Meet ICT4CART: the Interview Series, 9th edition

  • Meet SWARCO: the company

The traffic technology group SWARCO headquartered in Wattens near Innsbruck / Austria has an international network of production facilities, offices and partners on all continents. It offers one of the most complete solution portfolios for road marking, signage, urban traffic management, parking, highway and tunnel management, public transport, and street lighting. We connect vehicles with the road infrastructure, help in setting up charging infrastructure to boost electro-mobility and offer modular and holistic solutions with added values that support tomorrow’s mobility and make life in our cities more liveable.

Three SWARCO companies work within ICT4CART, bringing different competences.

SWARCO MIZAR is specialized in the design, development, and implementation of advanced telematics systems. It has a strong reputation in Europe for its expertise in traffic management, public transport management (NEXT), traveller information services and for OMNIA the “open platform designed to offer an easy and intuitive access to a wide range of ITS applications "

SWARCO FUTURIT is one of the world’s leading producers of LED-based signalling and lighting technology and unmistakably contributes to more safety and order on the roads of our planet.

SWARCO TRAFFIC SYSTEMS acts as a system integrator for traffic light systems and intersection controls, motorway and tunnel guidance systems, parking guidance systems and charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, including associated software development.

  • SWARCO in ICT4CART: what is your role?

In ICT4CART project, SWARCO is focusing on the development and implementation of the ad hoc radio network, based on the ITS G5 technology, for the V2I and V2V communications. For the infrastructure, the ITS G5 network consists of a roadside unit (RSU) properly installed for each test site, while for the vehicle, the ITS G5 is represented by the on-board unit (OBU).

Furthermore, in the city of Verona, we are developing TLA (traffic light assistance). Traffic light prediction is a service that improves safety and convenience for drivers by assisting them at crossroads. This includes services such as Time To Green (TTG), which provides real-time information on traffic light cycles and Green Light Optimized Speed Advisory (GLOSA), which calculates the optimal approach speed to obtain a green light at the next intersection.

In the city of Ulm, in the "virtual mirror" pilot case used to increase the vision of the vehicle on the surrounding traffic, SWARCO is the supplier and producer of the road infrastructure.

Finally, we participate in several pilot cases both in Italy and Austria, where we are involved in the development of AMQP (Advanced Message Queuing Protocol) brokers.

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

A versatile connected infrastructure must be able to meet the needs of users that mainly concern safety, consumption, comfort, and environmental impact. To meet these needs, efforts will be needed to develop connection services (such as navigation, infotainment, vehicle management and mobility), autonomous driving (such as driving and parking assistance and road sign recognition) and safety (collision sensors, radar , alarms and automatic emergency calls).

The autonomous vehicle, however, is not able to manage all the situations only with the sensors installed in the vehicle but it needs an infrastructure capable of supporting it and guiding it in the most critical situations, such as in urban traffic where the presence of obstacles and blind spots is very high.

In addition, the connected infrastructure allows to connect all autonomous vehicles by creating a more collaborative and more efficient mobility management, also reducing latency times, and making the “infrastructure - vehicle system” more efficient and safer.

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

The best way to guarantee a cross-border connected infrastructure is to always have a network connected so that vehicles always manage the receiving and sending of data even when they are at the border.

The main problem that can incur is the long interruption of communications from one state to another due to the disconnection from one telephone network to another. Furthermore, there might be GPS interruptions related to the morphology of the territory, where mountains and tunnels can cause the vehicle losing GPS signal.

A possible solution to prevent the above problems could be to perform a double connection of the vehicle to both countries infrastructures in order to get a redundancy of signals close to the border.

Furthermore, a very widespread infrastructure with more frequent and connected sensors could help to never lose track even in environments not covered by satellite guidance.