireless LAN client, transmits and receives information to and from wireless LAN access points such as the master node 10 and the wireless communication unit AP included in other wireless communication apparatuses 100. In addition, the wireless communication unit AP is a unit which, as a wireless LAN access point, transmits and receives information to and from the wireless communication unit STA included in other wireless communication apparatuses 100.

[0060] The communication control unit 105 is a unit which controls transfer of information using the wireless communication units STA and AP. Specifically, information generated at each vehicle is received from a wireless communication apparatus positioned on the downstream side (a side far from the master node 10) and transferred to a wireless communication apparatus (or the master node itself) positioned on the upstream side (a side close to the master node 10). How the wireless communication units STA and AP are used during transfer will be described later.

[0061] Contents of processes performed by the other functional blocks will be described later with reference to flow charts.

[0062] The master node 10 is a roadside apparatus which collects information from the vehicle 20. Using collected information, the master node 10 generates, for example, traffic information and information which contributes to traffic safety. In addition to collecting information, the master node 10 has a function of broadcasting an assessment value (to be described later).

<Outline of processes>



[0063] An outline of processes performed by the wireless communication apparatus according to the first embodiment will now be presented.

[0064] The wireless communication apparatus according to the present embodiment enables assessment values to be exchanged between wireless communication apparatuses which are positioned within each other's communication range by periodically calculating an assessment value and broadcasting the calculated assessment value. An assessment value is a value representing a logical proximity to the master node 10 among a plurality of wireless communication apparatuses. A high assessment value means that transmitted information reaches the master node 10 in a shorter period of time.

[0065] The wireless communication apparatus according to the present embodiment retains criteria (hereinafter, assessment value calculation criteria) for calculating an assessment value in accordance with properties of information to be collected in the assessment value calculation unit 102. While the assessment value calculation criteria can be defined by, for example, a mathematical expression, the assessment value calculation criteria can also be defined by other means.

[0066] For example, the assessment value calculation criteria may be set upon shipment from a factory or may be acquired via a public communication network (for example, a cellular communication network or a public wireless LAN) or broadcast waves.

[0067] In addition, assessment value calculation criteria include positional information of a master node.

[0068] For example, assessment value calculation criteria is used such that, when properties of information that is a collection object are "ultimately transmitted to a master node positioned at point X", "the closer to the point X, the higher the assessment value, and the further away from the point X, the lower the assessment value". FIG. 3A is a diagram representing a distance between a moving wireless communication apparatus A and a master node.

[0069] In addition, FIG. 3B shows an example of assessment value calculation criteria which simply determine an assessment value in accordance with a distance from the master node. In this case, the assessment value of the master node itself is 1.0. In addition, the assessment value at a point separated from the master node by k[m] is 0. In the example shown in FIGS. 3A and 3B, since an assessment value is simply determined in accordance with the distance from the master node, the physically closer to the master node, the higher the assessment value.

[0070] Moreover, the example shown in FIGS. 3A and 3B is merely exemplary and any criteria may be used to calculate an assessment value. For example, when desiring to have information generated in a vicinity of a point Y delivered to the master node, assessment values may be calculated such that, the closer to point X, the higher the assessment value, and the closer to point Y, the lower the assessment value.

[0071] In addition, when desiring to have information collected from a vehicle on a road that leads to a given intersection, an assessment value may be determined in accordance with both a distance from the intersection and a distance from the road.

[0072] Next, a method in which the wireless communication apparatus 100 having assessment value calculation criteria communicates information will be described with reference to FIG. 4 which is a flow chart showing processes performed by the wireless communication apparatus 100 and to FIG. 5 which is a diagram representing positions of the master node 10 and vehicles mounted with the wireless communication apparatus 100. In this case, it is assumed that only one type of assessment value calculation criteria shown in FIG. 3B are to be used.

[0073] The processes shown in FIG. 4 are periodically executed.

[0074] Moreover, in FIG. 5, a circular dotted line represents a set of wireless communication apparatuses that are respectively within a communication range, and A to G are reference characters corresponding to the wireless communication apparatuses 100. Hereinafter, the wireless communication apparatuses A to G may also be simply referred to as apparatuses A to G.

[0075] First, in step S10, the wireless communication apparatus acquires information (information to be ultimately transmitted to the master node) from a sensor (not shown) provided in a vehicle. The acquired information is temporarily stored in a memory (not shown) .

[0076] Next, in step S11, the positional information acquisition unit 101 acquires a current position of the apparatus and transmits the current position to the assessment value calculation unit 102. The assessment value calculation unit 102 then calculates an assessment value using a position of the master node, the current position of the apparatus, and the assessment value calculation criteria. The calculated assessment value is transmitted to the wireless communication unit AP and the comparison unit 104.

[0077] Next, in step S12, the wireless communication unit AP broadcasts the assessment value calculated by the assessment value calculation unit 102. Transmission of the assessment value may be performed using, for example, a wireless LAN beacon. For example, the calculated assessment value may be included in an ESSID.

[0078] Next, in step S13, the assessment value acquisition unit 103 receives an assessment value transmitted from another apparatus via the wireless communication unit STA. Moreover, steps S12 and S13 need not necessarily be executed in the illustrated order. For example, both steps may be executed in parallel and an advance may be made to a next step once transmission and reception are completed. The assessment value received from the other apparatus is transmitted to the comparison unit 104.

[0079] In this case, as shown in FIG. 5, it is assumed that the apparatuses B, F, and G have respectively calculated assessment values (E) of 0.65, 0.4, and 0.45 in accordance with distances from the master node 10. In addition, it is assumed that the apparatuses C, D, and E have respectively calculated assessment values (E) of 0.5, 0.45, and 0.45 in accordance with distances from the master node 10.

