Date: Nov. 2013 – October 2016
Advanced prototype technologies from Hitachi’s European Centre for Social Innovation are at the heart of Autonet2030, an EU cooperative autonomous driving project.
Partners: Scania, Fiat, Baselabs, Broadbit, and 4 European research Institutes
To succeed, automated vehicles need to be connected
Autonomous driving promises to make travel much safer and more energy efficient. To date, much of its development has focused on individual applications, like sensor-based autonomous vehicles. But to reach its true potential, autonomous driving needs to be cooperative. An example of this is platooning, where connected vehicles travel closely together, saving fuel. When both highly automated and manually driven vehicles can communicate with one another, they will be able to coordinate their movements, dramatically improving safety, comfort and traffic efficiency.
A cooperative solution
To stimulate development in this area, the European Union invested in co-operative mobility research under its Framework 7 funding programme. On the strength of our successful C2X (car to anything) middleware communication platform and our advanced research into data-driven autonomous driving, the European Centre for Social Innovation was invited to be part of a consortium that worked to deliver “Co-operative Systems in Support of Networked Automated Driving by 2030”.
Our technologies were fundamental for this project, called Autonet2030, and essential to delivering its goal of demonstrating “cooperative autonomous driving”. The relatively small consortium meant partners could cooperate quickly and easily together, and Hitachi worked closely with Scania and Fiat to integrate our technology.
As well as providing the C2X middleware and our VW Passat demonstration vehicle, we also contributed to Autonet2030’s “cooperative autonomous platform” by developing the onboard system that collects and analyses sensor data, and the onboard “local dynamic map”, which provides static and variable information about the surrounding environment in real time.
Scania and Fiat used these Hitachi technologies, and together with these manufacturers, we also co-developed technology for controlling vehicles and for applications such as cooperative manoeuvring and platooning.
Helping autonomous and manual vehicles to coexist
The journey to universal autonomous vehicles is likely to be long, and manually driven cars will need to be able to coexist alongside automated vehicles for many years. Autonet2030 demonstrated how this coexistence could work. While the Scania and Hitachi demonstration vehicles were fully autonomous, Fiat’s car was manually driven, using a human-machine interface to translate instructions from the cooperative system into information the driver could understand. For example, this enabled the driver to safely join and leave a platoon of autonomous vehicles.
Communication in motion
Hitachi’s C2X middleware platform is a next-generation system that enables vehicles to exchange information for safer, greener driving:
- Lightweight and compact for embedded systems
- Multi-OS support – POSIX compliant systems including RTOS
- Supports multiple CPUs and hardware: 11p or ARIB STD-T109 compliant
- Compliant with ETSI ITS, IEEE 1609.X, SAE and ITS Connect standards
- Extensively field-tested
Platform for the future
At its final demonstration event in Sweden, the Autonet2030 project showed cooperative autonomous driving in action, receiving an “excellent” score from the European Commission and showcasing the technology to a range of third parties.
However the project has achieved more than just a demonstration: it has created a platform on which technology and services can be developed further. An important stage on the journey towards achieving the full benefits of autonomous mobility, it is also supporting Hitachi’s business divisions as they respond to customer demand in this important social domain.