For a clearer overview of the burgeoning world of new mobility solutions, the VEDECOM Institute is introducing M’OBS by VEDECOM Tech

Carpooling, carsharing, micromobility, apps, self-service equipment, etc. With the explosion in the range of new mobility solutions, it is becoming difficult for users to find their way. What are the different solutions? How relevant are they to a specific territory? How sustainable are they and what is their business model? Will they offer users an attractive and effective journey so that they soon become indispensable? To help the different ecosystem stakeholders to better understand their environment, VEDECOM presents the M’OBS by VEDECOM Tech solution, a new mobility solutions agency.

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VEDECOM presents ‘Marque ta Route’ (mark your road), a software programme that maintains road markings

The quality and reliability of road markings will play a key role in the safety of autonomous vehicles
following their introduction onto our roads. To prevent the non-detection of road markings, the
‘Marque ta Route’ project has come up with a range of tools for reliability analysis, and assistance with
replacing road signs. The software – a veritable highways management assistant – won the First Prize
for Innovation in the Buildings/Public Works/Highways category of the Grand Prix de l’Innovation of
the Salon des Maires et des Collectivités Locales.

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VEDECOM presents VEDETECT, a tool for analysing mobility flows in real time, helping to make the era of flexible transport a reality.

Gridlocked junctions, packed train stations, overcrowded buses… What if the secret to freeing up our cities lay in the real-time management of mobility flows and transport supply? This is what VEDETECT is banking on with the new solution from the VEDECOM Institute, which was a finalist of the Grand Prix de l’Innovation at the Salon des Maires et des Collectivités Locales. Tested with support from the Département des Yvelines, a network of smart sensors enables local communities to monitor traffic in real time, both to regulate it better and to help them to develop their transport policies.

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PROJECT HISTORY – Paving the way for hybrid, secure and cooperative communications

VEDECOM’s “New hybrid, secure and cooperative communications” team, led by Dr.-HdR. Oyunchimeg Shagdar and supported by a network of partners, undertakes research around secure communication channels between vehicles and their environment (V2X): a major issue for vehicles of the future. Interview with Ahmed Soua, a V2X-5G researcher, who agreed to tell us more about the team’s challenges and victories.

What does the project involve?

Our team is conducting research into the field of wireless vehicular communications (V2X): vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I), vehicle-to-network (V2N), and vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P) communications. We are working on their specifications and the design of both reliable and secure solutions. Our team consists of approximately twenty people who were trained in the fields of telecommunications, networks, computing, signal processing and embedded systems. Our research focuses on everything from the design of V2X communication solutions to their standardization, including the augmented perception brought by IoT and also cybersecurity with atypical pattern detection. To simulate the reliability and performance of hybrid communications, we have designed a demo platform that is being marketed by VEDECOM Tech.

What is at stake with this project?

Our goal is to identify and design optimal V2X communication solutions, while ensuring that they are agile and, above all, secure with respect to the flow of information which they carry, and which contributes to road safety. We must bring all stakeholders together around this one goal in order to define data exchange protocols.

The specific aspect of our activities is really to work collaboratively with an entire ecosystem of industrialists and academics: Renault, PSA, VALEO, ATOS, Marben, Transdev, YoGoKo, Neavia, Vinci Autoroutes, FARECO, ECE Paris, UVSQ, INRIA, System-X and also the UTAC CERAM.

What are the project’s main difficulties and challenges?

We have 5 main challenges. Of course, there is not only the matter of technology selection, but also the question of scalability, namely finding ways to prevent network congestion with increasing system load. There are interoperability and cybersecurity issues as well. Finally, there are data exchange issues relevant to cooperative insights: the aim here is to find a way to merge sensor data from different vehicles or roadside equipment with the data received and sent through wireless networks.

In the coming years, we will also face two further challenges. We will need to adapt 5G and integrate it into our research on hybrid communications.

What successes and high points have you encountered thus far?

We recently presented several demonstrations, which were all very successful. During the mobilité@VEDECOM day on 11 April 2019, we demonstrated the cooperation of two communication technologies via our simulation platform. The inauguration of the Paris-Saclay Autonomous Lab test on 15 May 2019 was also a very significant moment. It affirmed the importance and relevance of our work in terms of interoperability and facilities. For the first time and alongside our partners Renault and Transdev, we were able to present a comprehensive autonomous transport system that was fully functional thanks to the infrastructure. Finally, the HDR (accreditation to supervise research) of Oyunchimeg Shagdar, on 6 September 2018, which took place at the Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, was a highlight for our entire team: it represented a true recognition of our work and our research findings.

