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Title:
AN ADAPTIVE AND ADAPTABLE MESSAGE DISPLAY SYSTEM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/161437
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention relates generally to message display systems and particularly to message display systems for use in a traffic environment to warn drivers of obstructions, accidents and road conditions for example.

Inventors:
HUNTLEY, Sean (8 Cooradilla Street, Jindalee, Queensland 4074, 4074, AU)
Application Number:
AU2019/050117
Publication Date:
August 29, 2019
Filing Date:
February 15, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
HUNTLEY, Sean (8 Cooradilla Street, Jindalee, Queensland 4074, 4074, AU)
International Classes:
G08G1/09; E01F9/608; E01F9/615; F21S4/00; G08G1/07; G08G1/16; G09F9/302; G09F13/00
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SPRUSON & FERGUSON (GPO BOX 3898, Sydney, New South Wales 2001, 2001, AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. An adaptive and adaptable message display system including a number of message display devices, each message display device including an on-board controller and access to at least one communications pathway, each linked to a remotely located control device to provide instructions to the message display devices to display different messages on at least some of the display devices.

2. An adaptive and adaptable message display system as claimed in claim 1 wherein the

display devices display different messages to convey an adaptive message over successively viewed display devices.

3. An adaptive and adaptable message display system as claimed in claim 1 or claim 2 wherein the message display devices are provided on purpose-built stands or objects which are specifically provided to support the message display device.

4. An adaptive and adaptable message display system as claimed in any one of the preceding claims wherein the message display devices are or include one or more lights that can be lit, in at least two colours.

5. An adaptive and adaptable message display system as claimed in claim 4 wherein the one or more lights are provided in a line oriented horizontally, vertically, or at an angle.

6. An adaptive and adaptable message display system as claimed in claim 4 or claim 5 wherein an odd number of lights is provided.

7. An adaptive and adaptable message display system as claimed in claim 4 wherein the one or more lights are provided in a rectangular array of lights in order to convey more complex messages.

8. An adaptive and adaptable message display system as claimed in any one of claims 4 to 7 wherein each of the lights provided is able to be lit in at least red, amber and green.

9. An adaptive and adaptable message display system as claimed in any one of claims 4 to 8 wherein each of the lights provided is able to flash.

10. An adaptive and adaptable message display system as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 3 wherein at least some of the message display devices include a display screen upon which messages including text and/or at least one image can be displayed.

11. An adaptive and adaptable message display system as claimed in claim 11 wherein the or each display screen is arcuate.

12. An adaptive and adaptable message display system as claimed in any one of the preceding claims wherein each of the message display devices are provided with an on-board controller in order to control the message display device and which is linked to a remotely located control device utilising at least one communications pathway such that instructions to the on-board controller can be provided from the remotely located control device to control operation of each of the message display devices.

13. An adaptive and adaptable message display system as claimed in claim 12 wherein the message display devices are controlled individually by their respective on-board controller but are also linked to the remotely located control device so that successive message display devices can be operated to provide a pattern of messages to a passer-by.

14. An adaptive and adaptable message display system as claimed in claim 12 or claim 13 wherein the at least one communication pathway can be utilised to provide updates in order to change a mode of operation of one or more of the message display devices over time, in real-time.

15. An adaptive and adaptable message display system as claimed in any one of claims 12 to claim 14 when dependent from either claim 10 or claim 11 wherein each display screen has a standby mode in which it primarily shows advertising material and an active mode in which the display screen displays warnings or other information.

16. An adaptive and adaptable message display system as claimed in claim 15 wherein the devices can be switched from the standby mode into the active mode, through the remotely located control device, he remotely located control device switching message display devices in one or more particular areas of interest with other devices operating in the standby mode.

17. An adaptive and adaptable message display system as claimed in claim 15 or claim 16 wherein the at least one remote control device is located at a traffic control centre such that the instructions can be issued to the message display devices located adjacent to a roadway, substantially in real time.

