• Sat. Dec 2nd, 2023

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C-Roads Italy project: Digital roads supporting connected level 3 autonomous driving

The CRF (Stellantis Group Research Center) has taken part in the “C-Roads Italy: C-ITS cooperative systems aimed at road mobility become a reality”, the conference organised by the Autostrada del Brennero that took place today at the Interbrennero Congress Center in Trento. Implemented in conjunction with the Italian Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport and other partners, this project forms part of a broader plan co-funded by the European Commission.

The conference presented the results achieved by the C-Roads Italy project, together with the European C-Roads platform, in the Italian and European context.

Evidence was provided of achievements to date in the development and implementation of harmonised and interoperable Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS), aimed at communication between vehicles and with the Smart Roads infrastructure across Europe, a system also known as Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X).

The C-Roads Italy initiative guarantees the continuity of cooperative services between Member States and road operators, contributing to a sustainable transport system in terms of economic, environmental and social impact. At the same time, road safety is also improved, increasing the efficiency of the usage of road infrastructure and traffic management, and improving the interoperability of transport services for both passengers and goods.

The CRF was represented by Filippo Visintainer, the project manager, who gave a speech entitled “how C-ITS contribute to the future of Driver Assistance systems and Autonomous Driving”.

The presentation focused on the results from trials of specific innovative features to manage connected autonomous vehicles (Highway Chauffeur), worked on by the CRF with tune-ups of the Maserati Ghibli and Fiat 500X prototypes.

The tests are still underway at the Trento CRF, on stretches of the A22 highway near Trento, on the Venice ring road, on sections of the A4 and A28, and near the Brenner Pass on scenarios crossing the Italian-Austrian border. 

Highway Chauffeur (Level 3 – SAE) is the vehicle automation feature that can adjust speed, maintain trajectory and change lanes automatically.

The main objective of the work at the CRF is to test, verify and demonstrate – in accordance with the harmonisation goals of the C-Roads Platform – how the cooperative Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) systems can have a positive impact on safety, traffic flow and the environment. The focus is on V2I communication, i.e. between vehicles and the Smart Roads network, intelligent road network, so that the SAE L3 self-driving Highway Chauffeur can exploit extraneous information to improve its knowledge of the scenario it is moving in, to ensure safe and comfortable autonomous driving. This information is also provided when driving manually, such as in lane change recommendations or alert systems. V2X messages are geo-referenced, so that the vehicle can filter their content based on its position and trajectory.

In the preliminary set-up, a laboratory system at the CRF replicated the data collected on the highway and uploaded the same data to the vehicle control units. As such, the maneuvering and communication data collected by the connected car in the testing areas were reused in the laboratory to refine the control unit algorithms and thus prepare the in-car equipment to support an increasingly safe and comfortable mobility.

The V2X technology was then integrated and tested in prototype vehicles that use Highway Chauffeur. The project infrastructure provides vehicles with notifications of events such as ongoing road work, a stationary vehicle, heavy traffic, adverse weather conditions, dynamic speed signage or the presence of toll booths.

Other collaborative vehicles can also notify the car of the presence and maneuvering data (speed, acceleration, yaw, turn signals, etc.) of all nearby vehicles equipped with V2X, including critical events such as a stationary broken down vehicle.

Prototype systems in collaborative cars have been tested in a series of use cases, ranging from reporting unforeseen road events and cooperative scenarios between passenger cars, to more complex scenarios of collaborative maneuvers between passenger cars and heavy trucks in exceptional conditions, such as bottlenecks for ongoing road work.

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