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Michigan Pushes Willow Run, UK Invests in CAV Efforts

Burney Simpson

The state of Michigan and the United Kingdom continue to put money into autonomous driving research with the belief that the investments will pay dividends.

The Michigan Strategic Fund will spend $1.2 million to purchase the 311 acre Willow Run site in Ypsilanti Township where it plans to operate the American Center for Mobility (ACM).

Backers want the ACM to become a world center for the development and testing of connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technology.

On Friday, Michigan politicos met with US Department of Transportation leadership to request the ACM be named a national testing and validation center, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Michigan Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow, along with Rep. Debbie Dingell, met with DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx and Mark Rosekind, director of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

acm1Peters told the newspaper that CAV technology should be standardized to ensure that these vehicles can ‘talk’ to each other using vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications.

Giving the ACM the authority to validate CAV technology could give it a competitive advantage over established test sites like the Va Tech Transportation Institute in Blacksburg, Va.

The ACM is a joint initiative of the University of Michigan, Business Leaders for Michigan, Ann Arbor SPARK, the Michigan Department of Transportation, and the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

Chief of the ACM project John Maddox told MLive that buying Willow Run will prove to be a milestone in CAV development.

“The ability to build out Willow Run with its deep historic innovative roots to now create a center to safely validate connected and automated technology is an incredible opportunity for not just the state of Michigan, but also our country,” Maddox said.

A massive factory on the Willow Run site became known during World War II as the Fortress of Democracy as workers churned out thousands of B-24 bombers. The factory later was used as a GM powertrain facility.

$40 MILLION GRANT

In the United Kingdom the government announced it would soon launch a competition for a $40 million grant for research and development of innovative connected and autonomous vehicle technologies.

The money comes from the Intelligent Mobility Fund. In February the Fund awarded $26.5 million to a number of projects to promote driverless technology research.

There’s another $25 million fund that is helping to pay for driverless car projects in Greenwich and Bristol, and a joint project in Milton Keynes and Coventry.

Graphics by Ann Arbor Spark.

Land Rover Video Demos Off-Road V2V Connected SUVs

A video from Jaguar Land Rover shows the firm’s luxury off-road SUVs conducting vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) communications, and automatically taking control of a vehicle when the road surface changes.

The video is posted on The Auto Channel YouTube site. It is two videos from Jaguar Land Rover pasted together, then duplicated in what appears to be a glitch. There’s is no voice over describing the activity.

The vehicles are equipped with a mix of cameras, lidar, radar and ultrasonic sound, according to engadget.  Jaguar Land Rover did not report when all the technology in the video would be available commercially.

The video shows two of the Land Rovers in an off-road test area with difficult conditions performing what the auto OEM calls ‘Connected Convoy’ research, or a form of vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) communications.

The demo shows a front car driving through the difficult road area and stopping after about 50 yards, where the driver decides to change his vehicle’s Terrain Response to adapt to conditions.

That change is automatically transmitted wirelessly to car 2, where the driver can decide whether to make the same change.

In another capability, car 1 travels over some rocks and hilly terrain, and the vehicle wirelessly shares wheel slip and suspension data with the rear car. In this demo, car 2 activates its Optimum Terrain Response mode to better handle the road.

The vehicles also apply technology that helps them to identify and predict upcoming road surface changes.

A camera on the front of a vehicle scans the road ahead and finds it will change from asphalt to gravel. The vehicle then prompts the driver to change the terrain response mode.

That capability is pushed further when the vehicle automatically reduces speed to adjust to a new road surface, in this case standing water about a foot deep. The vehicle then automatically returns to its previous speed when the car has driven past the water.

Jaguar Land Rover is a UK-based subsidiary of India’s Tata Motors.

East Coast DOT’s Get Ready for Connected & Automated Vehicles

East Coast transportation officials gathered this week near Baltimore to catch up with the latest in autonomous activity at the ‘Connected & Automated Vehicles: What States Need to Know’ conference.

The event was organized and led by the I-95 Corridor Coalition, a partnership of state departments of transportation and related agencies in the 16-state region from Maine to Florida. Roads in these states account for 16 percent of the nation’s road miles and 35 percent of vehicle miles traveled.

The conference was designed to explain the importance of connected and automated technology, update officials on activities in the sector nationwide, and help assist states in developing next steps, said Dr. Trish Hendren, executive director of the Coalition.

