This weekend (Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 May) in The Netherlands the second edition of the Grand Cooperative Driving Challenge (GCDC) will take place on the A270 highway between Eindhoven and Helmond.
Competing for the grand prize will be 10 European student teams from all across Europe. Amongst them will be a Dutch team composed of students both Eindhoven Fontis Hoogschool and the Eindhoven University of Technology – ATeam. Using NXP technology and an adapted Toyota Prius they will compete in a number of challenges based on traffic scenarios to demonstrate how cars can drive autonomously in cooperation with each other and with their environment on public roads.
The project is the result of the work of a team of up to 40 students who have worked on modifying the Prius to enable it to drive itself for the scenarios posed in the Challenge. The team – who worked on the car alongside their regular studies and supported by enthusiastic staff – also had assistance from engineers at NXP.
In the 2011 GCDC, the student teams demonstrated the cooperation between cars using Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC) technology based in the 802.11p standard to create platoons of cars. This year the challenge becomes more complex as the car will have to complete a number of autonomous manoeuvres including: autonomous merging of two platoons, making room for emergency services and autonomous breaking up platoon mode at an intersection. The participants will be assessed on teamwork, communication and performance in these three different traffic scenarios.
Clara Otero Pérez, Director of Systems Innovations for NXP’s business unit Automotive in Eindhoven, shared the opportunities this kind of event can bring to V2X technology. “Vehicle platooning brings increased safety and sustainability to the new mobility industry. However, to achieve the benefits of fuel saving and better traffic flow the vehicles have to drive very close to each other (e.g. 0.3 sec at 80Km/h). Requirements on the system latency for emergency braking at the head of the platoon are very stringent, in the region of 30-50 milliseconds to enable the following vehicles to brake on time. Current radar and camera solutions do not meet this system latency, vehicle to vehicle (and vehicle to infrastructure) communication (V2X) based on the 802.11p standard is an essential component as the head of the platoon can communicate to the following vehicles its intention much faster than cameras or radars can detect. By working with the Eindhoven University of Technology and Fontis team for this event we are able to learn more about potential use cases and work on creating the next generation of the V2X communication technology.”
While ATeam face stiff competition from Sweden, Spain, France, Germany and Latvia they are confident they have a winning vehicle.
Victor Dolk, ATeam, Eindhoven University of Technology shared, “We have developed our own algorithms, done extensive testing on the road and believe that we have a really good platform compared to the competition. Traffic problems are rising across the world and building more roads is not the best solution. We should be turning to smart transport solutions like V2X to solve these complex challenges.”
The GCDC is designed to be step forward in cooperative vehicle automation, with the goal of making traffic safer, cleaner and more efficient. It will be open to the public on Saturday 28 May from 11.00 to 19.00.