In September 2018, ICT4CART was launched. This project has the goal of designing, implementing and testing a versatile ICT infrastructure under real-life conditions that facilitates the transition towards higher levels of automation (up to L4). To follow up closely on the results of this exciting project and its high-value use cases (urban and highway), we have caught up regularly with the consortium of ICT4CART partners.
This month, we met with ICT4CART Italian partner Autostrada del Brennero SpA, the company managing the Brenner motorway (A22), a toll motorway that starts at the Austrian border and ends near the city of Modena (Italy), where some of the ICT4CART scenarios are deployed.
- Meet Autostrada del Brennero
The Brenner motorway lies along the TEN-T Scandinavian-Mediterranean corridor. Currently, it is 314 km long and includes 144 bridges and viaducts (31.2 km), 30 unidirectional tunnels (12.6 km), 147 flyovers and 2 connections with other motorways. Substantial investments have been dedicated to its infrastructure over recent years: a wide variety of sensors (traffic detection systems, video cameras, weather/fog sensors, etc.) and a high-speed data network that guarantees close monitoring of its traffic and environmental conditions. Automatic incident detection systems, as well as cooperative traffic management and user information systems, guarantee efficient management of the highway. Autostrada del Brennero SpA is also working on future mobility o: for example, C-ITS infrastructure has been put in place to grant direct communication to connected vehicles, sending them C-ITS messages.
- What is your role in the ICT4CART project?
Within the ICT4CART project, Autostrada del Brennero makes its infrastructure available to car manufacturers involved in the scenarios deployed along the A22 motorway, adapting it to the technology applied by other partners. Autostrada del Brennero was involved in two use cases within Italian pilot tests and in the cross-border use cases. One of two specific use cases concerned three scenarios at the Trento City Centre toll gate, while the other was focused on a lane merging scenario at the Nogaredo Est service area..
Autostrada del Brennero SpA also contributes to WP8 on Costs Analysis and Market Sustainability and on WP9 on Dissemination and Network activities.
- Autostrada del Brennero took part in both the Italian and the cross-border pilot tests. Can you tell us more about those cases?
In the Trento City Centre toll gate use case, three different scenarios were developed:
– Dynamic Adaptation of Vehicle automation Level based on Infrastructure Information deployed involving the Wrong-Way, Queue and VRU detection scenarios;
– IoT services Toll Station and Queue;
– the use of Virtual Mirroring for the Lane Merging scenario.
In particular, for what concerns the Virtual Mirroring for the lane merging scenario, Autostrada del Brennero developed a simulator to broadcast information on the toll gate lanes (method of payment, open or closed lanes, presence of a dedicated lane for automated vehicles, etc.) In the use case deployed at the Nogaredo Est service area scenario, Autostrada del Brennero installed a video camera and an RSU of Links Foundation on its variable message sign gantry to detect vehicles coming along the carriageway. In the cross-border use case at the Italian-Austrian border, led by CRF, Autostrada del Brennero generated simulated and real C-ITS messages for CRF/ASFINAG vehicles.
- What were the most relevant use cases in both pilot sites for you?
The use case on the image processing to detect “traditional” vehicles, in order to elaborate and send the information on their positioning to connected vehicles is very relevant. This will be the most important application in the transition phase, where non-connected vehicles will circulate among connected ones, to reduce the accident rates and contribute to the efficiency of traffic management.
- What have been the main challenges behind cross-borders interoperability? And what are the possible gains?
The main challenge was to have two technologies developed independently one from the other working in synergy, granting seamless driving to cars passing from one country to the other, from one service provider to the other, from one traffic code to the other. This was a big challenge and will be the main achievement of the next years. Technology is mature and works in different domains: the overall goal is to have interoperable technologies, allowing to have standard systems all over Europe.
- Anything else you would like to mention or highlight?
The participation in European co-funded projects on cooperative traffic management solutions is highly appreciated by Autostrada del Brennero. The main interest of the company, which is not tied to specific technologies nor to specific communication channels, is to contribute to harmonized and interoperable solutions where standard messages can be generated by the infrastructure and reach vehicles. The main goal of the Company is to reduce the accident rate and increase driving safety for users, independently of the technology deployed. European projects, such as ICT4CART, are instrumental to reach this goal quickly.