Volvo Cars and Ericsson develop intelligent media streaming for self-driving cars

Volvo is developing intelligent, high bandwidth, streaming capabilities with its technology partner, Ericsson, that will ensure drivers and passengers get the most out of their time travelling in an autonomous Volvo. Utilising Ericsson’s network and cloud expertise, Volvo Cars’ aim is to deliver a high quality, interruption-free experience in its cars whilst on the move.

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Volvo has revealed that it is developing intelligent, high bandwidth, streaming capabilities with its technology partner, Ericsson, that will ensure drivers and passengers get the most out of their time travelling in an autonomous Volvo.

Autonomous drive will bring a paradigm shift to mobile net demands. Volvo and Ericsson believe that this shift will see an increased need for consistent and high-bandwidth coverage outside densely populated areas such as city centres and suburbs. Utilising Ericsson’s network and cloud expertise, Volvo Cars’ aim is to deliver a high quality, interruption-free experience in its cars whilst on the move. By predicting your route and looking ahead at network conditions, content can be tailored to the duration of each trip and intelligently buffered to deliver a high quality and uninterrupted viewing experience.

By learning the most common routes and times of travel and understanding media preferences, future Volvo cars will be able to provide one-click navigation and a customised preference based list of potential media – allowing customers to choose routes and select content tailored to the amount of autonomous time that is available during their commute.

Toyota is Developing a New Map Generation System for Automated Driving

To aid the safe implementation of automated driving, Toyota is developing a high-precision map generation system that will use data from on-board cameras and GPS devices installed in production vehicles. The information gathered by vehicles is sent to data centers, where it is automatically pieced together, corrected and updated to generate high precision road maps that cover a wide area.

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To aid the safe implementation of automated driving, Toyota is developing a high-precision map generation system that will use data from on-board cameras and GPS devices installed in production vehicles.

Toyota’s new system uses camera-equipped production vehicles to gather road images and vehicle positional information. This information is sent to data centers, where it is automatically pieced together, corrected and updated to generate high precision road maps that cover a wide area.

The company claims that an understanding of road layouts and traffic rules (including speed limits and various road signs) is essential for the successful implementation of automated driving technologies. Additionally, high precision measurement of positional information requires the collection of information on dividing lines, curbs, and other road characteristics.

According to Toyota, until now, map data for automated driving purposes has been generated using specially-built vehicles equipped with three-dimensional laser scanners. The vehicles are driven through urban areas and on highways, and data is collected and manually edited to incorporate information such as dividing lines and road signs. Due to the infrequent nature of data collection, maps generated in this manner are seldom updated, limiting their usefulness. Additionally, this represents a relatively cost-intensive method of gathering data, due to the need to manually input specific types of data.

Toyota’s newly developed system uses automated cloud-based spatial information generation technology (developed by Toyota Central R&D Labs., Inc.) to generate high precision road image data from the databanks and GPS devices of designated user vehicles. According to the company, while a system relying on cameras and GPS in this manner has a higher probability of error than a system using three-dimensional laser scanners, positional errors can be mitigated using image matching technologies that integrate and correct road image data collected from multiple vehicles, as well as high precision trajectory estimation technologies. The company claims that this restricts the system’s margin error to a maximum of 5 cm on straight roads, and that by utilizing production vehicles and existing infrastructure to collect information, this data can be updated in real time. Furthermore, they claim the system can be implemented and scaled up at a relatively low cost.

To support the spread of automated driving technologies, Toyota plans to include this system as a core element in automated driving vehicles that will be made available in production vehicles by around 2020. While initial use of the system is expected to be limited to expressways, future development goals include expanding functionality to cover ordinary roads and assist in hazard avoidance. Toyota will also seek to collaborate with mapmakers, with the goal of encouraging the use of high precision map data in services offered by both the public and private sectors.

HERE and the Netherlands evaluate 4G/LTE-based C-ITS road messaging system

HERE and the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment are together evaluating the deployment of a cellular network-based C-ITS for improving road safety and reducing congestion in the Netherlands. The evaluation uses standard commercial 3G and 4G/LTE cellular networks as well as location cloud technology and data analytics from HERE to connect smartphones and other devices, road infrastructure and traffic management centers.

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HERE, a Nokia company, and the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment are together evaluating the deployment of a cellular network-based Cooperative Intelligent Transportation System (C-ITS) for improving road safety and reducing congestion in the Netherlands. The evaluation focuses on a system utilizing standard commercial 3G and 4G/LTE cellular networks as well as location cloud technology and data analytics from HERE to connect smartphones and other devices, road infrastructure and traffic management centers. The system would serve as an efficient low latency data exchange mechanism, whereby targeted information – about, for example, an accident or black ice – could be communicated to the right people at the right time and location.

