ICT4CART Interview Series: first appointment with ICCS, project coordinator

Welcome to ICT4CART Interview Series! This appointment wants to better present our project and the unique consortium which is working towards higher levels of automation for CAD. This month, we introduce you to ICCS, our project coordinator, and SoA software design. Enjoy the reading!

Meet the project coordinator: ICCS

ICCS is a non-profit academic research body established in 1989, and linked to the National and Technical University of Athens (NTUA). ICCS is the Research host of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) and consists of more than 50 labs, research teams and groups dealing with all aspects of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The I-SENSE Research Group involved in ICT4CART is conducting R&D activities in the following areas: Automated Transport Systems (automated driving, automation in transport and cybersecurity), Cooperative Systems, Electromobility, Field Operational tests (FOTs), Human Machine Interaction (HMI), Data Fusion, Logistics and Supply Chain management as well as Internet related research (IoT, Cloud services etc.). The Group is also very active in other research domains, such as Smart Integrated Systems (Sensors, Communication, Platforms) and Virtual & Augmented Reality.

ICCS in ICT4CART: what is your role?

The ISENSE Group has an extensive expertise in the ITS and Smart Mobility sectors, gained by working on more than 120 EU- funded and national research projects and with several industry leaders. In ICT4CART, we are able to use both our technical and administrative experience. Our primary role is of project coordinator, holding a great responsibility in helping this unique consortium to synchronise its efforts, achieve the best possible outcomes and create a real impact in the deployment of Automated Driving in Europe.

We are also being involved in other technical tasks (i.e. the use cases refinement, the SoA analysis, the test site activities planning, the evaluation methodology and impact assessment activities).

What is the core vision and mission behind ICT4CART?

Our consortium’s mission is to address the challenge of automated driving by developing and testing a robust ICT architecture, to ensure automated vehicles are always securely connected to current and emerging wireless technologies, and can share information and coordinate with other vehicles and the broader road transport network.

This coordination and support from the information and communication infrastructure will ensure a strong help in facing the complexities of “on the road” CAD implementation (traffic congestion, emissions and accidents risk).

Can you explain what SoA (Service Oriented Architecture) is, and what are the main challenges of its development?

Service-oriented architecture (SOA) is a style of software design where services are provided from an application component to the others through a communication protocol over a network. The basic principles of SoA are independent from vendors, products and technologies. A service is a discrete unit of functionality that can be accessed remotely, acted upon and updated independently. Different services can be used in conjunction to provide the functionality of a large software application, a principle SOA shares with modular programming. Service-oriented architecture integrates distributed, separately-maintained and -deployed software components.

To address existing gaps in the area of CAD, ICT4CART is designing and implementing a versatile ICT infrastructure following the principles of SOA, that will enable the transition towards higher levels of automation (L3 & L4). This high-level architecture will integrate specific key ICT elements, (hybrid connectivity, data management, cyber-security, data privacy and accurate localisation) to ensure performance and resilience for different groups of services and applications. The main challenges our consortium is facing towards is to unite all these different technological aspects under a unique IT environment, a marketplace for different applications and services, and ensure interoperability, taking also into account users’ needs and requirements.

How is ICT4CART expected to contribute facing these complexities?

ICT4CART architecture will specify a semantic framework, based on existing efforts, to facilitate interoperability throughout the architecture; it will also take into account the specification of the data flows, and where the various components will reside in the multitude of communication networks.

A distributed, interoperable and cloud-based data management IT environment will support the project’s hybrid communication solutions, to facilitate seamless and efficient exchange of data, enable real-time analytics, protect data privacy, and open up new business models.

The flexible network architecture, based on network slicing, will allow for the specialisation and isolation of different types of applications with different performance requirements, allowing services to respond to the needs of different users and relevant circumstances: improve the comfort vehicle occupants, avoid congestion, ensure road safety. The IT environment will enable third-party providers, such as IT and app developers, to offer innovative commercial services and therefore create new business opportunities in the ecosystem.

Rather than attempting to develop generic solutions that may have questionable impacts in practice, the ICT4CART team is focusing on supporting four specific use-cases covering key challenges, which will be tested under real-world conditions in Austria, Germany and Italy. These include addressing how communications are handed over between different networks when a car crosses a national border (Italy-Austria); how to ensure cars can continue to communicate when signals might be obstructed, such as after entering an underground parking garage or in dense urban traffic; and how to boost the situational awareness of autonomous vehicles at critical moments using data from traffic monitoring systems and other vehicles.