Aiming to reduce traffic congestion as well as increase vehicle safety and fuel efficiency, Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems are increasingly becoming the need of the hour and will also enable better communication among vehicles, infrastructure and other road users
With most parts of the world currently under lockdown phase, issues such as traffic congestion and pollution have taken a back seat for some time now, especially in countries like India. Undoubtedly, it is just a temporary phase before traffic comes back to haunt commuters; however, it has given a breathing space to agencies involved in managing traffic movement to rethink about easing congestion in cities. Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) are increasingly becoming the need of the hour as they enable vehicle-to-vehicle(V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2X) communication in real-time using wireless technologies, leading to efficient traffic flow and thus safer roads.
WHY C-ITS IS IMPORTANT
Digital technologies have become an indispensable part of the automotive industry and have been gradually paving their way into the transport sector as well. Technologies such as Intelligent Transport Systems largely focus on serving intelligence in the vehicle or placed on the roadside, whereas the core area for C-ITS is to focus on communication between those systems that includes V2V or V2X communication or other C-ITS systems as well. Over the years, the technology has matured fairly powered by high quality sensors, antennas as well as cameras as standard. C-ITS banks on the standard WiFi technology to transfer messages and requires a human-machine interface to convert messages into driver instructions.
C-ITS is likely to be introduced in three phases, wherein the first phase will include delivering warnings with regards to traffic jams, slow moving vehicle ahead or road works. The system will be smart enough to communicate the message of vehicle movement direction or a vehicle could receive warnings on changing road rules or speed limits. The phase two will be based on sensors, where vehicles will collect data from different signals and read the traffic situation to alert the driver in case of any action required. The third and the critical phase will be about collaboration among vehicles that will involve continuous V2V and vehicle-to-pedestrian connectivity which enables effective warning as well as improves response time to any possible accidents.
C-ITS FOR TRUCKING INDUSTRY
The primary benefit for truck drivers is that their jobs will be safer due to a reduced risk of accidents. The accumulative effect of all C-ITS will mean less efficient traffic management, accident containment as well as cut down on unplanned downtime due to fewer collisions. Commercial vehicles will be able to criss-cross between cities at a much faster rate, which in turn, will also reduce fuel consumption as well as carbon emissions.
Various CV manufacturers in Europe have already been testing vehicles with C-ITS technologies like platooning where in semi-automated trucks operate in a column on public roads. Many partly European Union-funded firms have witnessed development of C-road projects that has enabled setting up of C-ITS-enabled road across the continent. These are being tried and tested for C-ITS services including warnings for emergency brake lights, emergency vehicles approaching, slow/stationary vehicles, road works, traffic jams as well as weather conditions among others. Tests are also been undertaken for Green Light Optimal Speed Advisory (GLOSA) service, where traffic lights can communicate light phase schedules to vehicles aiming to optimise their vehicle speed.
The automotive industry has been split for years on whether to use Wi-Fi or 5G in connected vehicles. The WiFi technology has been tested over the years and has high availability, whereas the introduction of 5G will enable a wider range of applications in entertainment, traffic data and general navigation since the standard can be used in cars and devices in the surrounding environment.
In order to realise the true potential of C-ITS systems, it is crucial to have a common platform and legal framework for the whole industry as then the models of various manufacturers would be able to communicate with each other. It will also be important to take on board the transport authorities and infrastructure providers to have a consensus on the base technology. Various OEMs are eager to invest further in C-ITS services; however, they are reluctant to commit until there is an agreement on the adoption of technical solutions.