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Project finds how autonomous cars should talk with each other

Posted: 10 Aug 2015     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:BMW  automated driving  autonomous car  3G  4G 

Moving beyond automated driving, the trend is now looking at cooperative driving. In the Ko-HAF project (cooperative automated driving), some OEMs and electronics suppliers are exploring how autonomous cars should interact with each other to realise the best traffic safety possible.

The goal of the project is figuring out systems and functions that enable highly automated driving at higher speeds and in complex situations. During highly automated driving, the driver can delegate the task of driving to the vehicle and can relax and move on to other things. However, he must be able to take control again within a certain time. For the transition time it is essential that the vehicle with its sensors, computing resources and algorithms must be able to assess its environments and the traffic situation correctly. At higher speeds and in complex traffic situations this can be a challenging task.

Here the Ko-HAF project starts: Its solution proposal is based on a backend solution that enables the vehicles to constantly communicate with each other using a safety server in the cloud; for the communication they use 3G/4G mobile networks. The server collects and processes information regarding the vehicles environment. These data then are distributed to the cars, enabling them to create a complete virtual image of their surroundings at distances up to 300m. Key to making automated driving safer is the available of current data of route sections and lanes as well as their representation, said Ralph Rasshofer who represents carmaker BMW in the project supervisory committee. Towards this end, the project will devise and test the respective standards.

The project also includes procedures to get the driver back into the loop. BMWs intention is to get the driver back into its driving routine as infrequently as possible and therefore puts special situations such as hazard areas, road works and intersections into the focus of its research. Supplier Continental who coordinates the activities will devise interfaces and standard formats for the exchange of environmental and navigation data across the safety server. Another research focus are methods to localise the vehicles exactly enough to determine the traffic lane they are driving in. In this context, the Continental researchers utilises its M2XPro concept to interconnect driving dynamics sensors with GNSS data and enriches them with landmarks recognised by the cars sensors. A third research focus for Continental is developing system functions that enable the vehicle to autonomously drive up to highways as well as merging and other manoeuvres at the end of traffic lanes.

Besides BMW and Continental, carmakers Audi, Daimler and Opel/Vauxhall as well as suppliers Bosch and Visteon and a number of universities including the Technical Universities of Munich and Braunschweig and the University of Passau are participating in the project. Launched on June 1st, the project is designed to last until November 2018. It is funded in part by the German federal ministry of economy and energy.

- Jean-Pierre Joosting
  EE Times Europe

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