HERE has agreed to support the ministry’s comprehensive program to optimize the efficiency of the country’s transportation networks through innovative solutions, with a demonstration of the technology in Amsterdam during the Netherlands’ Presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2016.

HERE, a Nokia company, builds high-definition (HD) maps and combines them with cloud technology to enable rich, real-time location experiences in a broad range of connected devices – from smartphones and tablets to wearables and vehicles. Through its new Digital Transportation Infrastructure (DTI) program, HERE is also supporting the development of C-ITS, such as in Finland where it will next year begin piloting a road hazard warning system. DTI is focusing on C-ITS solutions which are easily scalable across large areas; interoperable across borders; compatible with future cellular network standards, such as 5G; and easy for people to use and benefit from.

The Car Connectivity Consortium and ETSI Sign Cooperation Agreement

The Car Connectivity Consortium and ETSI sign cooperation agreement in which ETSI will formally explore adopting MirrorLink as an ETSI Technical Specification. Designed for maximum interoperability between a wide range of smartphones and cars, MirrorLink is an OS- and OEM-agnostic technology for car-smartphone connectivity.

etsiThe CCC (Car Connectivity Consortium) and ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) sign cooperation agreement with in which ETSI will formally explore adopting MirrorLink as an ETSI Technical Specification (TS). The CCC and ETSI reached the accord on 17 November 2015 at the 66th ETSI General Assembly meeting in Sophia Antipolis. Designed for maximum interoperability between a wide range of smartphones and cars, MirrorLink is an OS- and OEM-agnostic technology for car-smartphone connectivity.

The CCC is dedicated to cross-industry collaboration in developing MirrorLink  global standards and solutions for smartphone and in-vehicle connectivity. The organization’s 100 members represent 70 percent of the world’s auto market, 70 percent of the global smartphone market and a who’s who of aftermarket consumer electronics vendors.

 ETSI’s standards underlie many of the world’s most important and widely-used technologies, such as GSM, DECT, smart cards and electronic signatures – all of which have helped revolutionize modern life. In the field of transport/automotive and connected cars, ETSI has brought together all stakeholders from the car industry in its Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) technical committee. This group is leading the drive to achieve global standards for Cooperative ITS, which offers enormous potential through V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle) and V2R (vehicle-to-roadside) communication. Two specifications of ETSI’s ITS committee are now published as European standards.

ITU World Radiocommunication Conference approves spectrum for automotive radar at 79 GHz

Radio-frequency spectrum needed for the operation of short-range high-resolution automotive radar has been allocated in the 79 GHz frequency band at the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15). It provides a globally harmonized regulatory framework for automotive radar to prevent collisions, which will improve vehicular safety and reduce traffic accidents.

AUTRMWTRadio-frequency spectrum needed for the operation of short-range high-resolution automotive radar has been allocated in the 79 GHz frequency band. This decision was reached at the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15) which met in Geneva from 2 to 27 November. The allocation of the 79 GHz frequency band provides a globally harmonized regulatory framework for automotive radar to prevent collisions, which will improve vehicular safety and reduce traffic accidents.

The allocation of the frequency band for automotive radar responds to the call by the United Nations General Assembly. The allocation of spectrum by ITU will now facilitate the development of one of the most significant technologies in support of the global need of reducing road traffic victims.

The decision at WRC-15 culminates extensive studies on the spectrum requirement as well as sharing with incumbent radiocommunication services in the same frequency band.  A workshop on 79 GHz radar, as well as presentations at the annual symposium on the “The Future Networked Car”, held annually in conjunction with the Geneva Auto Show, demonstrated the advances in this technology. The next “Future Networked Car” is scheduled to take place on 3 March 2016.

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Spanish DGT establishes framework for testing automated vehicles on public roads

Spanish DGT has published the legal framework to allow testing of automated vehicles on public roads in Spain. This framework details the requirements needed to conduct the tests, and a classification of vehicles depending on their level of automation. Authorization for testing can be requested by manufacturers of autonomous vehicles, official laboratories, suppliers of autonomous driving technologies, universities and consortia involved in research projects.

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Spanish DGT (Traffic General Department) has published the legal framework to allow testing of automated vehicles on public roads in Spain. This framework details the requirements needed to conduct the tests, and a classification of vehicles depending on their level of automation.

Up to now, the Spanish traffic regulation included the possibility of testing and performing research studies on public roads with non-automated vehicles. With the new framework, automated vehicles can also be tested. With this measure, DGT aims to encourage universities, companies and research centres to test autonomous vehicles in Spain, and to support autonomous driving research as a means to improve traffic safety and efficiency.