[0080] The calculated assessment values are broadcast from the respective wireless communication apparatuses and shared by the other wireless communication apparatuses in the communication range.

[0081] Next, in step S14, the comparison unit 104 compares the assessment value calculated by the assessment value calculation unit 102 and the assessment value received from the other apparatus and determines whether or not the assessment value of the apparatus to which the assessment value calculation unit 102 belongs is the highest among the wireless communication apparatuses within the communication range. As a result, when a positive determination is made, it is recognized that the apparatus is positioned most upstream (hereinafter, a first position) within the communication range. In addition, when a negative determination is made, it is recognized that the apparatus is positioned on the downstream side (hereinafter, a second position).

[0082] In this case, when focusing attention on the apparatus B, since the assessment value of the apparatus B is highest among the wireless communication apparatuses within the communication range, the apparatus B recognizes that the apparatus B is positioned on the most upstream side. In addition, the apparatuses F and G recognize that the apparatuses F and G are positioned on the downstream side.

[0083] Furthermore, when focusing attention on the apparatus C, since the assessment value of the apparatus C is highest among the wireless communication apparatuses within the communication range, the apparatus C recognizes that the apparatus C is positioned on the most upstream side. In addition, the apparatuses D and E recognize that the apparatuses D and E are positioned on the downstream side.

[0084] Determination results are transmitted to the communication control unit 105.

[0085] When it is determined that the wireless communication apparatus is at the first position (in other words, at an upper position in the tree structure), the wireless communication apparatus collects information from a plurality of wireless communication apparatuses at the second position.

[0086] Information collected from the other apparatuses is temporarily stored in a memory (not shown) together with information acquired in step S10. Hereinafter, "information possessed" means that the information is stored in a memory.

[0087] In addition, when it is recognized that the wireless communication apparatus is at the second position (in other words, at a lower position in the tree structure), the wireless communication apparatus transmits information possessed by the apparatus to the wireless communication apparatus at the first position.

[0088] In the present embodiment, an apparatus at the first position performs an operation of issuing a connection request to an apparatus at the second position and collecting information after the connection is completed.

[0089] In step S15, the wireless communication unit STA is controlled so that wireless connection is established with the other apparatuses, and a transmission request for information is transmitted after the connection is established. As a result, the information possessed by the wireless communication apparatuses at the second position is transmitted to the wireless communication apparatus at the first position.

[0090] Moreover, for example, a transmission request includes, but is not limited to, an identifier of the master node, a type, an area, a period, and a collection unit of the information requested, and various restrictions (a maximum number of transfers and a cutoff time). In the present embodiment, a transmission request is assumed to include a final cutoff time (hereinafter, a final time) when transmitting information according to the transmission request.

[0091] On the other hand, in step S16, a determination is made on whether or not the information is being possessed, and if so, the wireless communication unit AP awaits a transmission request transmitted from another apparatus (a wireless communication apparatus with the highest assessment value or the master node).

[0092] In step S17, a transmission request transmitted from another apparatus is awaited and, when a transmission request is received, possessed information is transmitted. In the present embodiment, the two processes of an "information integration process" and "insertion of delay time" are performed in step S17. The processes will be described later.

[0093] According to steps S16 and S17, a transmission request for information is transmitted from the wireless communication apparatus at the first position to the wireless communication apparatuses at the second position and, in response thereto, information is transmitted from the wireless communication apparatuses at the second position to the wireless communication apparatus at the first position.

[0094] In the example shown in FIG. 5, the wireless communication unit STA of the apparatus C establishes connections with the wireless communication units AP of the apparatuses D and E and issues transmission requests to the apparatuses D and E. In response thereto, information is transmitted from the apparatuses D and E to the apparatus C. (The same applies to the apparatus B and the apparatuses F and G.)

[0095] FIG. 6 is a sequence diagram showing communication between apparatuses.

[0096] In this case, the apparatuses C, D, and E will be described.

[0097] First, the apparatus C respectively issues connection requests to the apparatuses D and E and negotiation is performed. At this point, the wireless communication units AP included in the apparatuses D and E operate as servers that accept the connection request. In addition, the wireless communication unit STA included in the apparatus C operates as a client that issues the connection request.

[0098] Once connections are established, the apparatus C respectively transmits transmission requests to the apparatuses D and E and, in response thereto, information is transmitted from the apparatuses D and E to the apparatus C (a description of a delay time will be given later) .

[0099] Moreover, in the present example, a side with a higher assessment value is operated as a client and a side with a lower assessment value is operated as a server. This is because an apparatus on the side with the higher assessment value must issue connection requests to a plurality of apparatuses. However, when connections can be established by long polling or the like, the server and the client may be reversed.

[0100] The process described above is periodically executed. FIG. 7 is a diagram representing positions of vehicles in a period following the process shown in FIG. 5. It is assumed that the apparatuses B and C have respectively moved from positions indicated by white circles to positions indicated by black circles. In this case, the apparatuses B and C enter a state where the apparatuses B and C can communicate with the apparatus A.

[0101] Even in this case, the same process as that described with reference to FIG. 4 is performed. In other words, each apparatus acquires an assessment value and shares the assessment value by broadcast. In the example shown in FIG. 7, an assessment value corresponding to the apparatus B rises to 0.8. On the other hand, since the assessment value of the apparatus A is even higher than that of the apparatus B, the apparatus A becomes an acquirer of information. In a similar manner, an assessment value corresponding to the apparatus C rises to 0.7. On the other hand, since the assessment value of the apparatus A is even higher than that of the apparatus C, the apparatus A becomes an acquirer of information.

