Groupe Renault and Sanef, a world-leading motorway operator, belonging to Abertis group, will cooperate to further develop communications between autonomous vehicles and road infrastructure, and testing on toll barrier crossings and work zone approaches. The partnership contributes to the main objectives for autonomous vehicles to increase road safety and to reach zero fatality, and with the “eyes off/hands off” experience to give time back to travellers.
The companies are working together using the connectivity from car to car and to infrastructure (V2X) developed in the framework of the European SCOOP project. This experimentation, taking place in France with Renault Autonomous prototypes represents a first step, with the aim to extend cooperation to other countries.
We are convinced that autonomous vehicles need premium infrastructures to be developed. That’s the reason why Groupe Renault and Sanef Group are working together on this worldwide innovation. Our goals in terms of road safety and road tech are converging.—Edouard Fischer, chief technology officer at Sanef Group
How the pilot project on toll barrier crossings works:
Groupe Renault and Sanef launched a specific pilot project in June 2016, in Normandy along the A13 motorway using the connected infrastructure (V2X) developed by Sanef, to study the approach and crossing of toll barriers and work zones by autonomous drive Renault vehicles. The experimentation in Normandy will continue until mid-2018.
SCOOP aims at deploying 3,000 vehicles over 2,000 km (1,243 miles) of roads, on five sites: Ile-de-France, Paris-Strasbourg highway, Isère, the ring road of Bordeaux, Bretagne. These sites are characterized by a great diversity of road types (motorways, structuring roads in the metropolitan area, bi-directional interurban and local roads).
For the toll barrier crossing:
The vehicle receives information about 1 km before the barrier of the toll lanes that are available and compatible with autonomous vehicle driving. Before approaching the zone, the vehicle will anticipate its position in the lane and adapt its speed by gradually slowing down according to the speed signs. Approaching such an area is a critical step in the absence of ground marking. To ensure its guidance, the autonomous Renault vehicles use virtual lines derived from a high definition map of the site. Access to the dedicated lane is performed at a speed of less than 30 km/h (18.6 mph), while the sensors maintain the car in the center of the lane.
During the acceleration phase, the virtual lines system is used. The car is also able to detect the surrounding vehicles and adapt its behavior and its trajectory accordingly. Once the marking on the ground is restored, the autonomous Renault vehicles can continue their route normally.
As central players in the European SCOOP project, Groupe Renault and Sanef are already collaborating with other industry partners to conduct large-scale tests on equipment that enables road infrastructure to communicate with cars, and vehicles to communicate with one another using short range WiFi (ITS G5) allowing communication over (several hundred meters) long distances. These tests take place on different sites in France. Communication units are installed on the road side that exchange information with the equipment on-board the car.