A successful trial of a connected vehicle positioning system in Norway has positioned the country to become a potential world-leader in the application of vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technology in road tunnels.
The trial was carried out in the Bjørnegård tunnel in the municipality of Bærum by the Norwegian tunnel technology company Aventi, in partnership with the Australian connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technology developer Cohda Wireless.
The purpose of the trial was to demonstrate the efficacy of Cohda’s world-leading V2X-Locate vehicle positioning solution in the newly-built 1.4-mile (2.2km) long tunnel. V2X-Locate was developed by Cohda to solve the problem of accurate vehicle positioning where GNSS (GPS) systems usually perform poorly, for example in ‘urban canyons’, underground parking lots and tunnels.
For the Norwegian trials, four of Cohda’s roadside units (RSU’s) were positioned at intervals inside the tunnel and following a range of tests, the company’s V2X-Locate solution was proven to be able to locate a vehicle moving through the tunnel with a high degree of accuracy.
The trial paves the way for the introduction of reliable cooperative connected and automated mobility (CCAM) and cooperative intelligent transport system (C-ITS) technology services in tunnels which make up a total of 870 miles (1,400km) of Norway’s national road network.
“C-ITS currently relies on good GPS reception under open sky, but this test proves that we can make it work in tunnels as well. This was a fairly short tunnel, well suited as a proof-of-concept, but we hope we’ll get the opportunity to implement this in the really long tunnels, like the E39 RogFast, which will be 27km (16.7 miles) long, with complex exit ramps and two roundabouts in the middle,” explained Bjørn Elnes, systems engineer at Aventi. “In addition to increasing safety and convenience for drivers currently using the tunnels, it will also enable autonomous shuttles to traverse these tunnels.”
May Bente Hiim Sindre, project manager at the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, commented, “We are a major developer and supplier of services to our society and motivate R&D and innovation related to the tasks we perform. We do this together with other contributors to the transport sector, such as Aventi. This is a unique opportunity to adopt new technologies that further develop the infrastructure and transport solutions for the new E16 from Sandvika to Wøyen and the Bjørnegård tunnel.”
Chief technical officer at Cohda Wireless prof. Paul Alexander noted, “The Bjørnegård tunnel is a road transport environment in which GPS & Dead Reckoning positioning can be off by up to 40m (131ft) and the challenges associated with this are usually demonstrated in relation to autonomous vehicles, but as this trial demonstrates, it will be essential for a successful roll-out of C-ITS in countries like Norway.
“Being able to locate vehicles with a high degree of accuracy in a tunnel of these vast dimensions, without causing interference to other radio signals used in the tunnel, bodes well for the introduction of autonomous vehicles and busses.”