18. An adaptive and adaptable message display system as claimed in any one of the preceding claims wherein the message display device is associated with a renewable power supply.

19. An adaptive and adaptable message display system as claimed in any one of the preceding claims wherein the message display device is provided within a sealed housing with a mounting mechanism.

20. An adaptive and adaptable message display system as claimed in any one of the preceding claims wherein the message display device provides a status indicator to the remotely located control device periodically.

21. An adaptive and adaptable message display system as claimed in any one of the preceding claims wherein at least some of the display devices are provided with at least one camera to capture and transmit at least one image to the remotely located control device.

22. An adaptive and adaptable message display system as claimed in any one of the preceding claims wherein a hood or directional device is provided for each of the display devices so as to project the light with directionality so as to minimise light spillage in unwanted directions.

23. An adaptive and adaptable message display system as claimed in any one of the preceding claims wherein a pair of U-shaped display screens are attached relative to each other in a cylindrical configuration.

24. A method of presenting an adaptive and adaptable message display including the steps of providing a number of message display devices, each message display device including an on-board controller and access to at least one communications pathway, linking each of the message display devices to a remotely located control device causing the display of different messages on at least some of the message display devices.

25. A method of presenting an adaptive and adaptable message display as claimed in claim 24 including the step of attaching at least some of the message display device to a powered roadside object such that the message display device draws power for operation of the message display device from a utility for which the roadside object is provided.

26. A method of presenting an adaptive and adaptable message display as claimed in claim 24 or claim 25 wherein each of the lights provided is able to be lit in at least red, amber and green to convey different messages.

27. A method of presenting an adaptive and adaptable message display as claimed in claim 26 wherein all of the lights in a message display device are lit in green when no accident or obstruction is present on road condition is good, the lights are changed to amber where road condition has declined and one or more of the lights are lit in red indicating an accident or obstruction.

28. A method of presenting an adaptive and adaptable message display as claimed in claim 26 wherein a lane closure is indicated by having some of the lights in a message display device being lit in green and others in amber and/or in red.

29. A method of presenting an adaptive and adaptable message display as claimed in claim 26 wherein distance to an accident or obstruction is provided by having the number of lights in successive message display devices change as a driver or vehicle gets closer to the accident or obstruction.

Description:
AN ADAPTIVE AND ADAPTABLE MESSAGE DISPLAY SYSTEM

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] The present invention relates generally to message display systems and particularly to message display systems for use in a traffic environment to warn drivers of obstructions, accidents and road conditions for example.

BACKGROUND ART

[0002] Traffic signalling control systems are a matter of public safety. Traffic related accidents account for a vast majority of accident related injuries and fatalities each year, and as passenger traffic steadily increases, the coinciding risk of accident and injury escalates. These traffic signalling systems have largely remained unchanged since their conception and implementation.

[0003] There are also a number of systems available to warn drivers of the approach of emergency vehicles in order to assist with drivers removing themselves from the path of the emergency vehicles.

[0004] Accordingly, current advances in traffic, traffic signalling systems, and the greater understanding of traffic flow itself have made progress in these systems advantageous endeavours for efficiency and safety.

[0005] It will be clearly understood that, if a prior art publication is referred to herein, this reference does not constitute an admission that the publication forms part of the common general knowledge in the art in Australia or in any other country.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

[0006] The present invention is directed to an adaptive and adaptable message display system, which may at least partially overcome at least one of the abovementioned disadvantages or provide the consumer with a useful or commercial choice.

[0007] With the foregoing in view, the present invention in one form, resides broadly in an adaptive and adaptable message display system including a number of message display devices, each message display device including an on-board controller and access to at least one communications pathway, each linked to a remotely located control device to provide instructions to the message display devices to display different messages on at least some of the display devices.

[0008] In another form, the present invention resides in a method of presenting an adaptive and adaptable message display including the steps of providing a number of message display devices, each message display device including an on-board controller and access to at least one communications pathway, linking each of the message display devices to a remotely located control device causing the display of different messages on at least some of the message display devices.

