New project in London investigates feasibility of wireless EV charging

More choice in charging infrastructure could enable more investment in electric vehicles, and achieve a zero emissions transport system in London by 2050.

A grant of nearly £50,000 from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles and Innovate UK has been awarded to a consortium led by UK Power Networks Services, funding a project focused on wireless charging for electric vehicles.

UK Power Networks Services will work with UPSHigh Speed 1 and WMG on the new project, assessing the feasibility of using wireless charging to support the use of electric vehicles in commercial fleets on London’s roads.

The project will run from January to March 2019 and will investigate the practicality of deploying wireless charging technology in three live locations across London and Tamworth. The purpose is to understand the impact on infrastructure and the commercial viability of this type of charging. The study will look at how its future use could reduce costs, improve productivity and safety, and increase the uptake of electric vehicle fleets across the UK.

UK Power Networks Services’ Director, Ian Smyth, said: “Wireless charging has the potential to deliver lower cost electric vehicle fleets, safer unobtrusive infrastructure and provides an important solution where constraints on physical space mean wired charging is not practical.

“We believe that the lack of wireless charging projects in the UK is primarily the result of many users considering this technology immature or lacking a strong business case.

“Wireless charging could allow drivers to stay in their vehicles and create a safer, more secure vehicle with greater productivity and lower cost. With so many potential benefits, commercial enterprises need to understand the case for wireless charging better.”

The assessment will include the wireless charging of electric taxis while waiting for passengers in the taxi rank outside St Pancras International railway station, of UPS delivery vans at their Tamworth depot while parcels are loaded, and of UK Power Networks’ electric vans.

Wendy Spinks, High Speed 1 Ltd Commercial Director, said: “We are delighted to be supporting this innovative project that could help boost electric vehicle use in London.”

The feasibility study has the potential to lead to a second round of funding with the aim of demonstrating a viable technology system and commercial model, whilst unlocking a new market for electric vehicles, associated infrastructure, and the companies who service this market.

WMG Professor of Power Electronics, Richard McMahon, said: “For WMG this is a great opportunity to work with our partners to demonstrate the practical wireless charging of electric vehicles to bring real opportunities for reducing emissions, especially in urban environments. This project directly aligns with the Low Emissions Mobility strategy of The High Value Manufacturing Catapult Centre at WMG.”

See the original article here

5G wars erupt in Ireland as Three reveals €100m-a-year roll-out plan

Rural 5G speeds will be as good as city speeds, claims Three.

Little more than a week after Vodafone revealed that 15Gbps speeds were possible via pre-standard 5G, rival operator Three has unveiled a €100m-a-year 5G roll-out plan.

Fifth-generation (5G) mobile is the next step in mobile technology evolution after 3G and 4G but, unlike previous generations, it will enable operators to deploy new technology on top of existing 4G base stations. Not only will the technology deliver faster speeds and lower latency, it will enable the connectivity of a variety of devices beyond phones and computers to include internet of things (IoT) devices and even self-driving cars.

The catch? There is no official 5G standard in place as the powerful Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) has yet to officially endorse one.

However, operators, network equipment and device manufacturers are powering ahead with their own pre-standard takes on what 5G will look like. Device makers are expected to reveal their first 5G handsets in the first quarter of next year.

Last week, Vodafone fired the opening salvo in the looming 5G wars by showing us what 5G is capable of in terms of beam-forming to deliver 15Gbps speeds on the move. It said that switching on its NB-IoT network in Ireland last year was the first step in rolling out 5G.

And now, rival network Three is beginning its 5G skirmish by revealing a €100m plan to upgrade its network to go live with the new technology in the next 12 to 24 months.

In a report in The Irish Times this morning (15 February), CEO Robert Finnegan predicted that 5G will help bridge the rural-urban digital divide and potentially enable the same speeds in Donegal as users will enjoy in Dublin.

“You could get up to 100 times what you experience on 4G, potentially,” Finnegan was quoted as saying.

Finnegan said that Three’s approach will be to focus on fixed wireless access, an alternative to broadband over fibre.

In an interview with Three Ireland chief technology officer David Hennessy last year, the operator told that it is currently spending €400m on its network and IT consolidation and overall digital transformation.