[0102] By repetitively performing the process described above, information is aggregated from an apparatus with a low assessment value to an apparatus with a higher assessment value. In the present embodiment, since an assessment value is determined in accordance with a distance from the master node, information is sequentially transferred in a direction approaching the master node.

<Information integration process>



[0103] Next, the information integration process executed in step S17 will be described.

[0104] The wireless communication apparatus according to the present embodiment transmits both information received from a plurality of wireless communication apparatuses positioned on the downstream side and information acquired in step S10 to a wireless communication apparatus (or a master node) positioned on the upstream side. However, in such a mode, since the number of nodes decreases toward the upstream side, there is a risk that an amount of information may become excessive in comparison to a usable wireless band.

[0105] In consideration thereof, in step S17, the wireless communication apparatus according to the present embodiment performs a process of integrating information to be transmitted to the upstream side. Moreover, in the present specification, integration of information refers to a process of reducing redundant information.

[0106] Integration of information can be performed by a method such as those described below.

(1-A) Deletion of unnecessary information



[0107] For example, when the same (or substantially the same) information is transmitted from a plurality of wireless communication apparatuses, the information is favorably transmitted to the upstream side after deleting unnecessary information. For example, when same pieces of information are received from two or more wireless communication apparatuses, one of the pieces of information may be discarded. In this case, information describing that the received information had been transmitted from two or more wireless communication apparatuses in a same time period may be added to the information to be transferred.

(1-B) Reduction of information amount by computation



[0108] For example, when the master node requires an average value of values (sensor values) indicated by sensor data collected from the respective vehicles, instead of transmitting a list of the sensor values without modification, the wireless communication apparatus at the first position computes an average value and only transfers a result of the computation. In this case, information expressing the number of values from which the average value is computed may be added.

[0109] As described above, the amount of information can be reduced by having the wireless communication apparatus to transfer information take on a part of the computation to be performed by the master node.

(1-C) Reduction of number of communications



[0110] Even when pieces of information are not related to each other, the number of communications can be reduced by encapsulating the pieces of information into a single piece of data and transmitting the data. For example, when information encoded by a prescribed procedure is to be transmitted, information received from a wireless communication apparatus positioned on the downstream side may be first decoded and then encoded once again after adding information acquired in step S10, and then transmitted to the upstream side. By adopting such a process, the number of communications can be reduced. The prescribed procedure may be a compression process or an encryption process of the amount of information.

[0111] The processes described above are merely examples and any other process may be performed as long as the process enables an amount of communication or the number of communications to be reduced.

<Insertion of delay time>



[0112] The more a wireless communication apparatus is positioned on the upstream side, the larger the amount of information received from wireless communication apparatuses positioned on the downstream side. In other words, efficiency may improve by integrating information after a certain amount of information is accumulated. In consideration thereof, in the present embodiment, instead of immediately transmitting possessed information upon receiving a transmission request in step S17, information is transmitted after standing by for a delay time determined in accordance with an assessment value. The higher the assessment value, the longer the delay time.

[0113] In addition, when the execution period shown in FIG. 4 arrives during the performance of a delay, processes are performed in parallel. Furthermore, when possessed information (information to be transmitted to the upstream side) increases as a result of executing the processes shown in FIG. 4 in parallel, the information integration process described above is performed and information is transmitted in a batch after the delay time elapses.

[0114] As described above, a wireless communication apparatus according to the present embodiment repetitively performs a process of exchanging assessment values in a range where communication is enabled and transmitting or receiving information within the range based on the assessment values. As a result, information is gradually aggregated from an apparatus with a low assessment value to an apparatus with a high assessment value. In other words, by appropriately setting assessment value calculation criteria, a transmission route of information can be controlled without having to perform dynamic routing.

[0115] In addition, when transferring information to the upstream side, processes of inserting a delay time in accordance with an assessment value and integrating information having increased during the delay time are performed. Accordingly, the amount of information to be transferred to the upstream side can be reduced.

[0116] Moreover, although not mentioned with reference to FIG. 4, a validity period may be set to information to be transmitted. For example, time information may be set to the information to be transmitted, and transfer of information of which the set time has elapsed may be stopped. Alternatively, transfer may be stopped when an elapsed time from a time of initial transmission exceeds a prescribed time.

[0117] In addition, a validity period need not necessarily be in a time format. For example, a transfer may be stopped when a distance from the master node equals or exceeds a prescribed distance or a transfer may be stopped when reaching a prescribed area. Alternatively, a transfer may be stopped when deviating from a prescribed area. In addition, a transfer may be stopped when a same wireless communication apparatus travels a prescribed distance or more while possessing same information. Alternatively, a transfer may be stopped when the number of hops exceeds a prescribed value.

[0118] Furthermore, when a final time is included in a transmission request, the wireless communication apparatus 100 favorably sets a delay time so that the time at which information is to be transmitted (or the time at which information is predicted to reach the master node) does not exceed the final time.

(Modification of First Embodiment)



[0119] In the first embodiment, an assessment value is determined based on a current position. Examples of a method of determining an assessment value based on positional information other than a current position will now be described.

[0120] For example, when a travel route of a vehicle on which the wireless communication apparatus 100 is mounted can be acquired, an assessment value can be set such that the shorter a shortest distance (or an average distance) between a point on the travel route and the master node 10, the higher the assessment value (FIG. 8A) .

[0121] In addition, the travel route need not necessarily be a route currently being traveled. For example, when past travel history of the vehicle can be acquired, a route on which the vehicle is likely to travel may be extracted from the history and an assessment value may be calculated using the extracted route.

