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ICT Infrastructure for Connected and Automated Road Transport

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ICT4CART (ICT Infrastructure for Connected and Automated Road Transport)

Reporting period: 2020-03-01 to 2022-02-28

ICT4CART, provided an ICT infrastructure to enable the transition towards road transport automation. ICT4CART brought together technological advances from different industries, mainly telecom, automotive and IT. Adopted a hybrid communication approach where all the major wireless technologies are integrated under a flexible network architecture. This ensures performance and resilience for different groups of applications according to the needs of higher levels of automation (L3 & L4). Additionally, a distributed IT environment for data aggregation and analytics was implemented. Cyber-security and data privacy aspects were considered throughout the whole ICT infrastructure. To achieve its objectives ICT4CART, instead of working in generic solutions with questionable impact, built on four specific high-value use cases which were demonstrated under real-life conditions at the test sites in Austria, Germany, Italy and across the Italian-Austrian borders.
The ICT4CART objectives were:
• Identify the functional and technical connectivity requirements posed by the needs of higher levels of automation.
• Implement and test a standards-based distributed IT environment for data aggregation leveraging also cloud technology.
• Implement cyber-security and data protection and privacy mechanisms.
• Improve localisation.
• Validate and demonstrate the ICT Infrastructure architecture through the project use cases and test sites.
• Propose new business models and market services.
• Promote the project developments to standardization bodies and policy makers.
• Definitions of UCs and specifications.
• Analysis of related market needs.
• Definition of system requirements.
• Definition of reference architecture.
• Deployment of a network architecture following a hybrid communication approach.
• Use of dedicated network “slices” according to the needs of the different use cases.
• Implementation of an IT environment integrating also the needed Environment Perception Models for efficient data exchange.
• Deployment of MEC for real-time data analytics.
• Definition of requirements and development of the Role-based and Identity and Access Management (IAM).
• Use of RTK information in addition to GNSS for improved localisation accuracy.
• Multiple demonstration and validation events in all sites.
• Impact assessment with the use of questionnaires collected from all sites.
• Cost analysis extended report based on the ICT4CART UCs.
• 2 public events for dissemination and communication of results (WP9):
o ITS WC 2022 – ICT4CART FE (physical event).
o IEEE VNC ICT4CART Special Session (virtual event).
• Significant standardization work (ETSI TR 102 638 and ETSI TS 103 324). (WP9)
The main achievement is the development of an innovative and generic architecture that can be deployed all over Europe. It supports a seamless operation with different communication technologies and considers MEC to allow for low-latency services. Embracing these technologies ICT4CART enabled high-value use-cases for automated driving like smart parking, intersection crossing, lane-merging and cross-border interoperability.

The basic communication technologies involved are LTE/5G (cellular) and ITS-G5 (ad-hoc). Slicing was also used to provide a QoS required for the kind of information to be transported.

Hybrid connectivity, i.e. using ITS-G5 and LTE/5G together, was also available in ICT4CART. Vehicles can retrieve information over the different communication paths, either from the same source or from different sources. The road in the ICT4CART architecture is equipped with RSUs, connected sensors, and connected traffic lights. LTE/5G base stations receive and transmit data via cellular network. ITS-G5 RSUs receive and transmit data via ITS-G5. Sensors and traffic lights are connected either via fibre cables, cellular network, or via ITS-G5.

ICT4CART architecture also incorporated the use of MEC servers, which are situated close to a base station of a cellular network, providing computation closer to end devices and thereby avoiding time-consuming data transmission via the Internet. The ICT4CART architecture is refined to the following views:
• Functional view: The architecture consists of a collection of functional blocks. The functional view organizes the functional blocks into groups according to their common purpose: Supporting Services, Sensors and Actuators, Applications, Core Services, Hybrid Wireless Network, Cooperative Automated Vehicle (CAV), Security and Privacy.
• Data/IT Environment view comprises the high-level data flows as well as the data types.
• Communication view includes the wireless ad-hoc communication and the cellular communication.
• Cyber-Security & Privacy view comprises a Cyber Security Supervision Service, an Identity and Access Management Service, and Data privacy mechanisms.

During the project the different views of the architecture were defined, developed and deployed in all sites. In the first period of the project the cellular connectivity was based on LTE, whereas in second all the components of the ICT4CART architecture were developed for the 5G radio technology. All ICT4CART solutions were demonstrated through the corresponding UCs to showcase the impact of the ICT4CART work in the increase of the automation levels in a safe and sustainable manner.

The main challenges of the consortium during the project:
• Short range communications (e.g. 802.11p) have a limited availability due to all kind of physical effects.
• In high crowded environments, the network could be quite overloaded by the exchange of CAM and DENM messages.
• Lack of hybrid connectivity developments integrating smoothly the latest advances in both commercial and ad-hoc telecom networks.
• Lack of cross-border testing activities in EU.
• Fragmented and partial solutions related to cyber-security mechanisms for connected and automated driving.

One of the most important benefits that automation in road transport will bring into our society is the minimisation of accidents. In turn, this will lead to less road fatalities and injuries, and thus less harmful consequences following a road accident. In addition, the circulation of L3-L4 automated vehicles will substantially improve mobility solutions for a major part of our population, such as the elderly, young and mobility impaired people.

ICT4CART also aims at environmental benefits. Road transport accounts for about 17% of all EU emissions. Moving towards low-carbon and more energy efficient transport will depend on new technologies. However, if automated and connected vehicles enter our roads in an uncoordinated way, the traffic flow will be degraded making the current situation regarding congestion and emissions worse. ICT4CART will facilitate the circulation of automated vehicles of higher levels (L3 & L4), enabling their smooth integration into existing traffic and in the longer term leading to minimisation of congestion and increased traffic flow.

ICT4CART is also anticipated to have a high industrial impact in different domains. Establishing an ICT architecture for the needs of L3 & L4 automated vehicles, towards connected integrated road transport solutions will create a leap in the European competitiveness of the transport industry, while new market opportunities will arise for a wide set of stakeholders.