A €53 million research project has started in Frankfurt testing car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communications, intended to make roads safer by removing human error in driving decisions - to close in on development of the ‘intelligent vehicle’.
The project, that runs to the end of the year, involves a fleet of 120 cars, provided by participants Audi, BMW, Daimler, Ford, Opel, and Volkswagen drien on the roads of Frankfurt. The Safe Intelligent Mobility – Testfield Germany project is designed to test the potential of intelligent communication systems for improved road safety and mobility.
The consortium also includes Bosch, Continental, Deutsche Telekom, regional infrastructure operators and German research institutions (Technische Universität München und Berlin, Universität Würzburg, Fraunhofer).
Technologies being tested as part of the simTD research project include:
Electronic Brake Light: which delivers a message from the lead vehicle to a following vehicle if an emergency braking action. Ford is leading the development and integration of this application
Obstacle Warning system: which enables a vehicle to inform other potential hazardous obstacles on the road
Traffic Sign Assistant: this remains in continuous contact with traffic management centres to access up-to-date information on variable speed limits, temporary restrictions and diversions; as well as providing details of things such as fixed speed limits and right of way.
Public Traffic Management: which provides exact traffic prognosis. This includes identifying likely traffic scenarios and their impact at the point in the journey when they are encountered rather than at the point of departure
In-car internet access: which, for example, can enable the driver to reserve and pay for parking en-route.
Ford testing 20 adapted S-MAX cars for simTD
Ford says it’s contributing twenty specially equipped Ford S-MAX’s to the fleet of 120 in this project.
“Car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communications represent the next major advancements in vehicle safety,” says Paul Mascarenas, CTO and vice president, Ford Research and Innovation. “Ford is committed to further real-world testing here and around the world with the goal of implementation in the foreseeable future.”
The funding for the simTD project is approximately €53 million, of which €30 million of direct project promotional support has been provided by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology together with the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
“The vehicles will cover thousands of kilometres in test drives and evaluations to gather valuable research data from every-day driving scenarios,” adds Christian Ress, technical expert, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering.
Communication Control Units and applications from Continental
Continental's Chassis & Safety Division have contributed the Communication Control Unit (CCU) which enables information to be shared via communication channels such as UMTS or automotive WLAN. Positioning and time synchronization data can also be accessed via GPS.
This Communication Control Unit and the Vehicle Application Unit (developed by project partner Bosch within the simTD project), form the ITS (Intelligent Transportation Systems) vehicle station that is installed in all simTD test vehicles.
The main challenge during development was to standardize the communication processes outside the vehicle to create a common basis for sharing cross-vehicle information.
ITS vehicle station runs diplays Road Works Information System, the Congestion Warning, Advanced Route Guidance and Internet-Based Services. These display warnings about the end of a traffic jam hidden round a bend, the position and length of a section of roadworks and the traffic situation in that section. Navigation routes can also be changed dynamically according to the prevailing traffic situation.
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