Virtual test driving and simulation software systems developer IPG Automotive is working on a German government-sponsored project to create traffic predictions from real-time data provided by connected cars.
The German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) has provided €6.1m (US$7.2m) in funding for the Providentia (Pro-active video-based use of telecommunications technologies in innovative autobahn scenarios) project, as part of the Research Program on Automation and Connectivity in Road Transport, which is within the wider Funding Guidelines for Automated and Connected Driving on Digital Test Beds in Germany scheme. Other partners in the project are BMW Group, Cognition Factory, Elektrobit, Fortiss, Huawei, and Rohde & Schwarz.
The main aim of the project is to provide drivers and highly automated vehicles with an as comprehensive as possible view of the road ahead. This is achieved using data collected by sensor technology, such as cameras and radar units, that are both placed along the road and installed in connected vehicles. The system uses the latest generation of cellular networks and V2X (vehicle-to-everything) receivers to process and transfer the relevant data to the sensor fusion backend.
Karlsruhe-based IPG’s CarMaker simulation software is providing important support for the development of the system. On-road field tests at the digital test bed on Germany’s A9 highway are realistically transferred to CarMaker’s virtual world. Real-traffic situations and objects are then virtually modeled in real time, which allows realistic tests of the entire system in simulated test driving scenarios. If the interaction of sensors, V2X components, and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) works in the simulations, the real-time data can then be displayed on in-car systems while the connected vehicles are being tested in actual traffic scenarios on the A9 testbed.
By taking real-world test driving data into the virtual world as a complement to on-road trials, IPG is contributing significantly to the technical development progress of the Providentia research project, which continues until mid-2019. It is hoped that once the systems on the A9 digital test bed are completely reliable, it will lead to the swift introduction of the technology across Germany.
“In addition to the traffic situation, real-time information on the weather may be provided, as well as suggestions for safe and comfortable driving that are adapted to the current situation,” explained Martin Herrmann, business development manager for ADAS and automated driving at IPG. “At all times, the drivers themselves decide what information is displayed in the car. Warnings, however, are always issued.”