Intelligent mobility: New applications optimize the traffic in cities

Mobility is one of the key aspects in modern society and a basic requirement for a strong economy and social well-being. At the same time, urban mobility is faced with new challenges. The increasing size of our cities demands more road safety, better traffic flow and environmental sustainability. Innovative information and communication technologies that allow for the optimal utilization and improvement of existing traffic infrastructures offer a solution. They are also the basis for new mobility concepts like car sharing, semi-autonomous or fully autonomous vehicles, and transportation that uses various different vehicles known as intermodal transport.

Bild Smart Mobilitäts Services

These technologies are already used by applications today – so-called smart mobility services. They refer to distributed data from different sources, for example the loop detectors that are integrated into the road surface, floating car data, public transportation schedules and environmental, highly dynamic information. They process direct inquiries from their users and enable more specific decisions in regards to mobility behavior. For example it can help users choose the best means of transportation in a given situation, recommend a driving style or make decisions regarding the selection of car-sharing or electric vehicles. In parallel, the smart mobility services generally establish a more seamless, economic and sustainable mobility in the smart city.

For more than ten years Fraunhofer FOKUS has researched intelligent transportation systems and vehicle communication in the course of international projects and has since supported the development of car-2-car as well as car-2-I communication. This system enables the communication between different vehicles or between vehicles and a networked infrastructure. The vehicle’s on-board function and communication network as well as the integration of the individual vehicle into the cross-vehicle networks leads to higher safety and efficiency on the road and they are the building blocks for mobility innovations.

Fraunhofer FOKUS is constantly improving the car-2-X communication in order to provide drivers with new mobility services – also and specifically for electric vehicles: logistic services like the navigation to the nearest battery charging station with appropriate reservation but also new services like the navigation using “green routes”, an option where the driver intentionally circumnavigates currently congested areas as well as the “flexible environmental zone”. Instead of being rigid prohibit zones, environmental zones become flexible and are controlled according to the current pollution. Using car-2-x communication, emission levels are detected directly from the vehicle, anonymized, sent to the appropriate traffic management center and evaluated. This way, the current pollution level in a specific area is known at any time and can be utilized for measures of the traffic management.

On the basis of several years of experience in the field of car-2-x communication, Fraunhofer FOKUS is working on a reference platform that would allow for applications to be realized and tested using a simple method and that would take advantage of the most up-to-date information and communication technologies. A demo application in connection with the work on the new identity card has been developed into an identity management solution for the secure authentication inside the vehicle. In general, Fraunhofer FOKUS considers the issues identity management, data protection and safety, in connection with networked mobility to be a priority and offers appropriate solutions.

With the help of vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, individual vehicles, traffic centers and other parties involved are provided with data and information in real time. In addition, value-added services are being integrated into the car. Internet-based services can for example play streaming music or entertain the children in the backseat with educational games on long drives. The vehicle-to-infrastructure communication also enables inquiries about available parking spaces and shows this information on the display inside the vehicle or on the Smartphone. The driver will be automatically billed and the car park barrier will open automatically.