The results of one of the world’s largest field tests to enhance traffic safety and efficiency by using vehicle communication (Car-to-X) have now been presented in Frankfurt. In the simTD project (Safe Intelligent Mobility – Field Test Germany), Opel joined forces with 17 consortium partners to test the functionality, everyday suitability and efficacy of Car-to-X communication for the first time in real-life conditions. The vehicles in the test were electronically linked to each other and with the infrastructure. This enabled the exchange of information about, for example, weather and road conditions between vehicles, as well as between vehicles and the traffic infrastructure and environment.
Describing the results of the project, Dr. Burkhard Milke, Opel Director Electric/Electronic Engineering, said: “In the field test, led by Opel in liaison with our partners, we were able to prove that traffic behavior can be positively influenced by the simTD functions. Traffic safety and efficiency were measurably increased. After a comprehensive survey of the more than 300 test drivers, it is also clear that the added value of Car-to-X technology for safe, relaxed and efficient driving was confirmed. As a result, wide market acceptance of the technology is expected.”
Since 2009, research has been conducted on the conditions necessary for a sustainable increase in traffic efficiency and safety under the project name “Safe and Intelligent Mobility – Field Test Germany” (simTD). The test fleet from all manufacturers, launched in 2012, comprised 120 vehicles and three motorcycles, which were all equipped with the same simTD technology for scientific comparability. With up to 120,000 test kilometers per week, over 1,650,000 kilometers were covered in more than 41,000 hours of driving during the field test. In addition, driving and traffic simulation tests were also conducted and compared to the real-life results.
Weather warning: An example of best communication networking
Among many other functions, Opel tested a new weather warning feature during the project. “Weather warnings and road condition reports are excellent examples of the connection between Car-to-X communication and the HMI (Human Machine Interface),” says Dr Milke. “They are at the top of drivers’ wish list for future communication systems. With the new generation of infotainment systems now offered in the Opel ADAM and to be presented at the IAA in the new Insignia, the technological foundation has been laid for stronger in-car connectivity with Car-to-X communication. But the concentrated establishment of a corresponding road and traffic infrastructure will be decisive for the commercial deployment of this technology. Opel will continue to play a large role in this.”
The road weather stations located in the field test vicinity, which already provide detailed information – used, for example, by road gritting trucks – communicate with existing vehicle sensors such as the rain sensor to issue warnings on adverse weather conditions. The critical parameters monitored were dew points, road surface temperatures, fog conditions and rainfall. The Human-Machine-Interface, used by all partners in the field test, was developed by DFKI, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence.