A Survey on Vehicular Social Networks

This article surveys recent literature on Vehicular Social Networks that are a particular class of vehicular ad hoc networks, characterized by social aspects and features. Starting from this pillar, we investigate perspectives of next generation vehicles under the assumption of social networking for vehicular applications (i.e., safety and entertainment applications). This paper plays a role as a starting point about socially-inspired vehicles, and main related applications, as well as communication techniques. Vehicular communications can be considered as the “first social network for automobiles”, since each driver can share data with other neighbors. As an instance, heavy traffic is a common occurrence in some areas on the roads (e.g., at intersections, taxi loading/unloading areas, and so on); as a consequence, roads become a popular social place for vehicles to connect to each other. Human factors are then involved in vehicular ad hoc networks, not only due to the safety related applications, but also for entertainment purpose.

 Social characteristics and human behavior largely impact on vehicular ad hoc networks, and this arises to the vehicular social networks, which are formed when vehicles (individuals) “socialize” and share common interests. In this paper, we provide a survey on main features of vehicular social networks, from novel emerging technologies to social aspects used for mobile applications, as well as main issues and challenges. Vehicular social networks are described as decentralized opportunistic communication networks formed among vehicles. They exploit mobility aspects, and basics of traditional social networks, in order to create novel approaches of message exchange through the detection of dynamic social structures. An overview of the main state-of-the-art on safety and entertainment applications relying on social networking solutions is also provided.