Niels Agerholm (Aalborg University) explains the reasons why Aalborg University has joined the ERTICO network, and its involvement in ITS development and deployment.

What are the benefits Aalborg University wants to obtain from its recently acquired condition as ERTICO partner?

We think it is a shortcut to get more European ‘networking’ because a lot of organisations are meeting at conferences and workshops organised by ERTICO. I think it is a very good way to meet the right people for the right research tasks, and to learn more about new applications. We also hope to get more funding from the EU and other resources in which ERTICO is involved.

What is the main focus of the Traffic Research Group at Aalborg University?

There are different departments of Aalborg University involved in ITS: Computer Science; Electronic Systems; Create and Civil Engineering. The Traffic Research Group is part of the latter. The Traffic Research Group works on classical roads engineering skills but its main area of research is ITS for congestion and traffic safety purposes, and for ecoDriving and energy efficiency. We also have a focus on public transportation and carpooling, as we are exploring ways to use new technologies to reduce congestion and make more people travel in the same car.

Then, for example the Computer Sciences and Electronic Systems Department, works a lot on controlling car data, such as GPS data. We use this data for road safety purposes and for reducing congestion. We have also started to focus on data from electrical vehicles, to better understand how the driver would use them if we want to implement them on a large scale in Denmark or other countries.

Any news about the Annual Traffic Conference that you organise periodically?

The last one was the 21st Conference, it took place last August and 350 scientists were involved. It is the largest scientific road and traffic conference in Scandinavia taking place annually. Up to now, most presentations have been in Danish or Scandinavian, but we are working hard to have more sessions in English so people outside the Scandinavian countries can also participate.

The next Annual Traffic Conference will be on 24-25 August 2015.

Would you like to share a successful story related with ITS?

We undertook a large-scale ITS project called ITS Platform, where we collected car data from nearly 450 cars (position, speed and other information). One of the things we have developed is a full automatic parking payment system based on the GNSS position. It sounds quite simple… but it becomes very difficult in narrow roads where you don’t have free access to GNSS signals. In these cases, we had to use very advanced map-matching algorithms. But we succeed so people just stopped their car, stepped out and the payment took place automatically. When they start the car the payment stops and they can see afterwards how much money they have paid for the parking via a personal webpage.

The project ran successfully last year for a couple of months but unfortunately we had to finalise it by the end of 2013. Although the project was running only for a few months, it was very promising!

Something to add?

I would like to add once again that, from Aalborg University we are eager to cooperate with our new partners at ERTICO.