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  • Writer's pictureNATALIA SOUSA

HORIBA MIRA & GMV NSL Collaborate on Road Traffic Efficiency Project for European Space Agency

Updated: Apr 6, 2022

HORIBA MIRA announced today that its collaboration with GMV NSL to develop new and improved passenger car platooning solutions on behalf of the European Space Agency (ESA) will move into a live trials phase in Q1 2022, encompassing both simulated and physical testing during 2022.

The ground-breaking project aims to advance platooning – the process of optimising the coordination of traffic streams – by embracing several advanced technologies. The first of these is a cooperation between all the cars in the platoon to share information about their respective positions on the roadway. Cooperative positioning is enabled with various range-finding sensors, such as radar, with data being shared between cars via low latency wireless communications. Finally, for this data to be 'trusted' to inform the management of the vehicle's position in the platoon, it is evaluated by an integrity algorithm.

The integration of these technologies will unlock a series of benefits for individual drivers and wider society. For example, a platoon automatically optimises the flow of vehicles along highways. It prevents the characteristic phenomenon of waves of braking and acceleration events, known as perturbations, transmitting through traffic streams when cars are manually driven at high levels of density, such as during rush hours.

HORIBA MIRA and GMV NSL's ground-breaking project to automate platoons of cars travelling on motorways will allow passengers to enjoy smoother driving conditions by optimising throttle and brake profiles, which in turn improves vehicle efficiency and reduces emissions. The improved throughput on existing highway infrastructure also reduces the requirement for new road building at a period in time where road traffic is predicted to rise steadily. Additionally, a suitable positioning solution reduces hardware costs. At the same time, the use of integrity algorithms assures safety and robustness and critically can be used to optimise the speed and following distances of the platooning vehicles.

HORIBA MIRA is the expert automotive engineering partner in the project; the company's Assured CAV division has more than 15 years' experience in cooperative driving research and development, vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2X) and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications. It's responsibility is to implement the relevant hardware and software to support V2X communications and develop the platooning algorithm that will dynamically optimise performance. In addition, HORIBA MIRA's novel vehicle-in-the-loop simulation capabilities will also enable seamless progress from simulation-based development to proving ground trials within 2022.

Tim Edwards, HORIBA MIRA's Chief Engineer for CAV Technologies, said, "Along with our partners at the European Space Agency and GMV NSL, we are excited to be moving this important project forward into the technical evaluation and testing phases. We are breaking new ground with this approach to car platooning, which is an evolution of the developments achieved in vehicle safety through advanced driver assistance systems. With platooning, we can also make significant improvements to efficiency by integrating connected and automated driving technologies. And, as congestion becomes less tolerable and the demand for mobility seems set to rise, it brings further benefits of improved traffic efficiency and road utilisation."

The European Space Agency funds the project under the ESA Navigation Innovation and Support Programme (NAVISP). It will inform the ESA's future developments and contribute to applications of GNSS and communication technologies within the automotive sector.

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