About 200 registered for the conference at the Maritime Institute in Linthicum, Md.

Much of the conference was devoted to officials from state DOTs and related agencies updating each other on activities within their borders.

Here are some highlights from the first day of the conference –

SAVING MONEY

A number of state DOT officials stressed how connected technology may help save the agency some bucks. Virginia DOT’s Dean Gustafson noted that Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) communications could mean the elimination of various signs and traffic signals that cost as much as $1 billion to develop, install, maintain.

Joah Sapphire, who has worked on the New York DOT’s connected efforts for Global Dynamic Group, suggested that a DOT could look at individual line items and find savings. For example, information gathered through connected tech could help New York reduce the $417 million it spends annually on salt and sand to treat roads during bad weather.

New York is already testing driverless trucks to be used in work zones that could make the space safer for crews, said Sapphire.

Gustafson said that states have to work together so communication systems work across borders. He acknowledged that states can be very competitive, especially when they seek research dollars or revenues from technology.

“It will be hard to compete with Michigan and the auto industry there. And Silicon Valley and venture capital (in California),” said Gustafson, state operations engineer. 

(However, Virginia is no slouch, busy testing with the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, expanding its testbed last year to include parts of Washington Beltway, the Federal Highway Administration working on parts of Virginia’s Connected Corridors, and more ongoing projects.)

Gregory C. Johnson, state highway administrator for Maryland, said that states should look to ways to monetize the V2I technology and the highway land they own. “I’m looking for a state to come up with that magic bullet (of monetization) so I can copy them,” said Johnson.

IS STAFF PREPARED?

Gene Donaldson, TMC operations manager with the Delaware DOT, said he has insisted the state install information-gathering technology whenever it lays down highways. And he teased the crowd by saying a certain firm asked Delaware if it could run its autonomous vehicle across the state to Pennsylvania. (The answer was yes as Delaware law doesn’t forbid it, said Donaldson. He wouldn’t name the firm.)

However, he warned that schools aren’t training enough people today in technology already installed, like traffic signals. How do you take advantage of V2I technology if you don’t have staff ready to work with it, asked Donaldson.

TESTING

Several officials gave reports of strong research they are doing on connected and autonomous technology.

Dr. Gene McHale of the FHWA talked about research conducted in the Washington, D.C. metro area. The FHWA is testing connected vehicle tech with the 5.9 GHz band at nearby air bases and labs, and on I-66 in Virginia. One finding — 22 percent fuel savings when fully automated ‘glide path’ systems are used so vehicles avoid stopping at intersections.

Mark Kopko, manager of advanced vehicle technology with the Pennsylvania DOT, said the state is operating three testbeds with more than 20 intersections equipped with DSRC technology around Pittsburgh. Keystone State’s jewel is Carnegie Mellon, a robotics and autonomous technology leader.

The Pennsylvania legislature could soon consider SB 1268 that will allow NHTSA Level 4 testing, said Kopko. If approved, Pennsylvania will have greater leeway in driverless testing, and it already has plans regarding truck platooning.

MORGAN STANLEY

Adam Jonas, a transportation analyst with Morgan Stanley, woke up the crowd after lunch with a presentation on the changes coming to the transportation business.

The ‘shared autonomy’ industry will be led by giants like Apple and Google who develop driverless vehicles that offer personalized transportation services akin to what Uber and Lyft are doing today, Jonas predicted.

People worldwide now ride a total of 10 trillion miles annually, said Jonas, and at $1 a mile, the market for transporting people is $10 trillion.

That’s an intriguing figure but the real money comes when the ‘megafleet’ operators sell to advertisers and others the eyeballs of riders sitting in the driverless cars.

Increased safety and reduction in deaths and injuries that connected technology brings will encourage citizens to shift to driverless vehicles and give up some privacy, Jonas argued.

Also, Jonas predicted a public/private partnership between a city and business in 2018 or 2019 will set aside an area exclusive to operating connected and/or automated vehicles. He declined to name the city.

DSRC AND COMMENTS TO THE FCC

Several speakers suggested the state officials may want to leave comments for the Federal Communications Commission as it considers whether to open up the 5.9 GHz spectrum to Wi-Fi communications.

