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Intelligent Vehicle Highway Test Planned in Germany

simTD dashboard display (Martin Leissl/Technische Universität München)

simTD dashboard display (Martin Leissl/Technische Universität München)

The largest on-road test of intelligent vehicles is planned for Spring of 2012, according to Technical University of Munich (Technische Universität München, TUM), one of the participants. The exercise involving 120 cars and trucks will test vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastracture communication on Germany’s streets and roads.

The test fleet will be equipped with the Safe and Intelligent Mobility – Test Field Germany (simTD) system developed by a consortium of German universities, research institutes, auto makers, and electronics companies. The field test aims to demonstrate simTD’s operation in real-life scenarios on highways, rural roads, and city streets in and to the north of Frankfurt am Main over several months.

The simTD system uses wireless technology developed for automotive applications, based on the Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN, IEEE 802.11) standards. Information can either be transferred directly to other vehicles or to stations installed along the road. If the communication partner is not located close to the sender, other vehicles can transmit or store and forward the information.

The data collected and transmitted by simTD are expected to help drivers find the best routes and ease common congestion or hazard problems. The vehicles transmit data on the traffic conditions to a control station, which can then predict and manage traffic developments for drivers, where a dashboard display provides drivers with recommendations for the best route.

The system also assists drivers at intersections or traffic lights by providing a timely display of the correct lane for the next turn, or the optimum speed to take advantage of synchronized traffic lights. simTD can as well alert drivers to upcoming hazards, such as vehicles stopped up ahead on the road, emergency services blocking lanes, or spilled cargo on the roadway.

TUM will collect and analyze the data from the field test. University of Würzburg and TUM will also operate a simulation lab, where engineers can model the impact of the technology on traffic patterns in the vicinity of the field test. In addition, psychologists at University of Würzburg will use a driving simulator to gauge driver behavior, particularly where safety concerns prevent real-life testing on the road.

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