[0009] The system and method of the present invention is particularly adapted to provide the drivers of vehicles on roads with information while they are driving. Preferably, the present invention will allow the display devices to convey an adaptive message over successively viewed display devices.

[0010] In a particularly preferred embodiment, the message display devices will be provided relative to a roadway or any surface over which vehicles can move including for example, carparks and the like, preferably mounted on objects such as telegraph poles, telephone poles or power poles that may be provided, spaced along the side of the roadway. As a vehicle moves past the display devices, messages can be displayed on one or more of the display devices, and typically over successive display devices in the direction of travel in order to convey a message to the driver in relation to issues such as accidents, obstructions or difficulties ahead, road condition and the like, and also give the driver an indication of remedial action that the driver can take and/or distance to the accident, obstruction or difficulty. In this way, the message on the message display devices can be changed as required and over successive message display devices, a message can be displayed that is adapted to the vehicle’s location relative to an accident, hazard or the like.

[0011] As mentioned, the number of message display devices are typically mounted, one to each of a number of roadside objects. In this way, as a vehicle moves along the roadway, the vehicle driver will see each of a number of the message display devices in succession. One major advantage of attaching a message display device to a roadside object such as a power pole or telephone pole is that the message display device can draw power for operation of the message display device from the utility for which the pole is provided. Poles such as this are typically provided along the roadside, and normally spaced relatively evenly along the roadside as this allows them to be more accessible for service and replacement and the like. This relatively even spacing of an already in place object allows the introduction of the system of the present invention to be accomplished more easily and with lower revenue outlay. [0012] The message display devices may be provided on purpose-built stands or objects which are specifically provided to support the message display device, but this is less preferred as it will generally increase cost and complexity. The display devices may be attached to any type of device not limited to poles, fixed infrastructure such as bus shelters, rubbish bins, support pylons for roadways and the like.

[0013] The message display devices utilised in the present invention may be simple or complex. Typically, the complexity of the message display devices will be chosen from a spectrum of complexity with display devices of increasing complexity increasing cost but also increasing the complexity of the message that could be conveyed.

[0014] Toward the simpler end of the complexity spectrum, the message display devices may be or include one or more lights. The simplest configuration of this embodiment will typically involve at least one light that can be lit, preferably in at least two colours. More advanced configurations will include a number of lights and as mentioned above, the more lights that are provided, the more complex the message to be conveyed can be.

[0015] Where provided as one or more lights, the one or more lights in the message display device may be oriented horizontally, vertically, or at an angle.

[0016] Any number of lights may be provided in a message display device. For example, one preferred embodiment includes a chain or linear arrangement of an odd number of lights (

[0017] it will typically be easier to convey direction with an odd number of lights) and 5 is a particularly preferred number.

[0018] In an alternative embodiment, a rectangular array of lights may be provided in order to convey more complex messages.

[0019] A single message display device, albeit one that may be or include a number of lights is generally attached to each of the roadside objects.

[0020] Each of the message display devices are preferably provided with an on-board controller in order to control the message display device itself and will typically be linked to a remotely located control device utilising at least one communications pathway such that instructions to the on-board controller can be provided from the remotely located control device to control operation of the message display devices.

[0021] In the simple, light in embodiment, one or more lights on the message display device will typically be lit in order to convey a message. One or more of the lights can be lit in different colours, for example to indicate direction or available lanes for example. The lights can be lit in patterns or with different timings in order to provide a number of different types of messages. Importantly, the message display devices on successively viewed objects on the roadside will normally be different messages in order to allow the driver of the vehicle to view different messages as the driver passes successive message display devices.

[0022] Each of the lights provided will preferably be able to be lit in a number of colours and worldwide convention indicates that the lights should be able to be lit in red, amber and green as required.