In brief, the federal government set this section of the spectrum aside in 1999 for transportation safety messages using Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC). Connected vehicle proponents want to keep this space for this use as the technology grows.

Telecommunications firms have asked the FCC to allow them to use at least part of the 5.9 band. These firms say they will use it to offer bandwidth for Wi-Fi as it surges in popularity.

“The wireless community is very vocal,” said Blair Anderson, deputy administrator with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Dr. Gummada Murthy, associate director, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, is fighting to keep the band reserved for transportation-related uses.  

“We don’t want to share it unless you can prove that sharing it will not compromise safety,” said Murthy.

He’s holding a webinar on June 30 for state DOT and local officials that will encourage them to send official comments to the FCC on DSRC.

ITS AMERICA 2016

A number of these East Coast speakers attended last week’s ITS America 2016 conference in San Jose. General impression was the technology was impressive, the number of connected and autonomous projects was impressive, the conference was impressive. Etc.

HERE HEATS UP

HERE announced it had been selected by the North Carolina Department of Transportation to provide its real-time traffic data for the state’s roadways. North Carolina joins seven other East Coast states in using Here’s Real-time Traffic Services.

North Carolina DOT chose Here through the I-95 Corridor Coalition’s Vehicle Probe Project that is designed so states and others can purchase, validate and share data.

DRUMMERS

Interesting to see who is spending some money to catch the eye of East Coast transportation officials. Conference sponsors included Ch2m, HNTB, Inrix, Jacobs, National Energy Research Laboratory (NREL), and WSP/Parsons Brinckerhoff.

Exhibitors included Cambridge Systematics, CATT Lab from the University of Maryland, Consensus Systems Technologies, HERE, Inrix, Kapsch TrafficCom, Kimley-Horn, NREL, and Southwest Research Institute.

The I-95 Corridor Coalition addresses such major topics as alternative transportation system funding, freight supply chain, MAP-21, FAST Act implementation, tolling issues, and connected and automated vehicles.

Riders Get on the V2I Bus with Smart Stop App

Burney Simpson

A public-transit oriented smart phone application using V2I (Vehicle-To-Infrastructure) communications was tested successfully at the ITS-America 2016 conference in San Jose, setting the stage for further development.

The “Smart Stop” app uses Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC) Wi-Fi technology to allow waiting bus passengers and buses to communicate with each other.

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) teamed up with Smart Stop developers Renesas Electronics America Inc. and eTrans Systems to test the app through three different demonstrations with 40-foot buses.

“The test went very well,” said Gary Miskell, chief information officer for the Authority. “This was the proof of concept. Now that we passed we can get funding (and move forward) on real development.”

The waiting passenger uses her smart phone or a kiosk touch screen to send a stop request with the Smart Stop app. That stop request informs the Santa Clara system she is at a specific stop waiting for a specific bus.

The stop request goes to a Road Side Unit that transmits it to the bus on-board unit which generates an audible and visual alert to the driver.

Smart Stop will notify the passenger through her smartphone or kiosk that the bus is approaching her stop.

For connected vehicle proponents the success of the test shows that DSRC can be used to make roads safer and more efficient. Smart Stop is an example of V2I technology that connects a fleet system with infrastructure (the Road Side Unit) by using Wi-Fi communications.

That’s great for the techies, but Miskell is looking to Smart Stop as something that can help him solve a day-to-day problem.

“Sometimes drivers don’t see the waiting person. But a stop request makes the driver stop,” he said.

PASSENGER CONTROL

That gives passengers a greater sense of control, which all transit riders appreciate, but it is “especially important for those with disabilities,” said Miskell.

That suggests that the app’s capabilities might be expanded to better serve passengers with special needs, such as those in wheel chairs and those with bikes.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, cautions Miskell.

In the near term he’d like to conduct a test of Smart Stop on select VTA routes with a limited number of passengers.

“We’ll get some customer feedback, track usage, and take it to the steering committee,” said Miskell.

If they like it, the VTA could put more funding behind the technology. And that’s when you get DSRC V2I technology solving day to day problems.

Google and Qualcomm Maneuver into Connected Car Market

Susan Beardslee

Susan Beardslee is a senior analyst, ABI Research, who provides global automotive and vehicle research coverage.

