Cooperative Communication System to Realise Enhanced Safety and Efficiency in European Road Transport
Until recently, the primary interaction between vehicles and roadways was the interface between the tire and road surface at the tire contact patch. In addition, loop detectors, roadside closed-circuit cameras, microwave radar or roadway weather information services provide data about, and in some instances (e.g., changeable message signs) to vehicles. REACT adds vehicles as important mobile collectors of information. However, because the driver is crucial, the amount of quality information provided to him/her needs to be expanded beyond 'changeable message signs'. Much of the most relevant information will come from nearby vehicles, which underlines the need for V2V communication. The challenge is to develop a system that intelligently and efficiently handles the large amount of relevant information that can be collected from vehicles.
The current status is that some physical media are already used for V2V communications, but not in a cooperative way. Many current systems are proprietary and lack open communication platforms that make it possible to use available technologies as well allowing the introduction of emerging ones. Actual systems are stuck in a 'one application - one box - one radio' situation. COM2REACT aims to develop an innovative seamless infrastructure able to transparently integrate heterogeneous devices and services.
COM2REACT's overall objective was to establish the feasibility of a three-layer, scalable, cooperative system. Its implementation envisaged to involve the deployment of two two-way communication systems: vehicle to vehicle (V2V), and vehicle to infrastructure (V2I). This structure would facilitate significant improvement in the flow of information acquired by moving vehicles and in its quality and reliability, thereby enhancing road efficiency and traffic safety on urban, intercity arterials and rural roads.
The specific scientific and technological objectives of the COM2REACT project were as follows:
- Develop the VSC concept
- Develop traffic state, accident risk, environmental state analysis, prediction models and performance evaluation tools for a VSC.
- Adapt additional sensing technology and testing methodology:
- Front looking, wide field of view, low cost telemeter
- Sideways and backwards proximity ultrasound sensors
- Driver state sensor to monitor changes in driver attentiveness
- Develop a communication unit with advanced technology:
- In-car communication system
- V2V communication system
- V2C communication
- Test the feasibility of the whole concept.
COM2REACT established a multi-level, scalable cooperative system involving two-way vehicle to vehicle (V2V) and vehicle to centre (V2C) communication, which will facilitate significant improvements in the flow of information acquired by moving vehicles, its quality and reliability, thereby enhancing road efficiency and traffic safety on urban, intercity arterials, and rural roads.
COM2REACT was built upon the DG Transport REACT project. REACT comprised sensor-equipped vehicles and RCC. COM2REACT has developed VSC and integrated it with REACT to obtain a functioning 3-level control system and confirm VSC's added value. In addition, sensors complementary to the system functioning were added. COM2REACT Project has built a strong, balanced consortium, including a vehicle manufacturer, a road authority, several high technology companies, and universities/research institutes.
With the multiple tests in Versailles and Munich the feasibility of the COM2REACT architecture is proven. The technical issues in the field of communication between vehicles and between vehicles and a Regional Control Center are solved.
While all the used components (sensors, hardware and software) are quite stable in their operation modes, the phase of initialisation and preparation of the evaluation runs was still complicated and sensitive. The used hardware fulfils the requirements of the implemented system architecture. The capacities of two standard computers were required to run all software components of the In-Car-System (RTMaps, TRANSCarCom, ADAS-RP, Knowledge base, COM2REACT-Models).
The sensor systems of the four COM2REACT vehicles works as expected, returning timely data or readings of physical parameters to the applications in need of this kind of information.
Further tests with the COM2REACT models had shown, that a driver can be informed about traffic incidents in his neighbourhood after a short time. Regarding the small number of fully equipped vehicles problems of very large clusters could not be analysed in reality.