Participatory Sensing Meets Opportunistic Sharing: Automatic Phone-to-Phone Communication in Vehicles

Xiaoshan Sun, Shaohan Hu, Lu Su, Tarek F. Abdelzaher, Pan Hui, Wei Zheng, Hengchang Liu, John A. Stankovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper explores direct phone-to-phone communication (via WiFi interface) among vehicles to support participatory sensing applications. Sensing data usually contains location, speed, and fuel consumption of the car, and has a long time delay between collected and transferred to the server. Direct communication among phones aboard is important in reducing data transfer delay time and sharing participatory sensing information in an inexpensive manner. We design a practical and optimized communication mechanism for direct phone-to-phone data transfer among phones aboard that strategically enables phone-to-phone and/or phone-to-WiFiAP communications by optimally toggling the phones between the normal client and the hotspot modes. We take advantage of the WiFi hotspot functionality on smartphones, and hence require neither involvement of participants nor changes to existing wireless infrastructure and protocols. An analytical model is established to optimize toggling between client and hotspot modes for optimal system efficiency. We fully implement this system on off-the-shelf Google Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S phones. Through a 35-vehicle two-month deployment study, as well as simulation experiments using the real-world T-drive 9,211-taxicab dataset, we show that our solution significantly reduces data transfer delay time and maintains over 80 percent system efficiency under varying system parameters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7337442
Pages (from-to)2550-2563
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • Parameter optimization
  • Phone-to-phone communication
  • WiFi hotspot
  • vehicular networking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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