According to the published framework, an autonomous vehicle is a vehicle with the capacity of driving without the active control or supervision of a driver. Such autonomous technology can be activated or deactivated temporarily or permanently.

Authorization for testing and trials can be requested by manufacturers of autonomous vehicles, official laboratories, suppliers of autonomous driving technologies, universities and consortia involved in research projects. The framework also specifies the requirements that need to be satisfied to obtain the corresponding authorization, including the requirements of the applicant, the driver, the vehicle, and the owner of the vehicle. The scope of the authorization is national, and establishes the sections of urban and interurban roads by which the automated vehicle is authorized to perform the tests. Authorizations will be granted for a period of maximum of 2 years, but the can be renewed.

U.S. DOT Announces up to $42 Million in Next Generation Connected Vehicle Technologies

The U.S. DOT has announced that New York City, Wyoming, and Tampa, FL will receive up to $42 million to pilot next-generation V2V and V2I communication technologies. New York City will install V2V technology in 10,000 city-owned vehicles, as well as V2I technology throughout Midtown. In Wyoming, the focus is on the efficient and safe movement of freight through, which is critical to commercial heavy-duty vehicles.

Image19The U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) has announced that New York City, Wyoming, and Tampa, FL will receive up to $42 million to pilot next-generation technology in infrastructure and in vehicles to share and communicate anonymous information with each other and their surroundings in real time, reducing congestion and greenhouse gas emissions, and cutting the unimpaired vehicle crash rate by 80 percent. As part of the U.S. DOT national Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program, the locations were selected in a competitive process to go beyond traditional vehicle technologies to help drivers better use the roadways to get to work and appointments, relieve the stress caused by bottlenecks, and communicate with pedestrians on cell phones of approaching vehicles.

New York City will install Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) technology in 10,000 city-owned vehicles; including cars, buses, and limousines, that frequently travel in Midtown Manhattan, as well as Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) technology throughout Midtown. This includes upgrading traffic signals with V2I technology along avenues between 14th Street and 66th Street in Manhattan and throughout Brooklyn. Additionally, roadside units will be equipped with connected vehicle technology along the FDR Drive between 50th Street and 90th Street.

U.S. DOT made an additional commitment to empowering cities to solve congestion and safety issues with connected vehicle technology by awarding $17 million to solve peak rush hour congestion in downtown Tampa and to protect the city’s pedestrians by equipping their smartphones with the same connected technology being put into the vehicles.  Tampa also committed to measuring the environmental benefits of using this technology.

Image17In Wyoming, the focus is on the efficient and safe movement of freight through the I-80 east-west corridor, which is critical to commercial heavy-duty vehicles moving across the northern portion of our country. Approximately 11,000 to 16,000 vehicles travel this corridor every day, and by using V2V and V2I, Wyoming DOT will both collect information and disseminate it to vehicles not equipped with the new technologies.

The high level of interest that was prompted by the announcement of the Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program is a testament to the promise of connected and automated vehicles. With the Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program, the U.S. DOT is now focusing on accelerating the deployment of the technology in more regions throughout the nation. The U.S. DOT’s goals for the program are straightforward—advance deployment, measure impact, and uncover and address the technical and non-technical barriers to deployment in a hands-on way.

Siemens and Cohda Wireless collaborate on C-ITS infrastructure

Siemens AG and Cohda Wireless have announced they will collaborate in the area of Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) communications. The objective is to share information between vehicles and roadside infrastructure such as traffic lights, to increases the quality and reliability of information available to drivers about their immediate environment, other vehicles and road users.

RSESiemens AG and Cohda Wireless have announced they will collaborate in the area of Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) communications. V2I devices are part of Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS), which share information between vehicles and roadside infrastructure such as traffic lights. This increases the quality and reliability of information available to drivers about their immediate environment, other vehicles and road users.

Siemens expects to globally deploy transport infrastructure such as overhead sign gantries and traffic lights in its V2I roadside units (RSUs). RSUs are 802.11p WLAN-based radio modules that transmit information such as speed limits, warnings of icy roads or other dangerous situations, traffic jams and construction warnings within a fraction of a second to passing vehicles and traffic control centers. The successful adoption of vehicle to infrastructure technologies is expected to significantly reduce traffic congestion, reduce vehicle accidents and lower auto-related pollution.

Under an agreement signed by the companies, Cohda Wireless will develop and produce RSUs for Siemens, enabling this ‘smart infrastructure’ to communicate with connected vehicles. It will also see Siemens base its Sitraffic ESCoS RSU upon Cohda’s MK5 V2X family, using NXP’s Roadlink chip sets.

