At the Aldenhoven Testing Center (ATC), an urban testing ground is currently being created for mobility research. As part of the August 30, 2017 opening of the “5G Mobility Lab” at this location (created under the leadership of Vodafone), the Aachen engineering service provider FEV presented connectivity solutions for future vehicle concepts.
With e-Horizon, FEV presented a self-adapting, server-based range forecast for electric vehicles. The system uses Vehicle-2-Cloud communication to connect ambient data – including weather conditions, current traffic conditions, and height profile of the road network – with vehicle data such as battery charge, driving behavior, and energy consumption. This considerably improves range forecasts, as the accuracy of the system is significantly less than 50 meters. In addition, the cloud connection also provides important data for operators of city infrastructure, for which the electric vehicles act as mobile sensors; current traffic data, information on road conditions, as well as weather data, provide insight into the traffic situation and obstacles – e.g., road construction – thereby benefiting drivers and planners. Furthermore, energy providers receive information on expected load cycles and can react flexibly to local peak loads.
“The Vehicle-2-Network technology, along with Car-2-Car communication, will define the mobility of tomorrow. The vehicle itself will merely be a mobile sender and receiver in a fully connected environment,” explains Dr. Thomas Hülshorst, Group Vice President of Electronics & Electrification. Especially in fleet management and operation process harmonization, the collected data enables rational planning and the optimal availability of resources.”
Car-2-Car Hazard Warning System
FEV also presented a solution for a hazard warning system in Aldenhoven: identified hazardous locations, such as black ice, unsecured accident locations, or road damage, are communicated to vehicles in the region via Car-2-Car communication. An intelligent algorithm assesses the relevance of an event based on the current vehicle position and displays the relevant messages as desktop messages on the HMI, and as flag symbols on the digital road map.
“The e-Horizon and danger warning system solutions presented today are only two of countless Vehicle-2-X communication applications, which show the enormous potential of the technology. Fundamental to such communication is a rapid data connection to send and receive the incoming data quantities in real time,” explains Dr. Dirk Macke, Senior Technical Specialist Smart-Mobility at FEV. “5G technology plays a key role, and the test center in Aldenhoven offers us ideal conditions for testing future technologies.”
Potential of Vehicle-2-Cloud Communication
Depending on the type of cloud data being processed, a wide variety of applications can be implemented; for instance, driving comfort and driving safety can be improved or the traffic flow predicted and optimized. The use of “swarm data” from various vehicles enables further services – such as for service planning or accident prevention. Fleet operators particularly also benefit from improved diagnostic capabilities on their electric vehicles; the operator doesn’t only gain insight into vehicle parameters such as position, operating condition and battery or charging state – even error codes can be read via the cloud. Safe and limited access to such sensitive data improves the coordination options for maintenance schedules and allows for preliminary diagnosis by authorized parties.
A core element of Vehicle-2-X applications is the intelligent connection unit (ICU) that gathers and processes relevant data and information from various control units and sensors inside the vehicle. In addition, the ICU developed by FEV is capable of processing data, which was already analyzed in the vehicle via Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC) and mobile data services (3G, 4G, 5G) to the relevant services. The challenge was combining data from a multitude of completely different electric vehicles and a number of data entry systems that were incompatible with each other. This task was solved through the interconnection of data aggregation and data conversion services for the harmonization of the data sets forwarded to the actual service.