The operator became one of the biggest in Ireland through its acquisition of O2 Ireland in 2014 for an estimated €850m.

Read the full article here

Data and the future of autonomous vehicles

The technology needed to bring autonomous vehicles to life is complex. For example, the following market landscape, from Vision Systems Intelligence, includes these components:

  • Processing
  • Sensors
  • Connectivity
  • Mapping
  • Algorithms
  • Security / Safety
  • Development Tools

Aside from specific technologies, the unifying principle for any autonomous system, including vehicles, is data. The future automotive data ecosystem will include data from vehicles, sensors built into roads, communication with nearby vehicles, weather, and other sources.

This data ecosystem is highly complex and involves multiple parties in both the private sector and in government. As private companies develop technology and algorithms, they must partner with federal, state, and local governments that control the roads and make the policy decisions that will allow autonomous vehicles on the road.

It will take years to implement this complex environment completely. The Society of Automotive Engineers created a standard that describes progressive levels for vehicle automation:

The full article can be read here.

Autonomous drive is on Valeo’s radar

At the 2017 Frankfurt, IAA just-auto’s Calum MacRae met with Guillaume Devauchelle, vice president of innovation and scientific development at Valeo. During the show, Valeo unveiled that its future strategic direction would be determined by a focus on three industry megatrends: electric drive; autonomous drive and mobility.

In all three aspects, Valeo is a company playing to its strengths, but this seems to be particularly the case with autonomous driving where Valeo can deliver nearly all of the required systems. As Devauchelle observes, “I will not say 100%, but we can deliver nearly all of the required systems. With SCALA Lidar we are first in the market with Audi. Additionally, we do cameras, radar and ultrasonic sensors. Already we deliver 700,000 ultrasonic sensors a day so it’s a huge business for us.”

Valeo also has high hopes for its sensor fusion units, the box of tricks that aggregates all the inputs from the various sensors, “They manage the triple redundancy we believe you need for autonomous driving. On board, we’ll know exactly what is happening even in bright sunlight or if it’s foggy and the camera doesn’t see that much. So we can always guarantee that the image we give to the OEM will be accurate. And we can also provide the PCU that decides what the car should be doing depending on the inputs.”

Australian ITS Summit showcases New Era of Automated Vehicles

Speaking at the fifth Australian Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) Summit being held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Minister for Main Roads and Road Safety Mark Bailey, said Queensland was already preparing for driverless and connected vehicles with ambitious planning underway for the largest on-road testing trial in Australia to ensure the State is ready for the future.

“Transport and Main Roads is in the planning stages of Australia’s largest trial of cooperative intelligent transport systems technologies as part of its Connected and Automated Vehicle Initiative (CAVI),” Bailey said.

The Government plans to recruit about 500 local residents and retrofit their vehicles with cooperative intelligent transport systems (C-ITS) technology for on-road testing in 2019. A small number of automated vehicles will also be tested on public and private roads.

Cooperative intelligent transport system devices use traffic and road infrastructure data to provide safety warnings about a range of conditions, such as a pedestrian crossing at a signalised intersection, a red light runner or a queue ahead.

“These rapidly developing cooperative and automated vehicle technologies could significantly reduce crashes and congestion and also reduce vehicle emissions and fuel use,” said Bailey.

CAV INDUSTRY NEWS How Will The Connected Car Change The Dynamic Between Automakers And Consumers?

Automakers can no longer be a point-of-sale relationship, it has to be constantly nurtured to develop a permanence, says Aria System’s Brendan O’Brien.

Connected cars are expected to make up 75 percent of total car shipments worldwide in 2020, compared with just 13 percent in 2015, according to Gartner.

But unlike features added to cars like FM radio and air conditioning, the features and services associated with the Internet of Things will also pave the way for new ways carmakers and drivers will interact, notes Brendan O’Brien, chief innovation officer and co-founder of Aria Systems, a software company that provides cloud-based billing services for companies such as digital mapping platform HERE, ride-sharing provider Zipcar, Suburu.

In O’Brien’s view, much of the new opportunity for automakers in the age of the connected car will be “recurring revenue” because of the very nature of how these IoT features are consumed, measured and paid for. Some examples of those services and features include subscriptions to consumption-based recurring payment schemes for such things as ride sharing, location services, apps (from connected devices), telematics, wi-fi access, internet radio, among others.