What does this project bring to the world of mobility?

We strive to promote our scientific output: not just demonstrations, but also prototypes, patents, publications, and participation in international conferences and workshops. We recently gave a demonstration of our platform simulation units at the inauguration of the TEQMO site,the UTAC-CERAM vehicle testing and certification centre.

Besides our members who have access to these findings, our commercial subsidiary VEDECOM Tech will be able to market this platform to any companies that might be interested. Designed by VEDECOM in partnership with Marben, it consists of some 40 units that simulate the behaviour of a connected vehicle in different use scenarios: it is used to test prototype vehicles on tracks, especially at UTAC-CERAM. It also contributes to the Institute’s progress on European projects, such as the 5G-MOBIX project, which unites over 50 partners to demonstrate 5G’s contribution to vehicular communications.

 

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VEDECOM unveils key results on automated vehicle obtained as part of the AutoMate project

The demonstrations made at the IV2019 event were the opportunity for VEDECOM Institute to unveil key results for its autonomous vehicle. The work, undertaken over three years as part of the European AutoMate project, has led to the sign-off on a level-3 vehicle prototype, fitted with technology modules likely to develop cooperation between the driver and the vehicle. On the basis of mutual communication and observations, the system must be capable of improving both man’s trust in machines and road safety.

Major progress in man and machine working together

The project focused on the human experience and includes some cutting-edge technology: Twenty modules covering perception, managing control of the commands, interpreting human behaviour and predicting changes in the traffic close to the vehicle have been developed. Communication between the vehicle and the driver is established by installing a human-machine interface into the passenger compartment, as well as an augmented reality HMI. A camera behind the steering wheel permanently monitors the driver’s face to have true interaction between man and vehicle. The system provides real reciprocity between man and the machine, both in terms of perception and actions.

VEDECOM heavily involved both in developing the technology modules and the human factors studies

VEDECOM, the major French partner on the project, was allocated a budget of €800,000 to follow through on two key areas: developing and integrating new technologies to the vehicle and human and socio-economic factor studies. In both these fields, the Institute was also in charge of evaluating and approving the technology modules that had been developed.

The prototype – a VEDECOM autonomous vehicle (developed on the basis of the C4 Picasso) – was handed over at the IV2019 event, which is the big worldwide annual conference on vehicle intelligence matters.

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The inauguration of Paris-Saclay Autonomous Lab at Spring: a full-scale test of autonomous mobility services connected to infrastructure

15 mai 2019

The Spring event, held on 15 May 2019, was VEDECOM’s chance to come together with its partners to present the Paris-Saclay Lab experiment that is the result of the EVAPS project. The project aims to develop new autonomous mobility services on dedicated, public, and campus routes as a supplement to existing transport solutions at the Plateau de Saclay. It incorporates the latest technologies in on-board smart systems in vehicles, supervision systems, connected infrastructure, and secure telecommunications networks. It was co-led by the Renault Group, the Transdev Group, the VEDECOM Institute, the SystemX Institute for technological research, and Université Paris-Saclay, with support from ENSTA. It also receives support from the French government’s Investments for the Future allocated to ADEME, as well as the Paris-Saclay urban planning and development authority, the Paris-Saclay urban authority, the department of Essonne, and Ile-de-France Mobilités.

 

Testing a comprehensive autonomous transport system

The Paris-Saclay Autonomous Lab project was among the selections made by the government on 24 April 2019 following the “Autonomous Road Vehicle Testing” (EVRA) call for projects launched in June 2018 as part of the Investments for the Future programme (PIA). Its purpose is to test a comprehensive autonomous transport system made up of self-driving vehicles (three Renault ZoéCab prototypes and one Transdev-Lohr i-Cristal shuttle), a fleet supervision system, connected infrastructure, and customer applications. The aim is to define the roll-out conditions for an autonomous mobility service at a larger scale. Launched in 2017, the Paris-Saclay Autonomous Lab project was inaugurated on 15 May 2019 at the Spring innovation conference at Centrale Supélec by Mr Grégoire de Lasteyrie, Regional Special Advisor for New Mobilities and Mayor of Palaiseau; Mr François Durovray, Chairman of the Essonne Department Council; and Mr Michel Bournat, Mayor of Gif-sur-Yvette and Chairman of the Paris-Saclay urban authority. Mr Philippe Watteau, CEO of VEDECOM; Mr Thierry Mallet, CEO of the Transdev Group; Mr Arnaud Molinié, SVP of Mobility Service at the Renault Group; Mr Paul Labrogère, General Manager of SystemX; Ms Sylvie Retailleau, President of Université Paris-Saclay; and Ms Elizabeth Crépon, Director of ENSTA, were in attendance. It will continue until the first quarter of 2020.

