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120 cars put new communication system to the test

Intelligent cars warn each other

The system warns the driver if a vehicle ahead brakes heavily – well before the driver is physically able to react. (Photo: simTD)
The system warns the driver if a vehicle ahead brakes heavily – well before the driver is physically able to react. (Photo: simTD)

One of the largest fleet tests in the world was launched today in Germany. 120 cars hit the road to test a system known as simTD, a technology that enables vehicles to communicate with each other and their environment. This new system brought scientists together with private companies and public organizations. It enables cars to exchange information on traffic conditions and possible dangers. Researchers at Technische Universität München (TUM) played a key role in designing the test scenarios. They will also be evaluating the data.

The “Safe Intelligent Mobility – Test Field Germany (simTD)” research project aims to help drivers select the best routes, detect obstacles before they see them and cut emissions through energy-efficient driving. To achieve these goals, researchers have electronically networked cars with each other and their infrastructure, known as car-to-car and car-to-x communication. Over the coming months, 120 cars will be testing the simTD consortium’s system in real life – putting it through its paces on the highways, country roads and city streets in and around Frankfurt.

What kind of formations, at what times, and which routes do the individual vehicles in the test fleet have to take to produce reliable results? Scientists from the Technische Universität München have prepared the field test and will analyze the huge amounts of data produced. “We investigate how drivers adopt this technology in everyday scenarios and to what extent we can improve road safety and prevent congestion,” as Prof. Fritz Busch, TUM Chair for Traffic Engineering and Control outlines. The scientists also simulate what impact the introduction of the technology would have on the entire traffic in the test area if a certain proportion of cars were fitted with this technology.