[0023] A variety of different messages can be conveyed depending on the number of lights which are each available to be lit in either red, amber or green. For example, all of the lights in a message display device may be lit in green when no accident or obstruction is present on road condition is good. The lights can be changed to amber where road condition has declined and one or more of the lights can be lit in red indicating an accident or obstruction. The lights can be lit in a fixed or constant illumination or alternatively any one or more of the lights may flash to increase visibility or, successively flash to indicate a direction change for a driver for example. Lane closures can be indicated by having some of the lights in a message display device being lit in green and others in amber and/or in red for example. Distance to an accident or obstruction can be provided by having the number of lights in successive message display devices change as the driver or vehicle gets closer to the accident or obstruction.

[0024] It is preferred that the message display devices be easily visible, even in daylight conditions. A particularly preferred message display device includes one or more LEDs. The operation of each of the lights provided in a multi-light device will preferably be individually controllable by the on-board controller in terms of whether each light is lit or not and if lit, in what colour and also if flashing or not. A strobe light is particularly visible or attention-grabbing.

[0025] The message display devices are typically controlled individually by their respective on-board controller but are also all linked to the remotely located control device so that successive message display devices can be operated to provide a pattern of messages to a driver. The at least one communication pathway can be utilised to provide updates in order to change the mode of operation of one or more of the message display devices over time.

[0026] The devices will preferably have a standby mode in which they each primarily show advertising material or the like and an active mode in which they may display warnings or other information. The devices can be switched from the standby mode into the active mode, normally through the remotely located control device. The remotely located control device may be used to control and number of devices. For example, control may be exerted over a number of devices in a particular area or along a road with the remainder of devices operating in the standby mode. The display in both modes will normally be controlled.

[0027] It is preferred that the at least one remote control device is located at a traffic control centre for example such that the instructions can be issued to the message display devices substantially in real time.

[0028] In a more complex embodiment, each message display device may be or include a display screen upon which messages including text and/or at least one image may be displayed. The display screen can be used to display messages as described above but will typically be used to convey more complex messages including visual instructions or information to a driver.

[0029] In the more complex display screen embodiment, the message display device can be used to display advertising when not being used to convey a message in relation to traffic or road conditions. This may be particularly preferred although the cost may be higher for display screens because advertisers may then pay to have their messages displayed on the display screens whilst not in use to convey messages in relation to traffic or road conditions.

[0030] Where provided as a display screen, it is preferred that the display screen be arcuate in order to be more securely mounted to an external portion of a roadside object such as a pole for example.

[0031] As mentioned above, it is preferred that the message display devices of the present invention be fitted to roadside object such as power poles or telephone poles as the message display device can then draw power (which will typically be relatively low) from the utility for which the roadside object is provided. If necessary, a renewable power supply such as a photovoltaic cell may be provided in association with each of the message display devices to either supplement the power supply or to replace the power supply when necessary.

[0032] Regardless of the configuration of the message display device, is preferred that each message display device be weatherproof and as much is possible, tamperproof. Each message display device will typically be provided in a housing and it is preferred that the housing will be closed and sealed.

[0033] The message display device will be provided with an appropriate mounting mechanism to allow mounting of the device relative to the roadside object relative to which it is to be attached, typically securely and preferably permanently. Depending upon the complexity of the message display device, it may be simpler to remove and replace a damaged or non functioning device rather than repair the device.

[0034] It is preferred that the message display device will provide a status indicator to the remotely located control device in order that an operator can monitor the status of each of the message display devices.

[0035] The display devices may be provided with at least one camera in order to capture and preferably transmit images preferably video to a remote location (preferably the control room). A wide-angle camera is preferred. The at least one camera may be actuable and controllable by an operator if desired.

[0036] The display devices may be used to provide warnings and advertising (thereby collecting revenue for poles and wires) and driver education reinforcing the road rules to drivers, such as round about usage, merging and anything else that may be useful or be likely causes of collisions.

[0037] In high housing areas there may be objections to the lighting used or comes about as a result of the display devices. A hood or directional device may be provided for each of the display devices so as to project the light downwardly or with directionality so as to minimise light“spillage” in unwanted directions.

