In part one of the article published on https://www.stradeeautostrade.it/en/smart-road-digital-transformation/the-important-role-of-itc-information-and-communication-technology-part-one/ we wrote about predictions for a market that sees the connected cars growing and why we must focus on connectivity and sensors. Moving on, we now deal with research projects and questions about the future in Europe.
Research projects and service trials
They are the target of several research and development projects, both nationally and internationally. Starting from the management of simpler scenarios, up to complex scenarios of autonomous and cooperative driving.
Numerous experiments have been carried out to test V2X communications in services for signalling the approach of vehicles, cyclists/pedestrians, and also in the repetition of road signs on board the vehicle.
Increasing the complexity, we move to scenarios where different vehicles (even of different types, ie motorcycles and cars) communicate their intentions in approaching a junction, thus preventing potential collision situations.
Let’s mention some of these as a mere indication that concern some of the research topics currently under development as a result of industrial collaborations and national and European projects.
Connected and cooperative mobility is part of the 5G technology experimentation project in the Milan metropolitan area, promoted by the Ministry of Economic Development and led by Vodafone and important Italian and international industrial companies.
In the MIE project, “Intelligent Sustainable Mobility”, funded by the Ministry of Education, University and Research, innovative systems for monitoring and managing mobility have been developed, including cooperative techniques of geo-localisation and data processing for predictive analysis.
The mm-CONVOY project, an initiative of the Department of Management Engineering and the Department of Electronics, Information and Bioengineering of the Politecnico di Milano, is exploring future-generation V2X communications millimeter wave technologies to support autonomous cooperative driving.
Finally, the project TEINVEIN POR FESR 2014/2020 – Innovation and Competitiveness, created thanks to the Lombardy Region and the European Regional Development Fund, aims to create a platform that can be traced back to an intelligent vehicle that serves as a basic platform for the development of a completely autonomous vehicle.
Towards a new vehicle system and mobility. Given the trend, it is particularly difficult to give an indication of the future of the vehicle and mobility in general.
The article opens with a summary of the benefits of the spread of autonomous, connected and electric vehicles. Logically, these perspectives strongly depend on the level of diffusion of these technologies that, at present, we can only assume on the basis of data provided by analysts.
The 5 unknowns about the future in Europe: where are we?
The scenarios outlined here await some answers, from communication standards to cybersecurity, there are some limits to the development of cars connected on the roads of Europe that must be resolved as soon as possible.
According to what emerged on the occasion of ICT 2018 (December), the convention on technological transformation organized by the European Commission in Vienna on connected cars, driverless cars, intelligent roads and, more generally, mobility of the future, 120 field tests are underway in Europe.
Among them, two tests on motorways and 8 on highways, with investments of 62.8 million euros. The tests take place between Metz and Luxembourg (corridor France, Luxembourg, Germany), Munich-Bologna (Germany, Austria and Italy).
And between Spain and Portugal, Greece and Turkey and around Versailles (France), Berlin and Stuttgart (Germany), Eindhoven-Helmond (Netherlands) and Espoo (Finland). In the face of this rapidly developing scenario there are at least five unknowns, as reported by the experts gathered at Ict 2018.
The first: the communication standard. In Europe, it has not yet been decided on which network to use for travelling the communications of connected cars and driverless ones.
The EU has recently adopted the CV2X standard, discarding the Its-G5 standard on the back of car manufacturers (including Psa and Daimler), telecommunications companies (such as Ericsson and Huawei) and telephone companies (including Vodafone). But that’s not enough.
Second unknown: the 5G. By 2025 Brussels aims to connect cities and roads with fifth generation networks. An ambitious target, which depends on the speed with which the States will start their plans for 5G. However, Governments are moving in a scattered order. UK, Germany, the Netherlands and Italy are in the lead group. But others may take longer to adopt.
The third uncertainty concerns the management of data produced by connected or self-driving cars. According to recent industry analysis, in 2020 a driverless car will produce an average of 4 terabytes of data per day. But there is no sample for data analysis and management. That is one of the fundamental building blocks of a mobility plan based on self-driving cars or related vehicles.
And the same absence can be registered in two other areas necessary for the actual take-off of driverless cars: cybersecurity and digital skills. Two more holes in the European curriculum that put two more unknowns on the path of development of these technologies.
There are investments, in fact, the Digital Europe Plan puts a budget of 2 billion euros for cybersecurity and another 700 million to improve digital skills. In addition, the mobility package puts the emphasis on cybersecurity and pushes towards a certification standard.
But all this is not enough: it is necessary to include “self-driving cars in critical infrastructures” that each State identifies according to the NIS directive on cybersecurity. That is, it is necessary to place the driverless car among the most supervised sectors to prevent threats and unwanted attacks.
This is the picture of a situation which, starting from Italy, also the other countries must, as soon as possible, act in harmony with a European programme which must not be ignored.