Monday, 6 August 2012

Opel leads fleet testing of SimTD research project

  • SimTD: One of the world’s largest Car-to-X field tests starting in Hesse
  • Milestone for implementation of vehicle communication
  • Road weather warning function: Research for increased traffic safety

    The enhancement of individual mobility towards even more safety, efficiency and environmental compatibility is one of the major challenges facing society. In the process, connecting automotive road users with each other (Car-to-Car) and with their environment (Car-to-X) is becoming increasingly important. The start of the test phase of the SimTD project (“Safe Intelligent Mobility – Test Field Germany”) in Hesse is a milestone towards the implementation of this type of vehicle communication.

    “The results of the joint SimTD project will set the trend for all of Europe. With the launch of the SimTD pilot project, one of the largest global field tests in Car-to-X communication is now beginning,” says Dr. Burkhard Milke, Opel Director Electric/Electronic Engineering adding, “Cars learn to exchange data according to standardized rules. They also learn to process the transmitted data in such a way that they can quickly and reliably filter and display information important to the driver. In the past Opel was able to lay the foundations for Car-to-X technologies in projects such as DIAMANT. These findings will be taken into account when we now take on the baton from Continental after successful test preparations and assume leadership of the fleet testing within SimTD.

    After several years of intensive preparation, the test phase will begin in the greater Frankfurt am Main area with a fleet of 120 vehicles from German car makers. The field test will last until the end of the year and include various studies on Car-to-Car technology and its impact on increasing traffic safety and efficiency. Around 450 test drivers will take part. During the test drives, millions of communication events will be generated in order to exchange data. Within the test fleet, 20 Insignia Sports Tourers equipped with state-of-the art equipment for vehicle communication are participating.

    The data compiled from the tests will be analyzed in close consultation with the University of Würzburg and the Technical University of Munich, whereby the universities will also ensure a good statistical cross section of drivers and test routes. The latter were chosen in close cooperation with the city of Frankfurt am Main and Hessen Mobil. The home base for all field test vehicles is a test fleet base on an industrial compound in Frankfurt Höchst. The fleet is controlled by the Drive Center near the Hessian Traffic Control Center.

    At the top of the wish list: Road weather warning
    Among the many aspects tested in the context of SimTD, the development of the road weather warning function, for which Opel is responsible, plays  a central  role. According to studies, this information is at the top of drivers’ wish list. Road weather warnings combine real time data on road conditions and the weather report with warnings about hazardous weather conditions such as heavy rain, fog or cross wind. This data is of great added value to drivers and lead to a significant increase in traffic safety.

    Four road weather information stations located in the field test vicinity, which are already providing detailed information, for example for road gritting trucks, lay the foundations for the test. The critical parameters being monitored are the dew point and road surface temperature. Based on this data, site-specific warnings are generated and displayed in the vehicles. The HMI (Human-Machine-Interface) used by all partners for the field test was developed by DFKI, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence.  

    The Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi), the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development (BMVBS) provide funding for simTD, because this consortium has the potential to promote a new dimension of foresighted driving, traffic control, and accident avoidance. The ministries are convinced that a commonly agreed standard is essential for the commercial deployment of this pace-making technology. simTD is a joint project initiated by leading German automakers, automotive suppliers, communication companies and research institutes, together with assistance from the public sector.

    Project partners are as follows: Adam Opel AG, AUDI AG, BMW AG, BMW Forschung und Technik GmbH, Daimler AG, Ford Forschungszentrum Aachen GmbH, Volkswagen AG, Robert Bosch GmbH, Continental, Deutsche Telekom AG, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V., Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH (DFKI), Technische Universität Berlin, Technische Universität München, Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft des Saarlandes, Universität Würzburg, Hessisches Landesamt für Straßen- und Verkehrswesen, Stadt Frankfurt am Main. The project is promoted and supported by the German Federal Ministries of Economics and Technology (BMWi), Education and Research (BMBF), Transport, Building and Urban Development (BMVBS), and also by the federal state of Hesse, the German Association of the Automotive Industry and the Car 2 Car Communication Consortium. BMWi, BMBF and BMVBS support simTD with approximately 40 million euros, the other project partners contributes approximately 31 million euros.

    Further information on the project can be found at

    This work was funded within the project SimTD by the German Federal Ministries of Economics and Technology as well as Education and Research, and supported by the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development.

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