[0038] Other applications for the display devices and system of the present invention include:

• pedestrian/ traffic light poles - when pedestrians push the button mounted on the traffic light, messages can be displayed warning about phone usage and distractions as well as advertising when pedestrians are waiting. These could be smaller versions of the screen display version of the invention so as to fit on half way up the traffic light pole on the corner of each intersection.

• Additionally, the usage of them on the poles near zebra pedestrian crossings so when someone uses a pedestrian crossing with no traffic lights, the usage of the message display system will mean if mounted on the nearest pole (especially if it is a hazardous crossing), it can be triggered to start flashing yellow or orange by a means (either push button or camera) to let motorists know someone is using the crossing which could be very useful in low light situations night and heavy rain.

• messages could be displayed for road works with display devices mounted to poles activated through a wireless communications network, either on site or remotely so that when workmen arrive at the site on the road, they can remotely activate the nearest pole message display screens to either display messages such as‘40 km/h speed’ or flashing yellow‘work men ahead’ or the like which may be especially useful for off highway on high usage roads. Emergency services to be able to remotely activate them on site, for example in the case of an accident, oil on road or other hazards.

• The display devices may include at least one camera to allow functionality as a speed camera.

• The display devices could be actuated to provide weather warnings of approaching

storms.

• If ah power is lost with lines down, the display devices preferably have a battery back up to take over and supply some lighting and warning messages.

[0039] The preferred shape of the pole signs is two‘U’ shaped screens attached to each other around the pole to look like a cylinder.

[0040] Any of the features described herein can be combined in any combination with any one or more of the other features described herein within the scope of the invention.

[0041] The reference to any prior art in this specification is not, and should not be taken as an acknowledgement or any form of suggestion that the prior art forms part of the common general knowledge.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

[0042] Various embodiments of the invention will be described with reference to the following drawings, in which:

[0043] Preferred features, embodiments and variations of the invention may be discerned from the following Detailed Description which provides sufficient information for those skilled in the art to perform the invention. The Detailed Description is not to be regarded as limiting the scope of the preceding Summary of the Invention in any way. The Detailed Description will make reference to a number of drawings as follows: [0044] Figure 1 is a schematic illustration of an adaptive message display system according to a first preferred embodiment of the present invention.

[0045] Figure 2 is a schematic illustration of an adaptive message display system according to a 2nd preferred embodiment of the present invention.

[0046] Figure 3 is a schematic illustration of a message display device configuration according to a preferred embodiment.

[0047] Figure 4 is a schematic illustration of a message display device configuration according to a further preferred embodiment.

[0048] Figure 5 is a schematic illustration of the message display device configuration illustrated in Figure 3 showing a preferred operating mode.

[0049] Figure 6 is a schematic illustration of a message display device configuration according to yet a further preferred embodiment.

[0050] Figure 7 is a schematic illustration of the message display device configuration illustrated in Figure 3 showing an operating mode over successive message display devices.

[0051] Figure 8 is a schematic illustration of the message display device configuration illustrated in Figure 3 showing an alternative operating mode over successive message display devices.

[0052] Figure 9 is a schematic illustration of the message display device configuration illustrated in Figure 3 showing another operating mode over successive message display devices..

[0053] Figure 10 is a schematic illustration of a message display device according to a preferred embodiment.

[0054] Figure 11 is a schematic illustrated of a message display device according to an alternative embodiment.

[0055] Figure 12 is a schematic illustration of a light pole with a message display device of a preferred embodiment mounted relative thereto.

[0056] Figure 13 is a schematic illustration of a light pole with a message display device of a second preferred embodiment mounted relative thereto. [0057] Figure 14 is a schematic illustration of the system of a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

[0058] According to a particularly preferred embodiment of the present invention, an adaptive and adaptable message display system is provided.

[0059] The adaptive and adaptable message display system of the embodiment illustrated in Figure 14 includes a number of message display devices 10, each message display device 10 including an on-board controller and access to at least one communications pathway, each linked to a remotely located control server 11 to provide instructions to the message display devices 10 to display different messages on at least some of the display devices 10 to convey an adaptive message over successively viewed display devices 10.