[0122] In addition, when a destination of a vehicle on which the wireless communication apparatus 100 is mounted can be acquired, after acquiring a coordinate corresponding to the destination and a coordinate corresponding to the master node 10 and calculating a distance, an assessment value can be set such that the shorter the distance, the higher the assessment value (FIG. 8B) .

[0123] Next, examples of a method of determining an assessment value based on other than positional information will be described.

[0124] A first method is a method of determining an assessment value based on the time from a moment at which a wireless communication apparatus had been last capable of communicating with a master node. When there is a record of previous communications between the wireless communication apparatus 100 and the master node 10 and the time from a moment at which communication had been last enabled is short, it is estimated that the wireless communication apparatus is present in a periphery of the master node. Therefore, an assessment value can be set such that the shorter the time, the higher the assessment value.

[0125] A second method is a method of determining an assessment value based on a length of time during which a wireless communication apparatus and a master node have previously been capable of communicating with each other. It can be predicted that the greater the length of time during which the wireless communication apparatus 100 and the master node 10 have previously been capable of communicating with each other, the higher the probability of the wireless communication apparatus 100 and the master node 10 subsequently becoming capable of communicating with each other. Therefore, an assessment value can be set such that the longer the time, the higher the assessment value. Moreover, when there are a plurality of master nodes, the time during which communication can be performed may be a sum of all times.

[0126] A third method is a method of determining an assessment value based on a movement direction of a wireless communication apparatus. It can be estimated that the closer a direction (a first angle) in which a vehicle mounted with a wireless communication apparatus is headed is to a direction (a second angle) in which the master node 10 is present as viewed from the wireless communication apparatus, the greater a subsequent reduction in the distance between the wireless communication apparatus and the master node. Therefore, an assessment value can be set such that the smaller the difference between the first angle and the second angle, the higher the assessment value (FIG. 9A).

[0127] Alternatively, a component of a direction heading toward the master node may be calculated from a vector of movement of the wireless communication apparatus, in which case an assessment value can be set such that the larger the component, the higher the assessment value (FIG. 9B).

[0128] Moreover, an assessment value may be calculated by combining the methods exemplified above.

(Second Embodiment)



[0129] In the first embodiment, a single roadside apparatus is adopted as the master node 10. In contrast, a second embodiment is an embodiment in which a plurality of wireless communication apparatuses present within a specific area are all considered master nodes.

[0130] FIGS. 10A and 10B are diagrams showing an example of an area according to the second embodiment. FIG. 10A represents an example where a plurality of wireless communication apparatuses M within a given region (reference numeral 1101) are all considered master nodes. In addition, FIG. 10B represents an example where wireless communication apparatuses M along a given road (reference numeral 1102) are all considered master nodes.

[0131] The wireless communication apparatus 100 according to the second embodiment differs from that of the first embodiment in that, in step S11, an assessment value is calculated based on a shortest distance to an object area.

[0132] According to this embodiment, information can be communicated efficiently when an object to which the information desirably reaches is not a specific wireless communication apparatus but a wireless communication apparatus that is present within a given area.

[0133] Moreover, while a case where an assessment value is calculated using a shortest distance to an object area has been cited in the present example, an assessment value can be calculated using other methods such as those described earlier. For example, while an example in which an assessment value is calculated based on communication opportunities with a master node has been cited in the first embodiment, in the second embodiment, an assessment value may be calculated based on communication opportunities with a wireless communication apparatus positioned within a given area. Alternatively, an assessment value may be calculated using a positional relationship between a destination or a travel route and an object area.

(Third Embodiment)



[0134] A third embodiment is an embodiment in which the wireless communication apparatus 100 corrects a calculated assessment value.

[0135] In the first and second embodiments, the wireless communication apparatus 100 computes an assessment value such that the logically closer to a master node, the higher the assessment value. However, there may cases where, even when a wireless communication apparatus is positioned at a location near a master node, it is inappropriate to position the wireless communication apparatus at an upper position of a tree structure depending on a state of the wireless communication apparatus (or a state of a vehicle on which the wireless communication apparatus is mounted) . Examples thereof include a case where performance for transferring information is insufficient.

[0136] A third embodiment is an embodiment in which, in order to accommodate such cases, the wireless communication apparatus 100 corrects an assessment value calculated based on attributes thereof.

[0137] In the third embodiment, following step S11, a step of correcting an assessment value is executed. The correction of an assessment value is performed based on communication performance of information. For example, when free capacity of a memory included in the wireless communication apparatus 100 is small, there is a possibility that information cannot be sufficiently communicated. In consideration thereof, when low information communication performance is estimated, a correction is performed to reduce an assessment value. For example, information communication performance can be estimated according to the following items.

(1) Free memory capacity of wireless communication apparatus



[0138] When absolute free capacity (or relative free capacity) of a memory is small, since there is a possibility that information to be transferred cannot be stored, a correction which reduces an assessment value is performed.

(2) Time from acquisition of information



[0139] When the time between acquisition of information to be transferred and transmission of the information to another apparatus is long, a node is determined not suitable for communicating information and a correction which reduces an assessment value is performed.

(3) Movement distance from acquisition of information



[0140] When the movement distance between acquisition of information to be transferred and transmission of the information to another apparatus is long, a node is determined not suitable for communicating information and a correction which reduces an assessment value is performed.

(4) Capacity or speed of communication line



[0141] When communication bit rate is low, proactive transfer is discouraged by reducing an assessment value.

[0142] In addition to the above, a correction which reduces an assessment value may be performed when there is a factor which discourages proactively transferring information.

[0143] Conversely, when there is a factor which encourages proactively transferring information, a correction which increases an assessment value may be performed. For example, when free memory capacity of a wireless communication apparatus is large or when a high-speed communication line is available, a correction which increases an assessment value may be performed.

