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Audi presenting piloted driving and Car-to-X technologies from Digital Motorway Test Bed; LTE-V for V2X

Twelve months after the launch of the “Digital Motorway Test Bed” in Germany, Audi is presenting new technologies for piloted driving and Car-to-X-communication at the German Federal Ministry of Transport. Audi is involved in six projects on the test bed; three of them focus on structural measures; the remaining three on communication technologies.

The Digital Motorway Test Bed is on the A9 between Munich and Nuremberg and enables the automotive industry, suppliers, the telecommunication and software industry as well as research centers to field-test their systems under development in mixed traffic. The “Digital Motorway Test Bed” is a joint initiative between the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, the Free State of Bavaria, the automotive and supply industry as well as the IT sector.

The Digital Motorway Test Bed combines innovative infrastructure with a high-speed transmission system enabling lossless data communication.

As part of the Digital Test Bed, Audi is participating in development activities to make the autobahn infrastructure even more reliable and therefore support piloted driving. Among other things, the idea is to modify the materials used for marker posts and guardrails so that they reflect radar waves better than at present—from a greater distance, and in snow and rain too.

Other aims include car sensors that will in future detect the road markings more easily. Special supplementary markings at the roadside will enable test vehicles to localize themselves by camera in relation to their road marking with very high precision. The first prototypes for these projects will soon be installed.

—Alejandro Vukotich, Head of Development for Automated Driving at Audi AG

The “Car2Infrastructure” communication project connects the car with variable message road signs that are online. These signs alert drivers by mobile connection to speed limits, traffic jams or lane closures, for example.

As a first step, Audi engineers have developed a universal interface with the display systems, which vary considerably from region to region. The information gathered is uploaded to the Audi cloud via the mobile network, then transferred from there back to the test cars. This arrangement supplies the car directly with information on new traffic situations.

Using LTE-V (LTE-Vehicle) communications, the data transfer modules in the cars are also directly connected to each other. LTE-V is an evolution variant of the fourth-generation standard for mobile communications LTE (4G). LTE_V is being specified within the European 3GPP project that develops telecommunications standards as part of their Release 14.

This variant is specifically designed to meet automotive requirements for both Vehicle-To-Vehicle and Vehicle-To-Infrastructure communication. It can address multiple application types ranging from connected vehicle safety applications (e.g. collision warning, pedestrian warning, etc.) to connected vehicle smart mobility applications for increased efficiency.

On the A9 test bed, Deutsche Telekom infrastructure has been specially equipped with LTE-V hardware from Huawei to support the trial scenarios. Audi AG, Toyota Motor Europe and other car manufacturers have equipped research cars with the LTE-V hardware developed by Huawei.

This ad-hoc communication enables cars to communicate with one another even in regions without mobile coverage. Furthermore, LTE-V allows new safety functions such as black ice warnings, as well as “platooning,” where piloted driving cars form an energy-saving convoy.

In the third communication project, two sections of the A9 are being surveyed with centimeter precision and objects such as bridges, signs and road markings are being defined. These findings are fed into the HERE HD Live Map, which is being permanently supplemented and updated.

The Digital Motorway Test Bed gives us the opportunity to help actively define the future of driving. Hand in hand with partners, we are able to test future technologies in this real traffic environment that we ultimately want to introduce into series production at Audi. The result is that we can perfectly synchronize our vehicle development work with the infrastructure.

—Alejandro Vukotich, Head of Development for Automated Driving at Audi


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