 

Autonomous mobility services to supplement existing transport offerings

The experiment will be launched gradually, first opening 21 May 2019 to a sample group of users. They will be offered two autonomous mobility services as a supplement to existing transport offerings at Plateau de Saclay:

  • a night-time mass transit service on a separate road (a special TCSP bus road) with a Transdev-Lohr i-Cristal self-driving shuttle that will make stops in Plateau de Saclay neighbourhoods and the Massy train station after regular service hours have ended. From 12:30am to 3:00am, the shuttle will make four stops along a nearly three-kilometre route.
  • There will also be an on-demand car service during the day to supplement regular transport services, provided by self-driving Renault ZoéCab prototypes on the Paris-Saclay campus.

The project is exceptional in that it covers the Paris-Saclay zone, which is fertile ground for innovation, and that it involves collaboration between actors from complementary fields who all share a common drive: the desire to develop shared autonomous mobility solutions. It aligns with authorities’ efforts to develop new mobility systems at Plateau de Saclay by integrating them into public transit offerings. The aim is to demonstrate the utility of autonomous mobility solutions in an existing transport network, as defined by various performance measures, complementarity with existing offerings, and economic measures. Indeed, mobility is a major challenge in this area when it comes to attracting international interest, which is Paris-Saclay’s goal. In addition, the population is growing quickly, which ought to increase demand.

 

Large-scale experiment

For this large-scale experiment, nine kilometres of fibre optic cable were laid down in the experimental zone, as well as four kilometres of electric cable and six kilometres of Ethernet cable. Nearly 200 public street lamps were used, plus 70 temporary poles. Along eight kilometres of road, 25 sites (multi-mode transfer points, traffic light intersections, roundabouts, bus stops, etc.) were outfitted with communication and collection infrastructure. Eighty-five sensors were installed (10 M8 LiDARs, 20 vehicle-detector heat cameras, 20 pedestrian-detector heat cameras, 35 video cameras) as well as 25 roadside units paired with 25 roadside cases holding processing units and network equipment. This RSU + case set designed by VEDECOM, called the VEDECOM Box, processes and communicates upwards and downwards information from the vehicle.

The Renault ZOECab and the Transdev-Lohr i-Cristal shuttle are 100% electric and equipped with autonomous technology. Outfitted with LiDAR sensors, cameras, an inertial centre and self-driving software, they account for all the usual driving constraints: they identify the presence of other vehicles and pedestrians; manage intersections, roundabouts and speed bumps; recognise traffic lights, etc. They are level four (SAE standard: fully autonomous in specific zones). Inside, the vehicles have cameras and information screens to assist passengers during the ride.

This programme represents a total investment of 16.2 million euros, including 5.5 million euros contributed by ADEME as part of the Investments for the Future programme.

 

A major cross-cutting project for VEDECOM

Communicating and smart infrastructure has been designed, installed and developed by VEDECOM, which has also led the entire human factors analysis of the project (relationship between pedestrians and travellers and self-driving cars).

Three teams from the Institute have been called upon for this project, which has already taken 2,500 hours of work over the course of two years:

  • The “New Physical Urban Spaces for Eco-mobility” team, led by Nadège Faul,
  • The “New Usages Laboratory” team, led by Stéphanie Coeugnet,
  • The “New Secure Communications and Cooperative Safety” team, led by Oyunchmimeg Shagdar.

The project makes it possible to assess two main domains: the technological domain, with the set-up of an autonomous and connected transport system; and the acceptability domain, with the sample group to analyse ‘end customers’ level of buy-in to services. The VEDECOM Institute has provided expertise in both domains by offering solutions for true added-value services:

  • research, development, and deployment of smart, connected infrastructure that complements self-driving vehicles; connectivity modules (and more specifically connectivity between roadside equipment and on-board communication modules);
  • development of standardised interfaces with an eye to interoperable supervision;
  • research and development of communication between vehicles and vulnerable road users to ensure detection and safety; collection and analysis of users’ needs and expectations as well as their feedback on the acceptability of proposed services to get an idea of how popular and profitable they will be in the future;
  • research, specifications, and prototyping of the user-friendliness of user interfaces inside and outside the test vehicles (ZOECab and i-Cristal shuttle).

Read the Press Release of the 5 partners of the Paris-Saclay Autonomous Lab project

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