Meet ICT4CART: the Interview Series, round 7

  • Meet IBM Research Europe – Ireland: the company

IBM Research Europe - Ireland has an open approach to research, coupled with a deep curiosity of our researchers. This strategy creates breakthrough client-focused outcomes in domains such as IoT/Digital Twin, AI security, privacy, healthcare, and cloud. Together, we define and test new technologies on real business problems, discovering new growth opportunities and contributing to the success of IBM platforms and solutions.

  • IBM Research Europe – Ireland in ICT4CART: what is your role?

Our role in ICT4CART is, from a technical point of view, to develop innovative services and applications in the context of Connected Automated Driving (CAD). As leaders of WP5: Data and IT Services and several tasks related to services, interoperability and data management, we also contribute to the correct project management and execution in these aspects of the project.

Our current research and development (R&D) activities focus on software components that are central to the ICT4CART IT infrastructure and required in different pilot sites across the project. In addition, we have a direct involvement in the German pilot site, where we collaborate with other project partners in building a smart parking analytics platform and in studying mechanisms for low latency data forwarding in Multiaccess Edge Computing (MEC) platforms.

  • Which IT services and tools are needed for connected automation across the multitude of communication networks? What are the challenges for implementation and how could they be overcome?

Connected Automated Driving (CAD) poses a set of interesting R&D challenges for us in ICT4CART. These challenges are related to various IBM offerings, such as Hybrid Cloud[1], Internet of Things[2], or Connected Vehicle Insights[3]

Interoperability is an important part of achieving CAD. Although the use of standards is always taken into account in the automotive sector, it is not always possible or the best alternative. It is a complex sector with many actors involved such as technology manufacturers and regulators. This complexity also affects how data is formatted and transmitted, and how interfaces to services are built. One challenge for us in ICT4CART is to work towards interoperable services and applications that, for instance, can work across countries.

Platforms with low latency are crucial to achieve higher levels of vehicle automation. It is essential that vehicles are able to receive data quickly from their environment along their route. This data may come from other vehicles, the road infrastructure or other services, and gives vehicles valuable information to complement their own systems. It is a crucial part of ICT4CART to develop the right platforms for this, including the new technologies available in 5G networks, with better network links or Multiaccess Edge Computing (MEC). To complement these advancements, we are developing data exchange services and analytics that take advantage of them. One of our goals is to extend cloud services to MEC servers and to create an environment in which vehicles can seamlessly benefit.

The development of the Internet of Things (IoT) has made available new data streams. Some of them are useful to create novel applications in the automotive domain. 5G networks will also boost IoT and make the early deployments we see now a new normal. In ICT4CART, we use smart parking as a clear example of this. We are taking advantage of parking garage data and off-street parking sensors developed in the City of Ulm, as well as parking data obtained via a video camera in the City of Verona, to create an analytics platform. This platform ingests the available data streams and uses Machine Learning models to predict parking availability. We see great potential in this concept, as it can be used to improve the experience of drivers or to optimize the performance of vehicle fleets.