Siemens is a provider of mobility solutions and Cohda provides hardware and software of V2I technology. Siemens will deploy Cohda’s technology for various ITS field tests and pilot projects, including the A58 motorway in the Netherlands, A9 motorway in Germany, and the Living Lab in Austria.

Siemens’ Sitraffic platform is a road traffic management platform. The Siemens Sitraffic ESCoS RSU will be able to communicate important information to and from cars and larger vehicles equipped with V2X technology. Cohda Wireless provides hardware and software development services and products for the roadside units, based on Siemens’ ITS knowhow and development specifications.

The European Mobility-as-a-Service alliance has been launched

20 European organisations join forces to establish the first Mobility as a Service Alliance through public and private stakeholder cooperation. The key concept behind it is to put the users, both travelers and goods, at the core of transport services, offering them tailor made mobility solutions based on their individual needs.

logo20 European organisations join forces to establish the first Mobility as a Service (MaaS) Alliance. This new initiative will work towards a truly European and common approach to MaaS through public and private stakeholder cooperation, providing the basis for the economy of scale needed for a successful implementation in Europe.

The key concept behind MaaS is to put the users, both travelers and goods, at the core of transport services, offering them tailor made mobility solutions based on their individual needs. This means that, for the first time, easy access to the most appropriate transport mode or service will be included in a bundle of flexible travel service options for end users.

Founding Partners of the Mobility as a Service Alliance include Aalborg University, AustriaTech,  Ericsson, ERTICO – ITS Europe, Federation International de l’Automobile (FIA) Region I, Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications, Helsinki Business Hub, IRU, Connekt, ITS Finland, ITS Sweden, ITS Ukraine, MOBiNET, National Mobile Payment Plc. (Hungary), Swedish Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation, Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation (Tekes), Transport for London, Vinnova, University of Tampere and Xerox.

Due to its open nature, the MaaS Alliance welcomes other Partners to join. This would contribute to the success of this new joint venture, as it will allow taking the needs of all stakeholders into account.

First Toyota cars to include V2V and V2I communication by the end of 2015

By the end of 2015, Toyota will make a new ITS safety package available on three models in Japan. This package uses V2V and V2I communication to provide drivers with the kind of safety information that cannot be picked up by onboard sensors. The new ITS safety package uses Japan’s standardized ITS frequency of 760 MHz to receive and share data transmitted by external infrastructure and other vehicles.

By the end of 2015, Toyota will make a new ITS (Intelligent Transportation System) safety package available on three models in Japan. The package, named ITS Connect, uses vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication to provide drivers with the kind of safety information that cannot be picked up by onboard sensors. This includes traffic signal information and information about the presence of vehicles and pedestrians in blind spots. ITS Connect uses Japan’s standardized ITS frequency of 760 MHz to receive and share data transmitted by external infrastructure and other vehicles. The company claims that equipping ITS Connect on these three models will make Toyota the world’s first automaker to bring a driver assist function that uses a dedicated ITS frequency to market. By steadily expanding the range of vehicles equipped with ITS Connect, Toyota hopes to help reduce the number of accidents that occur near intersections. In Japan, this kind of accident accounts for roughly 40 percent of all traffic accidents, according to statistics from Japan’s National Police Agency.

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V2V communication implies the direct exchange of information among vehicles and includes Communicating Radar Cruise Control and Emergency Vehicle Notification. When communicating radar cruise control information, the system responds almost instantaneously to the acceleration and deceleration of other equipped vehicles. This allows two or more vehicles to maintain a safe distance and minimize speed fluctuations, making traffic flow smoother. When an ambulance implements Emergency Vehicle Notification and is sounding its siren nearby, the system notifies the driver with an audio alert, and displays the approximate location and distance of the emergency vehicle, as well as the direction in which it is moving.

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V2I communication enables the exchange of information between vehicles and static infrastructure nodes and includes Right-Turn Collision Caution, Red Light Caution and Signal Change Advisory. With Right-Turn Collision Caution, drivers are warned by an audio and visual alert while waiting to turn right at an intersection fitted with the appropriate equipment under the following circumstances: if they take their foot off the brake and start to move forward when another car is approaching from the opposite direction, when a pedestrian is crossing the road to the right of the vehicle, or when there are other potential hazards the driver may not have noticed. With Red Light Caution, when approaching an intersection fitted with the appropriate equipment, if the signal is red and the driver does not ease off the accelerator, the system will warn the driver with an audio and visual alert. With Signal Change Advisory, when stopping at a red light at an intersection fitted with the appropriate equipment, a display counts down the remaining time until the traffic light changes.

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