Netherlands to host automated connected vehicle competition on public roads

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The first steps to standardize European communication and interaction for automated driving will be taken on May 28-29, when the Grand Cooperative Driving Challenge 2016 (GCDC) is held on public roads in the Brainport region of the Netherlands.

The GCDC is one of the highlights of the European i-GAME research project, supported by the European Commission (EC), which is the next step toward the introduction of cooperative automated vehicles. The GCDC 2016 is an innovative and competitive demonstration taking place on the A270 highway between Helmond and Eindhoven, in which 10 European teams compete with each other in vehicles of different brands and types.

The demonstration is a combination of vehicle automation (self-driving) and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication. The i-GAME (Interoperable GCDC AutoMation Experience) research project and the GCDC takes the cooperative automation of different vehicles to the next level, and will help to speed-up their implementation, with an underlying goal of boosting traffic safety and traffic flow, while reducing fuel consumption and emissions.

Ten student teams from Sweden, Spain, France, Germany, Latvia and the Netherlands will compete on the A270 between Helmond and Eindhoven in a range of traffic scenarios, such as automatic merging, making room for emergency services, and automatic turning-off at an intersection. The student team that represents the Netherlands is a team from Fontys Hogescholen (Applied Sciences) and Eindhoven University of Technology. The participants in the overall i-GAME project, TNO (Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research), Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), Viktoria of Sweden, and IDIADA of Spain, are working together to accelerate the development of cooperative and autonomous driving and the standardization of communication systems and channels.

The tasks in the competition are complex everyday traffic situations, in which the interactions between vehicles from different manufacturers are key. Working on solutions to the problems of multi-vendor cooperative vehicle automation, is essential for future real-world implementation of the technology. GCDC 2016 is part of an integrated plan to strengthen the position of the Brainport region, and the Netherlands in general, in the field of cooperative automated driving.

“The student teams are assessed on teamwork, communication and performance in the different traffic scenarios,” explained Bastiaan Krosse, program manager for automated driving at TNO. “We deliberately chose to test on the A270 public road. Researchers often use their own test environments and their own cars. But you don’t really know if it works until you’ve tried it on public roads, when you have interactions with other cars and the road surface.”

Carlo van de Weijer, director of the Strategic Area Smart Mobility at TU/e, said, “I am proud that this year’s GCDC is returning to the Eindhoven region. We’re hosting the Olympic Games of autonomous driving right on the university’s doorstep. GCDC is being held on the A270 between Eindhoven and Helmond; it’s literally a testbed that underlines the strong links between the university and the Automotive Campus.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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