External sensors and shared data are vital for autonomous vehicles

In the time when automotive industry seems to be the center of attention, we took the great opportunity and talked with an expert on Future Intelligent Vehicular Techonologies, Joaquim Ferreira, assistant professor at the University of Aveiro, Portugal. He will be the general chair of the first EAI International Conference in this area – Future 5V 2016 – which will take place in Porto, Portugal between September 15-17, 2016. The future of intelligent vehicles seems bright, so let us hear what the leaders think.

What is the central topic of Future 5V 2016 and why is it important? What is this event’s vision?

The incorporation of information and communication technologies within vehicles and transportation infrastructure is revolutionizing the way we travel. Current and future enabling technologies will support numerous applications to assist people to travel safely and comfortably.

Future 5V will be a forum to debate some critical challenges on intelligent vehicular systems. Some technologies are becoming mature, e. g. WAVE and ITS G5, with some well known problems, while another generation is emerging.  In the meantime, large-scale deployments of wireless vehicular communications are being installed in Europe, USA and Japan.

An important drive for Future 5V is autonomous driving and cooperative sensing. Currently autonomous vehicles base all their control on onboard sensors only. Messages received from other vehicles or other external sensors are not considered trustworthy. I believe that this scenario will have to evolve, so we can have truly cooperative systems fostering smart mobility. These will be pervasive systems, based on wireless sensor networks, telecom operators networks and vehicular networks composed by control centers, roadside units, on-board units and personal handled devices.

It may not sound like it, but this field is very broad. What is your specialization in it?

Indeed, this is a very broad and expanding field. My background is on safety-critical distributed embedded systems, particularly in real-time communications and fault-tolerance. Since 2010 I have been active in vehicular communications, proposing new medium control access protocols and fault tolerance mechanisms.

Which of these technologies might get introduced to our traffic systems soonest?

Vehicular communications, based on IEEE 802.11p, now integrated in IEEE 802.11, and its derivatives will soon be mandatory in the USA for the new cars and in Europe large-deployments are being installed. Road-side infrastructure is fundamental during the initial market penetration phase, where not all vehicles are able to communicate with each other. In a completely ad-hoc scenario, a penetration rate of 20% is required before road users can start benefiting from the deployment of vehicular communications systems.

What project are you working on right now/have scheduled next?

Joaquim Ferreira, General Chair of Future 5V

I have recently finished participating in ISCI project (Intelligent Cooperative Sensing for Improved traffic efficiency). In this project I was responsible for the wireless vehicular communications, more specifically for adapting existing V2X communication strategies for cooperative sensing and actuation, in particular, design and implementation of full-custom IEEE 802.11p compliant controllers capable of offering a set of safety communication services that are reliable, secure and timely.

Right now, I am working on cooperative vehicular communications in the scope of a research contract with industry and have several pending project proposals waiting for approval in logistics for the seaports and trains.

Have you met with negativity towards large involvement of computer science in personal vehicles? What would you say to those people who are afraid, that in future they will not have control over their own car?

Currently more than 50% of the cost of developing a new vehicle is somewhat related with software, as vehicles have several dozens of microprocessors and many thousands of lines of code. Furthermore, emission limits could not be met without electronics and computer science. In this sense, computer science already plays a very important role in personal vehicles.

In the near future, vehicles will be autonomous or semi-autonomous, but, despite some inevitable issues, they will be much more dependable than current ones.

What are your expectations for Future 5V 2016?

I am sure Future 5V 2016 will be a vibrant forum to debate new topics and research directions in intelligent vehicular systems. I anticipate high quality contributions describing relevant technical and scientific work and an active participation of both academia and industry.

Future 5V is now accepting papers! Find out more.

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