[0060] The general system architecture illustrated in Figure 14 is best viewed in

combination with the embodiments in Figures and 2 which shows a message display device 10 mounted to each of a number of successive power poles 12 located along the side of a road 13.

In this embodiment, the message display devices 10 will be provided relative to a road 13, on power poles 12 that are provided spaced along the side of the road 13. As a vehicle (not shown) driving on the road moves past the display devices 10, messages can be displayed on one or more of the display devices, and typically over successive display devices 10 in the direction of travel, in order to convey a message to the driver in relation to issues such as accidents, obstructions or difficulties ahead, road condition and the like, and also give the driver an indication of remedial action that the driver can take and/or distance to the accident, obstruction or difficulty. In this way, the message on the message display devices 10 can be changed as and when required and over successive message display devices 10, a message can be displayed that is adapted to the vehicle’s location relative to an accident, hazard or the like.

[0061] As mentioned, the message display devices 10 are typically mounted, one to each of a number of roadside poles 12 (or light poles 21 as illustrated in Figures 12 and 13) and generally all of the poles 12. In this way, as a vehicle moves along the roadway, the vehicle driver will see each of a number of the message display devices 10, each with a message displayed thereon in succession.

[0062] One major advantage of mounting a message display device 10 to a roadside object such as a power pole 12 is that the message display device 10 can draw power for operation of the message display device from the utility for which the pole 12 is provided. A message display device can also be mounted to a purpose-built object which is specifically provided to support the message display device 10, such as the cylindrical pillar 14 illustrated in Figure 1. Objects such as this may be at least partially transparent so that a driver can not only view the message but also have a view of what lies beyond the cylindrical pillar 14 for safety or aesthetics.

[0063] The message display devices 10 utilised in the present invention may be simple or complex.

[0064] Toward the simpler end of the complexity spectrum, the message display devices 10 may be as illustrated in Figure 11 including a housing 15, a number of lights 16 provided relative to a forward portion of the housing 15, an on-board controller (not visible) and an antenna 17 to at least receive instructions from the remotely location control server 11. This embodiment includes a number of lights 16 and as mentioned above, the more lights 16 that are provided, the more complex the message to be conveyed can be.

[0065] Where provided with a number of lights, the lights 16 in the message display device 10 may be oriented horizontally (as shown in Figure 3), vertically, or at an angle (as shown in Figure 4).

[0066] Any number of lights may be provided in a message display device. For example, one preferred embodiment includes a chain or linear arrangement of an odd number of lights (it will typically be easier to convey direction with an odd number of lights) and five lights as illustrated in Figure 3 is a particularly preferred number. In an alternative embodiment, a rectangular array of lights 16 such as that illustrated in Figures 6 and 11) may be provided in order to convey more complex messages (eg directions, arrows, even letters and numerals).

[0067] Each of the message display devices 10 are preferably provided with an on-board controller in order to control the message display device 10 itself and which is linked to a remotely located control server 11 utilising a communications pathway (eg Cloud, WiFi etc) such that instructions to the on-board controller of the message display device 10 can be provided from the remotely located control server 11 to control operation of the message display devices 10.

[0068] In the embodiments illustrated in Figures 5 to 9, one or more lights 16 on the message display device 10 are lit in order to convey a message.

[0069] Importantly, the message display devices 10 on successively viewed poles 12 on the roadside will normally be different messages in order to allow the driver of the vehicle to view different messages as the driver passes successive message display devices 10.

[0070] Each of the lights provided will preferably be able to be lit in a number of colours and worldwide convention indicates that the lights should be able to be lit in red, amber and green as required. A variety of different messages can be conveyed depending on the number of lights which are each available to be lit in either red, amber or green. For example, all of the lights in a message display device may be lit in green when no accident or obstruction is present on road condition is good. The lights can be changed to amber where road condition has declined and one or more of the lights can be lit in red indicating an accident or obstruction.

