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Vehicle-to-roadside (V2R) communications enable vehicular networks to support a wide range of applications for enhancing the efficiency of road transportation. While existing work focused on non-cooperative techniques for V2R communications between vehicles and roadside units (RSUs), this paper investigates novel cooperative strategies among the RSUs in a vehicular network. We propose a scheme whereby, through cooperation, the RSUs in a vehicular network can coordinate the classes of data being transmitted through V2R communication links to the vehicles. This scheme improves the diversity of the information circulating in the network while exploiting the underlying content-sharing vehicle-to-vehicle communication network. We model the problem as a coalition formation game with transferable utility and we propose an algorithm for forming coalitions among the RSUs. For coalition formation, each RSU can take an individual decision to join or leave a coalition, depending on its utility which accounts for the generated revenues and the costs for coalition coordination. We show that the RSUs can self-organize into a Nash-stable partition and adapt this partition to environmental changes. Simulation results show that, depending on different scenarios, coalition formation presents a performance improvement, in terms of the average payoff per RSU, ranging between 20.5% and 33.2%, relative to the non-cooperative case.
Date of Publication: January 2011