WORLD FIRST: Software to prevent autonomous vehicles causing congestion if systems fail


At the ITSUP startup pavilion at Intertraffic Amsterdam (March 20-23), autonomous solutions company RobotTuner is showcasing its newly-developed software that enables autonomous vehicles to be controlled remotely, thereby removing the risk that vehicle system failures could impinge on safety or cause congestion. Real-life testing of the first-of-its-kind software will begin in two weeks. 

“Everyone thinks that we’ll soon have Level 5 vehicles that can easily travel from A to B,” said RobotTuner’s chief engineer Ehetasham Tahir. “But what if it gets stuck somewhere? This system allows somebody to take control of the vehicle remotely. However, for this, we need real-time images – and that’s why we’ve developed the system using 5G.” 

Navya, the autonomous vehicle company; the Netherlands Living Lab, which researches 5G possibilities; and the communications company KPM, are also involved in RobotTuner’s project, which will being tested in the northern Netherlands province of Groningen.  

Speaking of the company’s presence at ITSUP at Intertraffic Amsterdam, Tahir says, “This [simulation]screen represents our actual autonomous vehicle and the screen over there represents the control room.

“If our actual vehicle gets stuck in a critical area and it has a passenger inside, the passenger may not have the authority to take control of the vehicle and help it to drive to a safe area. In that situation, thanks to our system, the vehicle can be controlled remotely.”

When testing of the system begins in Groningen, it will be used in an open, non-complex environment. “At this stage – learning and development phase – we want to see what happens. Currently, the software is ready, the hardware is almost ready, and so it will be exciting to execute both in the testing phase.”

“We also want to be the first company in the world to steer real-life vehicles remotely,” said Tahir. “While eventually, the sytem could be used in any real-life traffic application, our main goal at present is simply to test if we can steer these cars remotely, in real time, and through 5G, which has a very low latency.” 

To see the autonomous vehicle remote control system, visit RobotTuner’s stand (09.120) in the ITSUP pavilion. 

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Rachelle joined Traffic Technology International in early 2016 after having worked for an HR magazine and prior to that, as a freelance sub editor for various lifestyle consumer magazines. As deputy editor, she supports the editor in making each issue and updating the website. Outside of work, she enjoys tap dancing, playing the piano and video games, and eating spicy food.