Google I/O demo’d a Maserati concept car with an embedded Android N OS, through an Automotive Development Platform (ADP) on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820.  The plan is to use Android as a common platform, heading further in infotainment and into OEM’s connected cars.  Intrinsyc will be the distributor for the open ADP’s to develop, test and optimize.

Next Generation Android N has extensions that offer greater head unit alignment, allowing automakers to create their own apps and identity as well as enable various automotive controls. It offers many new car features including support for AM/FM radio, HVAC controls, rear-view cameras, a Bluetooth stack, media streaming, multi-channel audio, all digital instrument clusters, and an infotainment user interface design.

The intent is to provide automotive OEMs with a “turn-key” platform, including product refreshes. The expectation is auto OEM’s will be able to customize their platforms to complement their brand, while maintaining a consistent look for branded apps like Facebook or Instagram.  Google can support OEM’s by solidifying the development process and creating an extensive apps platform for vehicles.  At present, this remains a concept to demonstrate Android N automotive capabilities. There is no stated launch timing or brand, but an acknowledgement that cars are now a covered form factor.

Visit ABI Research for more.

Google wants to go deeper into both the car’s functionality as well as the user experience in the vehicle. Android Auto debuted at I/O two years ago, with an app launched the following year, which has been competing with offerings such as Apple’s Car Play for auto infotainment.  Android Auto, although adopted by numerous OEMs, requires a compatible car or aftermarket device, along with an Android enabled phone updated with version 5.0 or greater.

The Android N OS differs from “walled garden” competitors, differentiating with a scalable, open, ETE solution.  The offering is likely to extend from design to the potential for Over the Air (OTA) updates to keep the solutions up to date versus software that is already outdated once the vehicle rolls off the production line. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips provide speed, extensive brand recognition and additional relationships with auto OEM’s.

The move to Android N and the Qualcomm partnership brings additional competition including Microsoft Windows Embedded, Blackberry’s QNX as well as multiple Linux versions.  Auto OEM’s will also be able to continue providing Apple CarPlay.

In addition, Google’s desire to move deeper into the car and further into the user experience will present a challenge with the very customers that they are trying to attract.  Both want to control the experience and relationship with the customer.  Although Google offers the OEM’s an opportunity to customize, the underlying data and analytics ownership, as well as future opportunities for recurring revenue from the vehicle and owner are far from resolved.

Finally, an embedded Android N will impact the automotive OEM’s head unit designs.  Time will tell if this is enough of a value proposition and a competitive differentiation.

For more information, visit abiresearch.

Army to Test DSRC on Michigan’s I-69 in June

Burney Simpson

Michigan’s I-69 soon will become the first public highway to host a US Army test of the functionality of Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) with connected vehicles.

The late June demonstration of four line-haul trailers on Interstate 69 will be conducted by the US Army’s Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).

“The radio testing is a necessary step before any future testing of driver-optional features on the vehicle can be conducted,” according to an Army spokesperson.

Reports earlier this year said the vehicles would be outfitted with LiDAR, radar, sensors, and other driverless equipment. A test will be conducted of Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) and Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) communications (See “Video-Army to Invade Michigan with Connected Trucks”).

DSRC is a medium- to short-range wireless communications capability that permits high-data transmission of communications-based safety information.

The Army and TARDEC have researched a variety of autonomous vehicle and robotic equipment applications (see “Army Robotics, Unmanned Tech on the March”). One recent concept is a ‘robotics vanguard’ that could be the first line of soldiers during an offensive maneuver.

In January, TARDEC demonstrated its Autonomous Mobility Appliqué System in Texas. The AMAS uses a programmable robotics kit, instead of a soldier, to drive a vehicle.

Michigan is in the midst of an aggressive push into autonomous vehicle research and development.

It is developing a 330-acre site that will be dedicated primarily to autonomous vehicle research and testing. The site is on the Willow Run ground where nearly 9,000 bombers were built during World War II, and near the 32-acre Mcity test bed that opened last year.

And Michigan state legislators are currently considering a series of bills that open up the state’s roads to driverless vehicles. One would allow cars to travel Michigan without a human driver in the vehicle, matching a law just enacted in Florida.

In May, Google announced it would open a driverless car development center in Novi, expanding its work into the Upper Midwest’s four-season climate.