[0071] The lights can be lit in a fixed or constant illumination or alternatively any one or more of the lights may flash to increase visibility or, successively flash across the width of the device to indicate a direction change for a driver for example, such as illustrated in Figure 5.

[0072] Distance to an accident or obstruction can be provided by having the number of lights in successive message display devices change as the driver or vehicle gets closer to the accident or obstruction such as illustrated in Figure 7.

[0073] Fane closures can be indicated by having some of the lights in a message display device being lit in green and others in amber and/or in red for example. As shown in Figure 8, lighting a different single light in successive message display devices can be used to indicate a merge direction for example.

[0074] In some embodiments such as that illustrated in Figure 9, the banks of lights 16 may alternate flashing red then white to indicate a road hazard.

[0075] It is preferred that the message display devices be easily visible, even in daylight conditions. A particularly preferred message display device includes one or more FEDs.

[0076] The message display devices are typically controlled individually by their respective on-board controller but are also all linked to the server 11 of the remotely located control centre 18 (shown in Figure 14) so that successive message display devices 10 can be operated to provide a pattern of messages to a driver. The at least one communication pathway can be utilised to provide updates in order to change the mode of operation of one or more of the message display devices 10 over time.

[0077] It is preferred that the at least one remotely located control server 11 is located at a traffic control centre 18 for example such that the instructions can be issued to the message display devices 10 substantially in real time as required according to conditions and situations.

[0078] In a more complex embodiment, an example of which is illustrated in Figure 10, each message display device 10 includes a display screen 19 upon which messages including text and/or at least one image may be displayed which is linked to the server 11 of the remotely located control centre 18 (shown in Figure 14) via a cloud based communications pathway 20 and antenna 17. The display screen 19 can be used to display messages more complex messages including visual instructions or information to a driver.

[0079] In the more complex display screen embodiment, the display screen 19 can be used to display advertising when not being used to convey a message in relation to traffic or road conditions. This may be particularly preferred although the cost may be higher for display screens because advertisers may then pay to have their messages displayed on the display screens 19 whilst not in use to convey messages in relation to traffic or road conditions.

[0080] Where provided as a display screen 19, it is preferred that the display screen 19 is arcuate in order to be more securely mounted to an external portion of a roadside object such as a pole 12 for example.

[0081] As mentioned above, it is preferred that the message display devices 10 of the present invention be fitted to roadside object such as power poles 12 as the message display device 10 can then draw power (which will typically be relatively low) from the utility for which the roadside object is provided. If necessary, a renewable power supply such as a photovoltaic cell may be provided in association with each of the message display devices to either supplement the power supply or to replace the power supply when necessary.

[0082] Regardless of the configuration of the message display device 10, is preferred that each message display device 10 be weatherproof and as much is possible, tamperproof. Each message display device 10 will typically be provided in a housing 15 and it is preferred that the housing 15 will be closed and sealed.

[0083] The message display device will be provided with an appropriate mounting mechanism to allow mounting of the device relative to the roadside object relative to which it is to be attached, typically securely and preferably permanently. Depending upon the complexity of the message display device, it may be simpler to remove and replace a damaged or non functioning device rather than repair the device.

[0084] It is preferred that the message display device will provide a status indicator to the remotely located control server 11 in order that an operator can monitor the status of each of the message display devices 10.

[0085] In this way, as a vehicle moves along the roadway, the vehicle driver will see each of a number of the message display devices 10, each with a message displayed thereon in succession.

[0086] In the present specification and claims (if any), the word‘comprising’ and its derivatives including‘comprises’ and‘comprise’ include each of the stated integers but does not exclude the inclusion of one or more further integers.

[0087] Reference throughout this specification to‘one embodiment’ or‘an embodiment’ means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment of the present invention. Thus, the appearance of the phrases‘in one embodiment’ or‘in an embodiment’ in various places throughout this specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment.

Furthermore, the particular features, structures, or characteristics may be combined in any suitable manner in one or more combinations.