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The first steps to standardize European communication and interaction for automated driving will be taken on 28 and 29 May by the i-GAME project with the Grand Cooperative Driving Challenge 2016 (GCDC 2016) in Helmond in the Netherland. GCDC 2016 is an international cooperative driving competition, combining vehicle automation (self-driving) and the interaction and communication between infrastructure and vehicles of different brands and types. Ten student teams from Sweden, Spain, France, Germany, Latvia and the Netherlands will compete on the A270 between Helmond and Eindhoven in a range of traffic scenarios like automatic merging, making room for emergency services and automatic turning-off at an intersection. These are complex everyday traffic situations, in which the interactions between vehicles are key. Working on solutions takes a significant step in cooperative vehicle automation, with the aim of making traffic safer, cleaner and more efficient. GCDC 2016 is part of an integrated plan to strengthen the position of the Brainport region and the Netherlands in the field of cooperative automated driving.
GCDC 2016 is part of the international i-GAME (Interoperable GCDC AutoMation Experience) project supported by the European Commission. i‑GAME combines research and demonstrations of interoperable, standardized vehicle–vehicle and vehicle–infrastructure communication using applied research. See also www.gcdc.net. The participants in the i-GAME project – TNO, Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), Viktoria of Sweden and IDIADA of Spain – are working together to accelerate the development of cooperative and autonomous driving and the standardization of communication systems and channels. On 14 April the transport ministers of the 28 EU member states reached agreement on the Declaration of Amsterdam, dealing with the required steps and rules for the development of self-driving technology in Europe.
Safe use of cooperative automation on Europe’s roads with communication systems, protocols and channels needs coordination between different vehicle and equipment manufacturers. “The interactions need to be coordinated at European level”, said Bastiaan Krosse, program manager for Automated Driving at TNO (Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research). “Another big challenge is achieving robust vehicle systems under all kinds of conditions, regardless of the vehicle brand or the road on which it is being driven. In other words, how sensitive a system or an application is to external disturbances. These are the key aspects that we’re testing in GCDC 2016, through a special competition based on partnership and collaboration.”
“The student teams are assessed on teamwork, communication and performance in the different traffic scenarios. We deliberately chose to test on the A270 public road. Researchers often use their own test environments and their own cars. But you don’t really know if it works until you’ve tried it on public roads, when you have interactions with other cars and the road surface”, Bastiaan Krosse added.
The Netherlands is leading in developing and testing of cooperative driving because the mobility challenges of traffic flows, safety and environmental impact there can no longer be addressed just by building new roads. The Netherlands has an interest and a favorable climate for this work because industry, knowledge institutes and government are working together with shared goals and supportive legislation. In addition, the Netherlands has numerous leading international parties in the high-tech and traffic industries that are working on cooperative driving. “This gives the Netherlands and the Brainport region a strong position in smart mobility and a sound international base”, said Paul van den Avoort, director of Mobility and Logistics at TNO.
Carlo van de Weijer, director of the Strategic Area Smart Mobility at TU/e, is proud that this year’s GCDC is returning to the Eindhoven region: “We’re hosting the Olympic Games of autonomous driving right on the university’s doorstep. GCDC is being held on the A270 between Eindhoven and Helmond – it’s literally a testbed that underlines the strong links between the university and the Automotive Campus.”
The GCDC will be open to the public on Saturday 28 May from 11.00 – 19.00 hours. As an important part of the Dutch Technology Week on the Automotive Campus in Helmond there will be a special ‘High-tech Discovery Route’ with activities for people of all ages. On Sunday 29 May the GCDC will be held from 13.30 - 17.30 hours for mobility experts and will be closed on Monday 30 May with an international I‑GAME congress at TU/e.
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