Car-2-X field trial brings car communications closer to serial production

October 11, 2011 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
A number of German carmakers, suppliers and research institutes have launched the hitherto largest car-2-x communications field trial. The trial with 120 vehicles involved is designed to test functionality, suitability for everyday use and communications efficiency under real-life conditions.

The concept of the simTD (Secure Intelligent Mobility - Test field Germany) project is based on the results of three years of research. While the radio layer has already been standardized as IEEE 802.11p, the project had to define basic functions and data formats at higher layers of the OSI stack. Within the scope of the simTD project, a road works information system has been defined as well as obstacle warnings, emergency vehicle warnings, a traffic sign assistant, a traffic light assistant, road weather warnings and a number of location dependent services. Besides IEEE 802.11p, a modified version of the widespread WiFi technology, also wireless mobile technologies such as UMTS and GPRS are used in cases when no 802.11p connection can be established. Test tracks will be activated in highway, country road and urban environments.

With car-to-X communication, vehicles and infrastructure are electronically connected. This allows information to be exchanged between vehicles, and also between vehicles and traffic infrastructure, such as light signal systems. Following and oncoming road users can therefore receive information in advance about potential hazards, allowing them to respond appropriately and in good time. Information on the traffic situation is transmitted to the simTD test centre, which can then reliably forecast and accurately control traffic developments. In turn, the information is provided to road users, who can modify their driving routes so that they arrive at their destinations safely and conveniently in the quickest possible time. This also reduces CO2 emissions in road traffic. Vehicle-related data is transmitted exclusively in anonymised form.

The main development tasks for the project are performed in the simTD laboratory located in Friedberg (state of Hesse). It consists of two sections: the driving simulation and the traffic simulation. Using the driving simulation, the driver's behaviour is monitored when performing safety-critical driving tasks and in situations that are critical for the system. The aim of the traffic simulation is to determine what influence