(Other Modifications)



[0144] The embodiments described above merely represent examples and the present invention can be implemented with various modifications without departing from the scope of the invention as defined by the claims.

[0145] For example, while a wireless communication apparatus transmits or receives an assessment value and transmits or receives information that is a communication object after determining whether the wireless communication apparatus itself is on an upstream side or a downstream side of a master node in the description of the embodiments, the information that is a communication object may be received before an assessment value or may be received at the same time as an assessment value. For example, information transmitted from another apparatus may be received and temporarily stored, and handling of the information may be determined after receiving an assessment value. Alternatively, an assessment value may be received first and a determination may be made, and whether or not a main body of information is to be received may be subsequently determined.

[0146] In addition, while one type of information is set as a communication object in the description of the embodiments, a plurality of types of information may be communicated. In this case, in accordance with the properties of the information, different assessment value calculation criteria may be provided for each type. Specifically, an assessment value may be determined based on both a state or an attribute of a wireless communication apparatus itself and properties or an attribute of the information that is a communication object. According to this configuration, an optimum route can be generated in accordance with the information to be communicated.

[0147] Moreover, when the assessment value changes, relationships with surrounding wireless communication apparatuses also change. Therefore, the processes of FIG. 4 may be repetitively executed for each type of information to be communicated. As a result, a suitable communication route can be generated in accordance with properties of information.
An apparatus which transfers information addressed to a master node, comprises a generation unit configured to generate an assessment value representing logical proximity to the master node; a transmit unit that sends/receives the assessment value to/from other apparatuses; and a communication unit that, when this apparatus is an apparatus that is logically closest to the master node within a communication range, receive information addressed to the master node from other apparatuses, otherwise, transmit information addressed to the master node to the logically closest apparatus, wherein the communication unit is configured to generate a delay time based on the assessment value when transferring the information received from the other apparatuses to yet another apparatus.


Claims

1. A wireless communication apparatus (100), configured to be mounted on a vehicle (20), and to transfer information addressed to a master node (10), said wireless communication apparatus (100) comprising:

an assessment value generation unit (102) configured to generate an assessment value representing logical proximity of said wireless communication apparatus to the master node, wherein a higher assessment value means that a larger amount of information can be transmitted to or received from the master node in a shorter period of time;

an assessment value transmission and reception unit (STA, AP) configured to transmit the generated assessment value to one or more other wireless communication apparatuses and receive assessment values from the one or more other wireless communication apparatuses by wireless communication within a communication-enabled range such that the assessment values are exchanged between the wireless communication apparatuses within the communication-enabled range; and

a communication unit (STA, AP) configured to

when said wireless communication apparatus is a wireless communication apparatus that is logically closest to the master node among the wireless communication apparatuses within the communication-enabled range, receive information addressed to the master node from the one or more other wireless communication apparatuses, and

when a wireless communication apparatus that is logically closest to the master node other than said wireless communication apparatus is present among the wireless communication apparatuses within the communication-enabled range, transmit information addressed to the master node to the logically closest wireless communication apparatus, wherein

the communication unit (AP) is configured to generate a delay time in accordance with the assessment value of said wireless communication apparatus, wherein the delay time is longer when the assessment value is high as compared to when the assessment value is low, and to transmit the information received from the one or more other wireless communication apparatuses to yet another wireless communication apparatus, which is logically closer to the master node, after the delay time elapses since receipt of a transmission request from the yet another wireless communication apparatus, which is logically closer to the master node.


 
2. The wireless communication apparatus according to claim 1, further comprising an information generation unit configured to generate information to be transmitted to the master node.
 
3. The wireless communication apparatus according to claim 1 or 2, wherein, when information to be transmitted to the yet another wireless communication apparatus has increased during the delay time, the communication unit is configured to integrate the increased information by reducing redundant information.
 
4. The wireless communication apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 3, wherein
when said wireless communication apparatus is a wireless communication apparatus that is logically closest to the master node among the wireless communication apparatuses within the communication-enabled range, the communication unit is configured to issue a connection request to the one or more other wireless communication apparatuses, and
when a wireless communication apparatus that is logically closest to the master node other than said wireless communication apparatus is present among the wireless communication apparatuses within the communication-enabled range, the communication unit is configured to receive a connection request from the logically closest wireless communication apparatus.
 
5. The wireless communication apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein
the assessment value is larger when a time until information transmitted from said wireless communication apparatus reaches the master node becomes shorter.
 
6. The wireless communication apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 5, further comprising a positional information acquisition unit (101) configured to acquire a current position, wherein
the assessment value is determined based on a frequency of communication opportunities between said wireless communication apparatus and the master node, or a time until the communication opportunity arrives, the frequency and the time being calculated based on the current position.
 
7. The wireless communication apparatus according to claim 6, wherein
the assessment value is larger when the time until the communication opportunity between said wireless communication apparatus and the master node arrives is short as compared to when the time is long.
 
8. The wireless communication apparatus according to claim 6 or 7, wherein
the assessment value is larger when the time until the communication opportunity between said wireless communication apparatus and the master node arrives is predicted to subsequently become shorter as compared to when the time is predicted to subsequently become longer.
 
9. The wireless communication apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 8, wherein
the assessment value generation unit (102) is configured to calculate the assessment value using respectively different criteria in accordance with a type of information to be transferred, and
when information of a plurality of types is to be transferred, the communication unit is configured to use an assessment value corresponding to the type of the information, for each type of information to be transferred.
 
