Meet ICT4CART: the Interview Series, 11th edition

  • Meet Austriatech: the company

AustriaTech – Federal Agency for Technological Measures is a 100% subsidiary of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology. Having been active as a non-profit organisation for more than ten years, AustriaTech’s main target is to implement technology developments in mobility networks. In order to achieve this objective, AustriaTech is monitoring innovation processes and taking an advisory role in the implementation of national and European policies. Furthermore, it fosters the engagement of national and international stakeholders to ensure interdisciplinary collaboration, cooperating with stakeholders in various projects.

AustriaTech acts as national contact point for connected and automated driving and actively informs the public about Day 1 C-ITS services and validates them on the road.

  • Austriatech in ICT4CART: what is your role?

AustriaTech is active in many work packages of ICT4CART. Taking part in the specification and review of all four-use cases in the project, AustriaTech has provided requirements in fields of Cyber Security and Hybrid Connectivity (as a combination of cellular based and wireless short range communication).

In the specification phase of the system architecture, AustriaTech took part in the review of the infrastructure elements. Coordinating the knowledge between ICT4CART and C-Roads, AustriaTech is involved in the development of the geographic targeting of the information services (based on the Quadtree algorithm) as well as the delivering chain using the AMQP protocol in the technical elements involved. The geographic targeting of information services based on Quadtree is a method to cluster the map of Europe into commonly defined and agreed squares. Out of roughly 20 zoom levels, the smallest one covers an area of around one intersection in a city, whereas the largest one contains almost all of Europe. Based on the selected geometric zoom level – influencing the size of a quadtree square and respective message tile – clients receive all C-ITS messages, which are valid in their area and direction of driving, starting from the position where the client is located. The Advanced Queue Messaging Protocol – AMQP – serves as a way of communication, establishing connections between vehicles as clients demanding information and the traffic infrastructure as servers providing the respective information. AustriaTech will be among the many partners in ICT4CART to test the architecture at Test sites in Austria and in the cross-border site between Austria and Italy.

As part of ICT4CART’s dissemination strategy, AustriaTech is involved in stakeholder engagement, directly liaising with a group of experts in the project’s relevant areas to facilitate the sharing of their expertise to guide the consortium. Furthermore, research projects, automotive & ICT companies, as well as universities, form the broader group of stakeholders.

  • What are the preconditions to provide a versatile connected infrastructure and how does this support the evolution towards autonomous driving?

The first steps towards autonomous driving on real road networks are currently performed with Day 1 C-ITS services being rolled out in Europe and extended with additional Day 1.5 messages targeted to areas, like platooning of vehicles or advanced vehicle assistance for merging situations. These services and the respective C-ITS messages form a solid basis for all stakeholders involved to use a connected infrastructure for their regular and highly versatile communication.

Secondly, dissemination has an important role to create public awareness for C-ITS and the development towards automated driving. As described above, approaching key stakeholders is a first step to forming a common knowledge base. In order to provide a connected infrastructure and ultimately functional automated vehicles, service interoperability at EU level is the overall policy objective and technological target for all partners involved in ICT4CART.

  • How can seamless cross-border connected infrastructure be ensured? What are the obstacles and how could they be overcome?

As first step, it is important to settle for common service definitions, which are specified and valid in the whole EU, accessible and openly available as complete communication profiles. Furthermore, the limits of cellular networks must be taken into consideration. For example, cross border handovers between the Telecom network of two Member States or two service providers are use cases that are examined in detail within ICT4CART.

In the second step, use cases, which stand for possible traffic scenarios, are defined and agreed. Additionally, the network implementations and handover procedures must be agreed upon in the EU.

As an example, the C-Roads platform has described a functional way to implement services and use cases in various project test sites. These services are called Day 1 Services and each of them covers several use cases for the specific standard message, like DENM.

  • According to your analysis, how will the market structure develop?

In order to establish a market structure, strong support from road infrastructure operators is needed, as well as contributions from a solid base of Day 1 information service among others.

As of now, the first series of vehicle models are already fully connected and equipped with C-ITS. Not only do they support the Day 1 Service set, but they are also extending these features to mass market vehicles and will hereby boost the interaction between infrastructures and vehicle fleets in the near future.