Intelligent transport systems already aid a great deal of our travel today: they provide up-to-the-minute information about traffic jams, can guide us from door-to-door using automatic navigation systems and can tell us when and where the next bus, tram or train is arriving. They can alert us to accidents ahead and provide us with an alternative route, tell us what the weather will be like, help us plan our journey, even when we are already on route, book a hotel or restaurant and find the nearest open pharmacy.
Before DIAMOND several attempts have been made in the filed of delivering ITS information to moving objects. The most famous ones are today’s RDS (radio data system) and TMC (traffic message channel) systems. However, the results could not take the pace of developments in Internet and multimedia. With the introduction of the digital broadcast system DAB (digital audio broadcast), the development to support a wide range of multimedia ITS services seems to be reality. The DIAMOND project was establishing the technical and commercial feasibility to provide evidence that the approach using DAB in combination with cellular phones (GSM) and positioning systems (GPS) really works.
The main objective of DIAMOND is to establish the technical and commercial feasibility of DAB based ITS services. This is achieved by developing and improving ITS services and supporting their implementation.
In order to establish the technical feasibility, DIAMOND will provide the technological basis. By building on the state of the art a wide range of services are enabled. The functionality required is reflected in the developed specifications.
The commercial feasibility is established by creating a wide range of ITS services for use at home, during travel and at leisure. Based on the user response and the projects technical work, the winning choices enabling a successful rollout and operation thereafter are identified.
Three mechanisms are used to support the development and implementation: the installation in the demonstration sites, the specification of a test platform and a project forum. This will accomplish the mission to create results, which leads to substantial commercial services in the three to five year’s time frame after the project (2004 – 2006).
The methodology of the DIAMOND project has encompassed the following activities:
- Create technical specifications for applications in three modes (broadcast, interactive and dynamic navigation) as a technical foundation;
- Using these technical specifications, create a laboratory model and end-user terminals so that the technical specifications can be assessed against a benchmark;
- Create the relevant technical requirements; evaluate MEMO and similar technology platforms and optimise them for ITS applications; develop appropriate exchange formats for easy insertion of services. All to ensure that ITS applications can be carried on the project’s technological platform;
- Specify and harmonise HMI for different environments, creating HMI API and guidelines. This should ensure that the project’s results can be safely and effectively adopted by the endusers;
- Produce technical architecture and guidelines; identify everything for winning services, target applications for a service architecture; identify and quantify user needs in order to establish key criteria for the success of future commercial services; choose winner applications; develop operational and quality procedures;
- Analyse and recommend appropriate remedial measures on the basis of the assessment of the impact of services and the quality of services in the DIAMOND Demonstration sites;
- Develop the business model. Disseminate the project results in order to convince the ITS community and the other major actors of the benefits of DIAMOND;
- Identify issues necessary to secure a better regulatory framework in order to raise the profile of data services within the DAB ensemble and to help convince regulators to make appropriate additional frequencies available.
The DIAMOND project aimed to establish the technical and commercial feasibility to provide evidence that the approach using DAB in combination with cellular phones (GSM) and positioning systems (GPS) really works.
To this end, the project has shown the technical and/or commercial feasibility in the following fields:
- Technical realisation
It has been concluded that the chosen technologies are well suited to be utilised in a combined system like the DIAMOND approach. Small enhancements are necessary to meet all requirements of DIAMOND. An important result is that such a system has to support the XML approach, which is currently not implemented but discussed. DIAMOND has proposed solutions how to achieve this.
- Service distribution
It has been established that the specified architecture based on DAB, GSM and GPS is able to distribute the tested services to the user. In addition, it supports already other services similar to the demonstrated services. The current developments in implementing the ITS requirements into the XML language resulting in an Telematics XML were reflected in the work. The requirements from the DIAMOND services were listed and provided as input to the responsible groups.
- Business and commercial feasibility
A special task to evaluate the DIAMOND platform on commercial aspects achieved the result that there is a business case possible. The key-players however have to be carefully selected and the roles have to be clearly defined.
All results, the technical and commercial, have been validated in the demonstration sites. In addition, an outlook about how to enhance the services with further user needs was achieved.
The results and achievements of DIAMOND were resulting in some standardisation tasks. Never a new standard was created but existing standards were enhanced or enlarged. This benefits the chosen standards by helping them to be up-to-date as well as the dissemination of the DIAMOND platform since a new standard would have never been established within the projects lifetime.
During the work DIAMOND identified many groups active in the same field and sharing the same objectives. Close contacts with these groups have been established. Many of these groups have expressed their interests in particular aspects of the project work and would like to adopt these parts as their own. Since most of them were already
DIAMOND seen from a technical point of view is ready and prepared to deliver multimedia ITS services to users. The role of a central service inside a receiver is established and can be used by terminal manufacturers to build real applications running on real terminals. The specifications are detailed enough to describe the ZKDW (kind of) and KRZ information can be transmitted and otherwise open enough to give terminal and car manufacturers the freedom to decide about the presentation form and the physical and logical behaviour of interaction elements.
All the four demonstration sites have been used to prove the specifications against the reality and, however, not all details of the specifications could be realised and tested thoroughly. Therefore an extended validation phase is proposed (preferably by extending the “life-time” of the existing demonstration sites).
From the knowledge that even broadcast services have to be paid any time, payment mechanisms should be reconciled with service providers and terminal manufacturers and should be integrated into the DIAMOND system in a follow-up step.
With the relatively small investments needed to use the DAB network for DIAMOND services there is a large potential to achieve and provide to users what they demand. The financial calculations show a great potential for large revenue and profit in the distribution of ITS services using DAB. Major factors to the large profit are the use of existing infrastructures, the distribution efficiency of the broadcast technology and the lack of mobile ITS services. The services can be inexpensive even if the penetration rate of the population is low and still get a good return on investments. The exact and actual pricing and payment mechanisms and the balance between free and charged services must be evaluated during future tests and in the early operational stages.
There are industries, like the Internet services, that are ahead of DIAMOND and can present useful experiences in this field.