Autonomous Vehicles: From Test Track to the Streets

There are still a lot of questions surrounding autonomous vehicles with the answers being worked on in test beds and pilots worldwide.

TU-Automotive would like to invite you to a webinar on the state of autonomous vehicle testing with experts from across Europe, incl. the Netherlands Government and the Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences. Join us at 10.30 CET on Wednesday 13th September.

Sign up here:

Listen in to gain an understanding of policy questions plus industry progress with testing in real world situations, incl. details on mapping, surrounding infrastructure and consumer reactions.

These roadside relics won’t be on the Pa. Turnpike much longer

These roadside relics of the days before cellphones will soon be no more.

After Labor Day, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission plans to remove its approximately 1,000 emergency call boxes that dot the commission’s 552 miles of highway across the state, including 217 on the Northeast Extension. Prior to mobile phones and traffic cameras, the call boxes were used by motorists to report emergencies or break-downs.

“Our review and analysis shows that use of those boxes has declined to the point that each box may only be used once a year, while maintenance of the call boxes costs $250,000 a year,” turnpike Chief Operating Officer Craig Shuey said in a news release.

Partially driverless trucks to be on UK roads by 2019

PARTIALLY DRIVERLESS TRUCKS are set to become a reality on UK motorways after a government trial was given the go-ahead.

‘Platooning’ is the process where a convoy of trucks is connected via wireless technology and accelerating, braking and steering are controlled by the lead vehicle.

The UK trial will see three heavy goods vehicles as part of the convoy with drivers in each cab ready to take control if needed.

“A row of lorries driving closer together could see the front truck pushing the air out of the way, making the vehicles in the convoy more efficient, lowering emissions and improving air quality,” the UK’s Department for Transport said in a statement.

Transport Research Laboratory is to carry out the trial with £8.1 million worth of government support and the company says it will first carry out track tests before moving to public roads.

The track tests will decide the appropriate distance between the vehicles and will determine the roads on which the vehicles will be tested.

Trials are expected on UK roads before the end of next year.

Last month, Ireland’s Transport Minister Shane Ross said that he was not aware of any proposals to test driverless cars on Irish roads.

Do you speak V2V? Understanding the language of connected vehicles

As cities look to incorporate connected vehicle technologies in their smarter futures, they should keep an eye on the University of Michigan’s connected vehicle research at its Mcity test bed. A public-private partnership between the university and Michigan’s Department of Transportation, Mcity is a 32-acre simulated environment that features both urban and suburban areas, including roads with intersections, traffic lights, signs and sidewalks designed to evaluate the capabilities of connected and automated vehicles and systems. UM researchers are also gathering real-world traffic data from about 30 roadside units throughout Ann Arbor.

Huei Peng, a mechanical engineering professor at the university and the director of Mcity, spoke with GCN about how cities might plan for the future of connected vehicles. This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

What is the enabling technology for connected cars?

We are largely talking about DSRC: dedicated short range communication. Frequency was set aside in 1999, and after that — 17, 18 years — there were efforts to decide how to divide the spectrum into different channels and what should be broadcast in each channel.

Right now the standards are defined and stable. All of the top car companies sit down in Society of Automotive Engineers subcommittees to talk about it.

In the meantime, the [U.S.] Department of Transportation has a plan to require DSRC. They’re currently working on it, and, if announced, it could become a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard, just like airbags or rearview mirrors.

Are there any cars that have implemented it already?

Yes, there is one, and that’s the General Motors Cadillac CTS. Japan uses a different frequency, but Toyota already offers DSRC in three of its Japanese models as an option.

How will DSRC be used?

The first application is in vehicle-to-vehicle communication. Cars in close proximity can use an electronic brake light that broadcasts that braking information to other cars within 1,000 feet. In the future, this could become autonomous emergency braking, which uses sensors like camera or radar that detect an imminent threat, and the car brakes itself. On-board sensors and V2V communication will provide redundancy to make sure the information is correct.

And what sorts of applications use vehicle-to-infrastructure communication?