“We’re the center of mobility and we’re not going to take that for granted,” MDOT Director Kirk Steudle told The Detroit News. “We’re going to continue to push that the way mobility gets framed in the future gets developed in Michigan.”

Steudle and TARDEC Director Dr. Paul Rogers are scheduled to speak at the June demonstration.

I-69 runs from Port Huron west to the state capitol of Lansing and south to Indiana.

Connected, Automated Vehicles Can Reduce Fuel Use: NREL

Burney Simpson

Fuel savings and lower greenhouse gas emissions are two potential benefits of the shift to connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technology, according to tests conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

The laboratory, a subset of the U.S. Department of Energy, is ramping up its research on CAV and Transportation as a System (TAAS) technology, said Jeffrey Gonder, a senior engineer and researcher.

In a test conducted with GM, NREL found that connected vehicles traveling ‘Green Routes’ could garner energy savings of 5 percent. The downside was that the green routing approach also meant longer travel times.

The test was conducted with the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt vehicle powered with a battery pack, drive unit, and gas-powered engine.

The Volt uses GM’s OnStar system that gives it real-time information on driving routes, traffic and road topology, according to Connectivity-Enhanced Route Selection and Adaptive Control for the Chevrolet Volt.

The 5 percent energy savings is modest but it can be achieved with software adjustments and no change in the engine, said Gonder.

A second study on truck platooning used the Peloton Technology system.

It found that fuel savings decreased as the following truck drove closer to the lead truck. Following too close cut air flow to the second truck, causing its cooling fan to work harder and the engine to burn more fuel.

The NREL study found that a two-truck platooning system achieved its optimum fuel savings with a following distance of 50 feet at a speed of 65 MPH.

The study was highlighted in Assessing the Energy Impact of Connected and Automated Vehicle (CAV) Technologies.

Gonder said NREL plans to show additional test results with presentation posters at the Automated Vehicles Symposium running July 19-21 in San Francisco.

Studies of CAVs impact on energy and greenhouse gas emissions are being conducted by NREL, the Argonne National Laboratory, the Idaho National Laboratory, and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The studies are based on five focus area ‘pillars’ – mobility decision science, connectivity and automation, multi-modal, urban science, and vehicles and infrastructure.

Photo by NREL, 2012.

eTrans Systems To Demonstrate Connected Vehicle Solutions at ITS America [Sponsored Content]

Live demonstrations of connected and automated vehicle apps will be conducted by rising software developer eTrans Systems at the ITS America Show in San Jose this month.

ETrans will demonstrate its solutions with Renesas, a global supplier of technology to the automotive industry, and with the Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority (VTA).

The ITS America 2016 show runs at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center June 12-16 with the demos scheduled for June 13-15.

The eTrans, Renesas demo features a series of V2V (Vehicle-to-Vehicle) and V2I (Vehicle-to-Infrastructure) applications including:

  • V2V Collision Avoidance
  • V2I Traffic Light Interaction
  • V2V Automated Processing where a camera will detect vehicles and eTrans applications will generate Basic Safety Messages on their behalf.

With the VTA, eTrans will demonstrate the SmartStop application which allows customers to use their smartphones to request a bus and notifies the bus driver of the request. The VTA expects the system to substantially improve service to its customers and eliminate unnecessary stops, leading to reduced fuel consumption.

Visitors to eTrans in booth #436 will see a demonstration of:

  • The Omnisight system viewer showcasing all the demos near the convention center;
  • Insight, the eTrans application for monitoring individual DSRC systems;
  • The Pedestrian detection app that ‘sees’ pedestrians in crosswalks and other specified areas. The app can control nearby traffic lights and use DSRC to send messages to drivers, notifying them of the pedestrian.

The eTrans booth also features VSDP, the revolutionary V2x Software Development Platform that provides all the necessary tools for the rapid development, testing and maintenance of cutting-edge V2x and DSRC solutions. It features robust functionality for DSRC messaging, input data generation, simulation and resulting data analysis.

VSDP allows for applications to be coded once for a variety of hardware platforms including Renesas, Cohda and Arada/Lear. Additionally, VSDP includes an integrated test environment that easily permits testing in the lab, over the air and on the road. This allows for rapid turnaround of system changes. A variety of display options means quick insight into what is happening within your application.

“With VSDP, companies can cut down their development and test time by over 50 percent, thus enjoying faster time to market and lower costs,” said Robert Baily, eTrans CTO.

