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Field operational test carried out within research project simTD proves: Car-to-x communication is ready for everyday use
Perceiving road obstacles before you can see them. Recognizing dangers before they become an immediate threat: simTD is shaping the future of road safety and mobility via carto- x communication and its applications. Car-to-x communication enables vehicles to exchange information both with each other and with the traffic infrastructure.
Project coordinator Dr. Christian Weiss summarizes: "Within the framework of the research project simTD the feasibility of car-to-x communication for everyday use was proven in one of the most extensive field tests worldwide. The exchange of information between vehicles, as well as between vehicles and traffic infrastructure, can make a significant contribution to safety, comfort and efficiency in road traffic." Dr. Weiss adds: "Vehicles equipped with car-tox technology have a significantly larger 'field of view' than conventional vehicles without carto- x systems. This enlarged telematics horizon represents an enormous added value - for both individual drivers and the public sector."
Car-to-x communication links vehicles and infrastructure in an electronic network. This allows information to be exchanged between different vehicles as well as between vehicles and traffic infrastructure, such as variable message signs and traffic lights. Thus vehicles coming up behind and oncoming vehicles can be alerted early on to potential road hazards so that appropriate action can be taken on time. Current road and traffic information is transmitted anonymously to traffic control centers, which can then be used to accurately predict developments in the traffic situation and thus effectively implement targeted traffic control measures. The combined information is also made available to drivers, who can adapt travel routes accordingly and arrive at their destination quickly, safely and relaxed. This also reduces CO2 emissions in road traffic.
The radio technology developed for the system is based on the established wireless LAN standard. Each simTD vehicle uses its onboard sensors to detect traffic events, such as traffic jams. This information is communicated from the ITS Vehicle Station (IVS) to other vehicles and to ITS Roadside Stations (IRS), the roadside system equivalent to the vehicles' on-board system. The vehicle informs the driver and issues a visual and auditory warning when appropriate.
The simTD test center, which acts as the ITS Central Station (ICS), receives information from the IRS. simTD also uses mobile phone technologies such as UMTS to transmit car-to-x messages. This helps bridging gaps in the network and will support the introduction of the system.
Communication technology significantly extends the driver's field of view. Critical or debilitating situations can be mitigated by foresighted driving.
When an emergency vehicle is approaching, the weather suddenly turns bad or a traffic jam is forming up ahead, the driver can be warned by the simTD system. Car-to-x communication also supports the integration of additional services: drivers in their vehicles can be informed, for example, of available parking in the vicinity.
Field test and results
The test fleet comprised 120 vehicles and three motorcycles. All vehicles were equipped with the same technology. In the course of the field test, a total of more than 41,000 test hours and over 1,650,000 kilometers were clocked in the vehicles. Up to 120,000 km were driven per week.
The field test activities were complemented by tests with driving and traffic simulators. simTD functions were thus tested to determine, e.g., whether and how they enable better handling of safety-critical situations. With the help of the simulations it was possible to measure the effect of the simTD messages under uniform test conditions. Conclusion: the tested simTD functions can significantly improve safety during the journey.
The main goal of the simTD field test was to prove the practical viability of the system. The scientists could prove, that under realistic conditions car-to-x communication between vehicles, the ITS Roadside Stations and the ITS Central Stations is working well.
Society as a whole will benefit from the introduction of the simTD functions or rather car-to-x based functions due to increased driving and traffic safety. This is due to the fact that car-to-x communication can help to prevent accidents. Furthermore, improved mobility, e.g. by optimized route management, will lead to savings in time and fuel with a resulting reduction in CO2 emissions and vehicle operating costs.
Accident simulations were also carried out to be able to evaluate the efficiency of the simTD functions that directly influence driving and traffic safety. The economic potential was subsequently determined based on the premise of full penetration, a reliable technological system and acceptance. The functions that provided the greatest benefits were the Electronic Brake Light, the Intersection and Cross Traffic Assistant and the Traffic Sign Assistant/Warning.
A full penetration with simTD functions could save 6.5 billion euros of annual economic costs from traffic accidents. Furthermore, the resulting efficiency effects and reduced environmental pollution could bring a macroeconomic benefit of 4.9 billion Euros.
Car-to-x was able to affirm its capability under real-life conditions; the underlying concepts were confirmed. The hybrid system approach was also proven effective: both wireless LANbased and cellular radio communications were tested successfully in the field. A major advantage of car-to-x technology is enabling communication in obstructed view scenarios, for example providing a "virtual" look around a corner at an intersection or behind a truck ahead.
This key feature too was proven effective in the investigated field test scenarios.
The information exchange between vehicles and traffic control centres led to a more accurate knowledge of traffic conditions and an earlier detection of relevant traffic events.
The data show that cellular radio technology is suitable for non-safety-related functions. The field test confirmed the virtues of the hybrid concept, deploying both forms of communications technology for car-to-x.
Both the private and public sectors must work together from the earliest phase of the car-to-x market launch, so that the full force of the benefits can be experienced right from the start. To this end, automobile manufacturers, road operators and other key participants will have to equip vehicles and elements of roadside infrastructure with ITS G5 and mobile phone systems. The roadside infrastructure will be integrated into a traffic management system. The results of simTD provide support for the stakeholders' deployment decision of car-to-x technology.
Introduction is set to begin with two applications investigated within the simTD function roadworks information system: Roadworks Warning and Detection of Traffic Conditions in the vicinity of the respective road construction sites. This initiative will be realized from 2015 within the framework of a public-private partnership called 'Cooperative ITS Corridor Rotterdam - Frankfurt am Main - Vienna'. With this application even at the beginning of deployment it is expected that drivers will experience immediate benefits and construction workers will profit from improved safety.
Standardizing and data protection
The research project simTD contributed significantly to the standardization process of car-tocar messaging formats and interfaces for traffic signal control. Test scenarios developed in simTD were provided to the standardization body ETSI as a basis for the further development of conformity assessment and interoperability tests.
Vehicle-related data will be transmitted anonymously only. Encryption techniques will be used to guard this information.
simTD is a joint project by leading German automotive manufacturers, component suppliers, telecommunication companies, research institutions and public authorities. The simTD consortium comprises: Adam Opel AG; AUDI AG; BMW AG - BMW Forschung und Technik GmbH; Daimler AG (project management); Ford Forschungszentrum Aachen GmbH; Volkswagen AG; Robert Bosch GmbH; Continental; Deutsche Telekom AG; Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V.; German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence GmbH (DFKI), Technische Universität Berlin; Technische Universität Munich; Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft des Saarlandes; Universität Würzburg; Hessen Mobil - Road and Traffic Management; Stadt Frankfurt am Main.
The project was funded and supported by the Federal Ministriy for Economics and Technology (BMWi), the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development (BMVBS). simTD was supported by the state of Hessen, the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) and the Car 2 Car Communication Consortium.
You will find further information in the Internet at: http://www.simTD.de
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