Today, there are not many V2I projects. Many of the applications use signal phasing and timing. Imagine if you’re coming close to an intersection and the traffic signal phasing and timing are sent to you in advance. Not only do you see the current state of the light, you know when it will change. So you can use that for what we call eco-driving purposes.

The second — and probably longer term, but certainly immediately doable application —  is adaptive traffic signal control. So imagine a traffic signal, collecting information from various directions. By looking at how far away a car is, it can figure out the queue length at the intersection. You should be able to figure out the traffic flow and change the balance of the red and green signals for all of the directions to help move traffic more efficiently.

How hard is it to install the roadside units that will be collecting the information from cars?

In most big cities, the important intersections are already wired and powered. They have a traffic control cabinet, and the phasing and timing can be controlled from a traffic control center. We already have the communication network and the power necessary, so all you need to do is add wireless communications. DSCR is nothing but a Wi-Fi — it is a special standard, it is a little bit different, but fundamentally it is a Wi-Fi. So to hook up important intersections today with communications and power, shouldn’t cost more than $2,000 to $3,000 per intersection.

How does a locality decide where to put these units?

People have to want to solve a problem, typically congestion. Collecting data is not the point, using the data is the point. An adaptive traffic signal is one example, but you can also use it to figure out traffic flow.

Right now, we’re not at the point where we’re controlling the signals (in Ann Arbor), but we have a lot of information about the traffic flow and speed of the intersections.

What insight do you get from this?

First, it gives us information on the current state and when and where problems are.

We all know that signal phasing should be different for rush hour and non-rush hour. But most of the traffic signals are not programed optimally. Teams are sent out to measure traffic on one day and that becomes a “normal” day.

Cameras can add a layer of adaptability, but they’re still not as accurate as DSRC. With DSRC you can hear the vehicle position and velocity very accurately. You could use this information to build an adaptive model to react to the current conditions rather than the calibrated condition.

Tell me more about the adaptive signals in Ann Arbor.

Unfortunately, we’re not providing real-time adjustments yet. It certainly is the main concern in any city to do no harm. So the city is being very conservative; officials want us to show more proof that this will do no harm, and, better yet, improve conditions. We have done a lot of simulations that show adaptive signaling would make a  significant improvement, but we probably have more convincing to do.

How significant is “significant improvement”?

Even when we do the simulation it is a forecast; it’s not deterministic. Sometimes it shows an improvement of about 2 percent, other times it is as high as 20 percent.

What data are you collecting with the roadside units?

Basically, the most important things are position, velocity and direction of vehicles. Those can provide us with speed, flow and queue length at every intersection.

How much of the data are you collecting? Is it something that a typical DOT can handle?

It depends on your purpose. Let’s say I’m New York City, and I want to know the traffic dynamics and I want to collect year round, then I would save everything.

However, in the real world, you wouldn’t save the data that much. Really, what happened yesterday is history. You save data only for the purpose of research, that’s its only long-term value. So I don’t think it makes sense to save the majority of the data. But, again, if I’m trying to understand traffic in winter vs. summer, how a festival or baseball game affects traffic, then I might save some data for benchmarking and research.

Many cities are standing up smart city and smart transit projects. How do those projects relate to the connected vehicle and DSRC technologies?

The most critical things for the future of smart cities and the internet-of-things projects are data sources and what you can do; in other words, sensors and actuators. The more sensors I have, the more information I have, the more I know the true picture of anything — urban dynamics, transportation, anything people try to understand. The No. 1 challenge to understanding those things is inadequate data sources.

No. 2 would be: What can you do with the sensor data? Right now, you can call someone on the phone and they’ll do something for you. In the future, it would be nice to be able to directly access the actuators.

The people investing in smart city and infrastructure are adding to sensors and actuators, so certainly we will leverage everything.

Are there any specific applications for DSRC within smart city projects?

Certainly, I think it is important to remember, government focuses on safety as the justification for requiring such a communication device. Safety is the No.1 priority.

One possibility: DSRC can be viewed as an electronic license plate. So today we use a license plate, tomorrow we can use DSRC, and we no longer need a metal plate. The electronic license plate can also be used for electronic toll collection. Right now, toll collection is very fragmented because states and cities have their own systems, but it is reasonable to expect DSRC to provide an ID for the car that can be used to control parking, toll collection and other things.