About eTrans Systems:

Driverless cars, connected vehicles and other technologies are revolutionizing transportation. The driving factor making this happen is secure connected software. eTrans Systems specializes in the development of secure connected vehicle systems. The founders of eTrans each have over twenty years of experience in software solutions, software development and testing.

 

[SPONSORED CONTENT]

UK CITE Plans Live Connected/Autonomous Vehicle Test in 2017

Smart Highways

Plans call for the UK CITE project to run a live test of connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technologies on 40 miles of British roads next year, according to Siemens, one of the project partners.

“Siemens is actively engaged in a number of Vehicle-to-Infrastructure research projects worldwide, establishing communication links between traffic infrastructure and motorists to help influence the way they drive,” said Gordon Wakeford, chief of Siemens’ UK mobility division.

The CAV technology will use DSRC and LTE communications systems on 40 miles of roads in Coventry and Warwickshire.

The UK CITE project is jointly led by Visteon Engineering Services and Jaguar Land Rover and includes Coventry City Council, Coventry University, Highways England, HORIBA MIRA, Huawei Technologies (UK), Siemens, Vodafone Group Services and WMG at University of Warwick.

The test received £7.1 million ($10.3 million) in funding from the United Kingdom’s £100 million ($145 million) Intelligent Mobility Fund.

Siemens will develop, supply and install roadside units which will communicate with the vehicles and the traffic infrastructure. Siemens Stratos hosted traffic management system will be used as the back office for all communications to and from the vehicles.

The test goal is to establish how technology can improve journeys, reduce traffic congestion and provide in-vehicle entertainment and safety services through better connectivity.

The first phase of the project has begun with the preparation of infrastructure on routes along the M40, M42, A46, and A45 highways, along with an urban route in Coventry.

Also in the works is a vehicle, systems, and gantry App, designed to ensure that variable roadside messages appear in-vehicle, either on the vehicle display or smartphone.

Pre-test trials will take place on the City Circuit operated by engineering firm Horiba Mira. Plans call for the live trials to start in 2017.

UK CITE stands for Connected Intelligent Transportation Environment.

Graphic from Horiba Mira.

Memorable Memorial Day for Self-Driving Vehicles

Burney Simpson

Self-driving car proponents in California and the Netherlands spent the Memorial Day weekend testing the technology, networking with other advocates, and working on the technology.

The first-ever Autonomous Vehicle Track Day self-driving car event was run at Thunderhill Raceway Park in Willows, Calif.

The event attracted about 24 firms, university workshops, and start-ups in the autonomous vehicle space. Innovators including PolySync, Denso, Renovo Motors, Velodyne and Nvidia were set to go.

This event was intended to help some firms address engineering challenges and interact with each other, according to venture investor Joshua Schachter, a driving force behind the Track Day. Schachter has said he would like to it turn into a self-driving car race.

Across the pond, the Grand Cooperative Driving Challenge (GCDC) was held on the A270 highway between Helmond and Eindhoven in the Netherlands.

The GCDC is a competitive demonstration of vehicle automation, along with Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) communication.

The vehicles in the challenge demonstrated automated lane changing under three scenarios — vehicles that merge or join a lane of vehicles in a form of platooning; automated crossing and exiting the highway; and automated pace-making for emergency vehicles in a traffic jam.

This video shows some of the 10 student teams in the competition preparing for the event.

“We deliberately chose to test on the A270 public road. Researchers often use their own test environments and their own cars. But you don’t really know if it works until you’ve tried it on public roads, when you have interactions with other cars and the road surface,” Bastiaan Krosse, program manager for Automated Driving at TNO (Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research), said in a press release.

There were four leaders behind the GCDC competition — Eindhoven University of Technology, TNO, Viktoria of Sweden, and INDIADA of Span.

The GCDC is part of the i-Game research project, a European Commission-funded effort to speed the development of autonomous vehicles. It began in October 2013 and is scheduled to end this October.

The i-Game Project objectives include 1) unified architecture and requirements for an interoperable cooperative automated driving platform; 2) supervisory control system for cooperative automated driving applications; 3) standardized messages for interoperable wireless communications based automated driving; 4) and validation tools and events for performance and interoperability testing of cooperative automated driving applications.

Photo by TNO.

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