10. A wireless communication method in which a wireless communication apparatus (100), mounted on a vehicle (20), which transfers information addressed to a master node (10) executes the steps of:

generating an assessment value representing logical proximity of said wireless communication apparatus to the master node (S11), wherein a higher assessment value means that a larger amount of information can be transmitted to or received from the master node in a shorter period of time;

transmitting the generated assessment value to one or more other wireless communication apparatuses and receiving assessment values from the one or more other wireless communication apparatuses by wireless communication within a communication-enabled range (S12) such that the assessment values are exchanged between the wireless communication apparatuses within the communication-enabled range; and

when said wireless communication apparatus is a wireless communication apparatus that is logically closest to the master node among wireless communication apparatuses within the communication-enabled range, receiving information addressed to the master node from the one or more other wireless communication apparatuses, and

when a wireless communication apparatus that is logically closest to the master node other than said wireless communication apparatus is present among the wireless communication apparatuses within the communication-enabled range, transmitting information addressed to the master node to the logically closest wireless communication apparatus, wherein

in transferring information addressed to the master node, a delay time is generated in accordance with the assessment value of said wireless communication apparatus, wherein the delay time is longer when the assessment value is high as compared to when the assessment value is low, and the information received from the one or more other wireless communication apparatuses is transmitted to yet another wireless communication apparatus, which is logically closer to the master node, after the delay time elapses since receipt of a transmission request from the yet another wireless communication apparatus, which is logically closer to the master node.


 
11. A computer program which, when executed on a wireless communication apparatus, causes the wireless communication apparatus to perform the wireless communication method according to claim 10.
 


Ansprüche

1. Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung (100), die konfiguriert ist, um an einem Fahrzeug (20) installiert zu werden, und um an einen Masterknoten (10) adressierte Informationen zu übermitteln, wobei die Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung (100) aufweist:

eine Beurteilungswerterzeugungseinheit (102), die konfiguriert ist zum Erzeugen eines Beurteilungswerts, der eine logische Nähe der Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung zu dem Masterknoten darstellt, wobei ein höherer Beurteilungswert bedeutet, dass eine größere Informationsmenge in einer kürzeren Zeitspanne an den Masterknoten gesendet oder von dem Masterknoten empfangen werden kann;

eine Beurteilungswertsende- und -empfangseinheit (STA, AP), die konfiguriert ist zum Senden von dem erzeugten Beurteilungswert an ein oder mehr andere Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtungen und Empfangen von Beurteilungswerten von den ein oder mehr anderen Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtungen durch drahtlose Kommunikation in einem Kommunikationsfähigkeitsbereich, sodass die Beurteilungswerte zwischen den Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtungen in dem Kommunikationsfähigkeitsbereich ausgetauscht werden; und

eine Kommunikationseinheit (STA, AP), die konfiguriert ist zum

Empfangen von an den Masterknoten adressierten Informationen von den ein oder mehr anderen Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtungen, wenn die Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung eine Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung ist, die sich unter den Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtungen in dem Kommunikationsfähigkeitsbereich logisch am nächsten zu dem Masterknoten befindet, und

Senden von an den Masterknoten adressierten Informationen an die logisch nächste Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung, wenn eine Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung, die sich am nächsten zu dem Masterknoten befindet, abgesehen von der Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung unter den Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtungen in dem Kommunikationsfähigkeitsbereich vorhanden ist, wobei

die Kommunikationseinheit (AP) konfiguriert ist zum Erzeugen einer Verzögerungszeit gemäß dem Beurteilungswert der Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung, wobei die Verzögerungszeit länger ist, wenn der Beurteilungswert hoch ist, im Vergleich dazu, wenn der Beurteilungswert niedrig ist, und zum Senden der Informationen, die von den ein oder mehr anderen Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtungen empfangen werden, an eine noch weitere andere Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung, die sich logisch näher zu dem Masterknoten befindet, nachdem die Verzögerungszeit seit Empfang einer Sendeanforderung von der noch weiteren anderen Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung, die sich logisch näher zu dem Masterknoten befindet, verstreicht.


 
2. Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung gemäß Anspruch 1, zusätzlich mit einer Informationserzeugungseinheit, die konfiguriert ist zum Erzeugen von Informationen, die an den Masterknoten zu senden sind.
 
3. Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung gemäß Anspruch 1 oder 2, wobei, wenn sich Informationen, die an die noch weitere andere Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung zu senden sind, während der Verzögerungszeit vermehrt haben, die Kommunikationseinheit konfiguriert ist zum Integrieren der vermehrten Informationen durch Reduzieren von redundanten Informationen.
 
4. Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung gemäß einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 3, wobei

wenn die Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung eine Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung ist, die sich unter den Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtungen in dem Kommunikationsfähigkeitsbereich am nächsten zu dem Masterknoten befindet, die Kommunikationseinheit konfiguriert ist zum Abgeben einer Verbindungsanforderung an die ein oder mehr anderen Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtungen, und

wenn eine Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung, die sich am nächsten zu dem Masterknoten befindet, abgesehen von der Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung unter den Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtungen in dem Kommunikationsfähigkeitsbereich vorhanden ist, die Kommunikationseinheit konfiguriert ist zum Empfangen einer Verbindungsanforderung von der logisch nächsten Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung.


 
5. Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung gemäß einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 4, wobei
der Beurteilungswert größer ist, wenn eine Zeit kürzer wird, bis Informationen, die von der Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung gesendet werden, den Masterknoten erreichen.
 
6. Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung gemäß einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 5, zusätzlich mit einer Positionsinformationserfassungseinheit (101), die konfiguriert ist zum Erfassen einer aktuellen Position, wobei
der Beurteilungswert basierend auf einer Häufigkeit von Kommunikationsgelegenheiten zwischen der Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung und dem Masterknoten oder einer Zeit, bis die Kommunikationsgelegenheit eintritt, bestimmt wird, wobei die Häufigkeit und die Zeit basierend auf der aktuellen Position berechnet werden.
 
7. Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung gemäß Anspruch 6, wobei
der Beurteilungswert größer ist, wenn die Zeit, bis die Kommunikationsgelegenheit zwischen der Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung und dem Masterknoten eintritt, kurz ist, im Vergleich dazu, wenn die Zeit lang ist.
 
8. Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung gemäß Anspruch 6 oder 7, wobei
der Beurteilungswert größer ist, wenn vorhergesagt wird, dass die Zeit, bis die Kommunikationsgelegenheit zwischen der Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung und dem Masterknoten eintritt, nachfolgend kürzer wird, im Vergleich dazu, wenn vorhergesagt wird, dass die Zeit nachfolgend länger wird.
 
9. Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung gemäß einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 8, wobei

die Beurteilungswerterzeugungseinheit (102) konfiguriert ist zum Berechnen des Beurteilungswerts, wobei jeweils unterschiedliche Kriterien gemäß einem Typ von zu übermittelnden Informationen verwendet werden, und

wenn Informationen einer Vielzahl von Typen zu übermitteln sind, die Kommunikationseinheit konfiguriert ist zum Verwenden eines Beurteilungswerts, der dem Typ der Informationen entspricht, für jeden Typ von zu übermittelnden Informationen.


 
10. Drahtloskommunikationsverfahren, in dem eine an einem Fahrzeug (20) installierte Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung (100), die an einen Masterknoten (10) adressierte Informationen übermittelt, die Schritte ausführt:

Erzeugen eines Beurteilungswerts (S11), der eine logische Nähe der Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung zu dem Masterknoten darstellt, wobei ein höherer Beurteilungswert bedeutet, dass eine größere Informationsmenge in einer kürzeren Zeitspanne an den Masterknoten gesendet oder von dem Masterknoten empfangen werden kann;

Senden von dem erzeugten Beurteilungswert an ein oder mehr andere Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtungen und Empfangen von Beurteilungswerten von den ein oder mehr anderen Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtungen durch drahtlose Kommunikation in einem Kommunikationsfähigkeitsbereich (S12), sodass die Beurteilungswerte zwischen den Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtungen in dem Kommunikationsfähigkeitsbereich ausgetauscht werden; und

Empfangen von an den Masterknoten adressierten Informationen von den ein oder mehr anderen Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtungen, wenn die Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung eine Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung ist, die sich unter Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung in dem Kommunikationsfähigkeitsbereich am nächsten zu dem Masterknoten befindet, und

Senden von an den Masterknoten adressierten Informationen an die logisch nächste Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung, wenn eine Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung, die sich logisch am nächsten zu dem Masterknoten befindet, abgesehen von der Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung unter den Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtungen immer dem Kommunikationsfähigkeitsbereich vorhanden ist, wobei

beim Übermitteln von an den Masterknoten adressierten Informationen eine Verzögerungszeit gemäß dem Beurteilungswert der Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung erzeugt wird, wobei die Verzögerungszeit länger ist, wenn der Beurteilungswert hoch ist, im Vergleich dazu, wenn der Beurteilungswert niedrig ist, und die von den ein oder mehr anderen Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtungen empfangenen Informationen an eine noch weitere andere Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung, die sich logisch näher zu dem Masterknoten befindet, gesendet werden, nachdem die Verzögerungszeit seit Empfang einer Sendeanforderung von der noch weiteren anderen Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung, die sich logisch näher zu dem Masterknoten befindet, verstreicht.


 
11. Computerprogramm, das, wenn es auf einer Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung ausgeführt wird, die Drahtloskommunikationsvorrichtung veranlasst zum Durchführen des Drahtloskommunikationsverfahrens gemäß Anspruch 10.
 


Revendications

1. Appareil de communication sans fil (100), configuré pour être monté sur un véhicule (20), et pour transférer des informations adressées à un noeud maître (10), ledit appareil de communication sans fil (100) comprenant :

une unité de génération de valeur d'évaluation (102) configurée pour générer une valeur d'évaluation représentant la proximité logique dudit appareil de communication sans fil par rapport au noeud maître, où une valeur d'évaluation supérieure signifie qu'une plus grande quantité d'informations peuvent être transmises à ou reçues du noeud maître dans une période de temps plus courte ;

une unité de transmission et de réception de valeur d'évaluation (STA, AP) configurée pour transmettre la valeur d'évaluation générée à un ou plusieurs autres appareils de communication sans fil et recevoir des valeurs d'évaluation des un ou plusieurs autres appareils de communication sans fil par communication sans fil dans une portée à communication permise de sorte que les valeurs d'évaluation soient échangées entre les appareils de communication sans fil dans la portée à communication permise ; et

une unité de communication (STA, AP) configurée pour

lorsque ledit appareil de communication sans fil est un appareil de communication sans fil qui est logiquement le plus proche du noeud maître parmi les appareils de communication sans fil dans la portée à communication permise, recevoir des informations adressées au noeud maître en provenance des un ou plusieurs autres appareils de communication sans fil, et

lorsqu'un appareil de communication sans fil qui est logiquement le plus proche du noeud maître autre que ledit appareil de communication sans fil est présent parmi les appareils de communication sans fil dans la portée à communication permise, transmettre des informations adressées au noeud maître à l'appareil de communication sans fil logiquement le plus proche, où

l'unité de communication (AP) est configurée pour générer un temps de retard conformément à la valeur d'évaluation dudit appareil de communication sans fil, où le temps de retard est plus long quand la valeur d'évaluation est élevée comparativement à quand la valeur d'évaluation est faible, et pour transmettre les informations reçues des un ou plusieurs autres appareils de communication sans fil à encore un autre appareil de communication sans fil, qui est logiquement plus proche du noeud maître, après que le temps de retard s'est écoulé depuis la réception d'une demande de transmission en provenance de l'encore un autre appareil de communication sans fil, qui est logiquement plus proche du noeud maître.


