FLOURISH Data Transfer, Fusion and Visualisation Findings

8 October 2019

Connected vehicles have the potential to revolutionise the cities we live in and the way we travel. Connectivity will enable traffic management systems to safely optimise traffic flow in real time, easing congestion, improving air quality and minimising impacts on the environment. This will positively impact users by improving journey time reliability and allowing users to make ‘on the move’ choices about their travel using real-time journey information.

The use of this technology will enable transport authorities to fully utilise road capacity. However, the deployment of connected vehicles will generate significant amounts of data. Therefore, it will be important to optimise the wireless transfer of data between vehicles and roadside infrastructure to cope with this increase in volume. To support this, FLOURISH explored how data can be transferred and utilised to maximise the potential benefits associated with connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs).

During the FLOURISH car trials, the University of Bristol investigated the conditions required for the effective transfer of data and pioneered the application of fog-based computing to CAVs. This state-of-the-art technology is more immediate than cloud-based solutions and thus will enhance the benefits that can be delivered by CAVs, such as more efficient traffic flows. Moreover, this technology could benefit other road users – such as pedestrians and cyclists – by enabling connected vehicles to ‘see’ round blind-corners.

The car trials also involved testing the provision of a range of services, such as roadworks and accident warnings, using a central Cooperative Intelligent Transport System (C-ITS) developed by Dynniq. In future, these services will enable authorities to better manage the road network and will result in more informed journeys for users.

Benefits of Connectivity

To complement the live trials, FLOURISH used simulated environments to examine how CAVs will behave on the network. A traffic model of Bristol was developed by Aimsun with the capability to simulate vehicle-to-everything communications, and this was used by Atkins to develop a Rules Engine that models several CAV scenarios, such as vehicle platooning and speed harmonisation. These scenarios were tested at different levels of CAV penetration to understand the impact of CAVs on the road network. The results suggested that maximum benefits could be achieved with higher levels of CAV penetration. It is critical that the impact of vehicle connectivity continues to be explored to inform the planning of future transport infrastructure.

In relation to this, FLOURISH explored how Artificial Intelligence could be deployed in traffic management systems to create a responsive network of CAVs. Neural network technologies were developed and applied by React AI to understand how road traffic patterns and behaviours can be analysed and predicted; enabling better network decisions to be made and thus reducing congestion and minimising delays.

An Artificial Intelligence system was also developed at an individual vehicle level to enable vehicles to navigate in complex off-road, human-populated environments. The final version of the Vehicle-Level Artificial Intelligence unit combined various neural network components and was embedded in a bespoke CAV research platform. This will continue to be developed beyond the project and could be applied to a variety of sectors beyond CAVs.

Within the vehicle, Airbus investigated the use of Human State Monitoring technology to better understand a user’s experience of the CAV – aligning with FLOURISH’s ‘User Needs and Expectations’ theme. This involved the use of advanced, non-contact, physiological sensors to gain insight into a user’s state. In future, CAVs will be able to analyse this data automatically and thus adjust its behaviour in real-time, providing a more responsive and satisfying journey for users.

With an increase in the volume and variety of data being produced by CAVs, it is essential to ensure that this data is protected and secure. Therefore, AXA and Burges Salmon have used the findings and experience gained during FLOURISH to set out a series of principles for ensuring data protection compliance in the development of CAV products and services. These recommendations – presented in the third FLOURISH Legal and Insurance report – will help to shape the evolving legal and insurance landscape for CAVs, whilst ensuring that the interests of CAV users are considered and protected.

As the CAV sector continues to develop, the findings from FLOURISH can be used to ensure that the technology is deployed in the most efficient and safe way – helping to future-proof infrastructure and leading to a variety of benefits for users and transport authorities.

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