It is the cumulative efforts of various R&D teams to establish a system that can effectively resolve the randomness of reality in everyday driving conditions. The key goals are: to establish an integration of the in-vehicle intelligence with a fleet of heterogeneous vehicles on-road and to synergise inter-vehicular (V2V) communications with roadside infrastructure (V2I and V2X).
Let’s simplify and try to gain a high level clarity of these technical concepts.
Firstly, a fully autonomous vehicle will be able to perceive its surroundings, identify objects, take decisions real-time and communicate with other vehicles, as well as the ITS (Intelligent Traffic System) enabled ‘Smart-Cities’ and highways. Secondly, legacy vehicles, which can be retro-fitted with semi-autonomous capability will be able to communicate V2V as well as V2I. However, the system will only provide instructions to the driver and expect prompt action and compliance.
This hybrid scenario is likely to last a few decades until all vehicles are equipped with Self-Drive and ITS is implemented across the road infrastructure.
This approach is termed as co-operative mobility, achieved via standardisation of in-vehicle CAN (controller area network) messages, decentralised communications between the vehicles in ‘mixed traffic’ and seamless connectivity using G5 (EU-ITS std. 802.11p for wireless V2Vcommunication) and 5G. Furthermore, RTK (Real Time Kinematic) technology allows cm-level accuracy to facilitate smooth crossing over of the mixed traffic at interchanges in the city as well as on the highways.
What is required for the industry to actualise this for everyday use?
Firstly, large areas need to be approved by Governments around the world to allow continuous verification of use cases under development. Secondly, standardisation of in-vehicle autonomous systems, ITS architecture and telecommunications, is required to be quickly achieved. Early adoption of standards across the ecosystem, will enable effective communications across all systems: CAN, V2V, V2I, V2X. Lastly, social acceptance and user engagement is crucial to make these systems work, especially in mixed traffic scenarios. User interface or HMI need to be redefined to enable intuitive learning by new age drivers, who will need to unlearn old driving habits and relearn automated driving scenarios and then graduate to fully autonomous ‘smart mobility’.
The key benefit will be reduction of accidental deaths and injury caused by (in)human error caused under the influence of stress, distraction or alcohol.