 
2. Appareil de communication sans fil selon la revendication 1, comprenant en outre une unité de génération d'informations configurée pour générer des informations à transmettre au noeud maître.
 
3. Appareil de communication sans fil selon la revendication 1 ou 2, dans lequel, lorsque des informations à transmettre à l'encore un autre appareil de communication sans fil ont augmenté pendant le temps de retard, l'unité de communication est configurée pour intégrer les informations augmentées en réduisant des informations redondantes.
 
4. Appareil de communication sans fil selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 3, dans lequel
lorsque ledit appareil de communication sans fil est un appareil de communication sans fil qui est logiquement le plus proche du noeud maître parmi les appareils de communication sans fil dans la portée à communication permise, l'unité de communication est configurée pour émettre une demande de connexion aux un ou plusieurs autres appareils de communication sans fil, et
lorsqu'un appareil de communication sans fil qui est logiquement le plus proche du noeud maître autre que ledit appareil de communication sans fil est présent parmi les appareils de communication sans fil dans la portée à communication permise, l'unité de communication est configurée pour recevoir une demande de connexion en provenance de l'appareil de communication sans fil logiquement le plus proche.
 
5. Appareil de communication sans fil selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 4, dans lequel
la valeur d'évaluation est plus grande quand un temps jusqu'à ce que des informations transmises depuis ledit appareil de communication sans fil atteignent le noeud maître devient plus court.
 
6. Appareil de communication sans fil selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 5, comprenant en outre une unité d'acquisition d'informations positionnelles (101) configurée pour acquérir une position actuelle, dans lequel
la valeur d'évaluation est déterminée sur la base d'une fréquence d'opportunités de communication entre ledit appareil de communication sans fil et le noeud maître, ou d'un temps jusqu'à ce que l'opportunité de communication se présente, la fréquence et le temps étant calculés sur la base de la position actuelle.
 
7. Appareil de communication sans fil selon la revendication 6, dans lequel
la valeur d'évaluation est plus grande quand le temps jusqu'à ce que l'opportunité de communication entre ledit appareil de communication sans fil et le noeud maître se présente est court comparativement à quand le temps est long.
 
8. Appareil de communication sans fil selon la revendication 6 ou 7, dans lequel
la valeur d'évaluation est plus grande quand le temps jusqu'à ce que l'opportunité de communication entre ledit appareil de communication sans fil et le noeud maître se présente est prédit pour devenir subséquemment plus court comparativement à quand le temps est prédit pour devenir subséquemment plus long.
 
9. Appareil de communication sans fil selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 8, dans lequel
l'unité de génération de valeur d'évaluation (102) est configurée pour calculer la valeur d'évaluation en utilisant des critères respectivement différents conformément à un type d'informations à transférer, et
lorsque des informations d'une pluralité de types doivent être transférées, l'unité de communication est configurée pour utiliser une valeur d'évaluation correspondant au type des informations, pour chaque type d'informations à transférer.
 
10. Procédé de communication sans fil dans lequel un appareil de communication sans fil (100), monté sur un véhicule (20), qui transfère des informations adressées à un noeud maître (10) exécute les étapes consistant à :

générer une valeur d'évaluation représentant la proximité logique dudit appareil de communication sans fil par rapport au noeud maître (S11), où une valeur d'évaluation supérieure signifie qu'une plus grande quantité d'informations peuvent être transmises à ou reçues du noeud maître dans une période de temps plus courte ;

transmettre la valeur d'évaluation générée à un ou plusieurs autres appareils de communication sans fil et recevoir des valeurs d'évaluation des un ou plusieurs autres appareils de communication sans fil par communication sans fil dans une portée à communication permise (S12) de sorte que les valeurs d'évaluation soient échangées entre les appareils de communication sans fil dans la portée à communication permise ; et

lorsque ledit appareil de communication sans fil est un appareil de communication sans fil qui est logiquement le plus proche du noeud maître parmi des appareils de communication sans fil dans la portée à communication permise, recevoir des informations adressées au noeud maître en provenance des un ou plusieurs autres appareils de communication sans fil, et

lorsqu'un appareil de communication sans fil qui est logiquement le plus proche du noeud maître autre que ledit appareil de communication sans fil est présent parmi les appareils de communication sans fil dans la portée à communication permise, transmettre des informations adressées au noeud maître à l'appareil de communication sans fil logiquement le plus proche, où

lors du transfert d'informations adressées au noeud maître, un temps de retard est généré conformément à la valeur d'évaluation dudit appareil de communication sans fil, où le temps de retard est plus long quand la valeur d'évaluation est élevée comparativement à quand la valeur d'évaluation est faible, et les informations reçues des un ou plusieurs autres appareils de communication sans fil sont transmises à encore un autre appareil de communication sans fil, qui est logiquement plus proche du noeud maître, après que le temps de retard s'est écoulé depuis la réception d'une demande de transmission en provenance de l'encore un autre appareil de communication sans fil, qui est logiquement plus proche du noeud maître.


 
11. Programme informatique qui, lorsqu'il est exécuté sur un appareil de communication sans fil, amène l'appareil de communication sans fil à effectuer le procédé de communication sans fil selon la revendication 10.
 




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Cited references

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Patent documents cited in the description




Non-patent literature cited in the description