9 July 2020

Highway merging assistant for automated vehicles showcased

Although the commercial market of short range communication (vehicle-to-vehicle and infrastructure-to-vehicle) is moving slower than expected, European research and deployment projects still provide valuable real-life demonstrations of future infrastructure-assisted driving scenarios with connected cooperative automated vehicles, such as Dynniq’s merging assistant for autonomous vehicles in TransAID.

TransAID is a Horizon 2020 European research project, of which the final (online) event was held on 1-2 July 2020. The project focuses on the transition of control in a situation with vehicles that have different levels of automation, mixed with conventional vehicles. In some areas or situations, high automation can be granted, but in others, it is not possible due to missing sensor input or high complexity situations. These cases require safety induced forced driver control or suggested driver control release, and thus the name Trans(ition)AID. The less forced transitions to manual mode are required, the sooner and steeper the penetration rate of automated vehicles will increase with all the benefits for safety, environment and congestion.

As one of the consortium partners, our task was to design and implement the motorway merging assistant to prevent transition of control, by helping automated vehicles to find the gap to merge safely onto the highway. To do this, our existing Road Side Unit (RSU) and On Board Unit (OBU) where used in combination with data fusion of the loop data and a sophisticated merging assistant algorithm. Not only was our algorithm 100% successful in simulation but it was also successful in our 12 real-life test runs on the A13 in the Netherlands.

Watch the video of our field demonstration on the A13 in Rotterdam:

During the final event, the audience was very interested in our use case and in the algorithm. Some TransAID use cases, such as a car parking itself if the driver decides to not take over the controls, could eventually also be implemented by OEM’s themselves without infrastructure assistance. However, merging onto a highway is very complex. It is not expected that automated vehicles will be able to do this themselves anytime soon. Our merging assistant provides speed advice and lane change position for automated vehicles to safely merge onto the highway.

As for Dynniq, we are proud to have been able to produce an inspiring working showcase for TransAID, in which we combined our advanced engineering skills and our experience to put complex, scalable smart mobility solutions on the street, based on European standards. In the future, we hope to leverage the algorithm to improve ramp metering performance for automated vehicles.