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2016-10-19

Golden film about self-driving vehicles

Halmstad University's team won the gold medal in the international competition known as GCDC, Grand Cooperative Driving Challenge 2016, which was held in the Netherlands in early summer. Watch the film about Team Halmstad's preparations and victory.

Halmstad University has been conducting research within the area of cooperative, autonomous vehicles for ten years. Professor Tony Larsson answers questions concerning the team's success and the connection to the University's research.

What does it mean for Halmstad University that Team Halmstad won?

– It was great that we got our revenge this time as we were so close to winning last time, when we ended up in second place. The victory will make it easier when we are looking for partnerships, collaborations, and research projects that are related to the field. The recruitment of good students with the right attitude will be a lot easier too.

Why did Halmstad University take part in GCDC?

– In 2011, it was probably mainly because my then postgraduate student, Kristoffer Lidström, was looking for a vibrant, realistic project, including a number of social contacts, to have something to sink his teeth into. I am confident that the team we put together for GCDC 2016 had the same vibrant drive.

How have you worked with the team?

– My role in 2011, and even now in 2016, has primarily been to build and mould the team. I have been supportive so that we could participate by acting as a sort of Principal Investigator, because for ten years I had C-ITS, i.e. Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems, as my research area. Part of this role entailed acquiring sponsors and supporting CoAct, a project that has contributed to the organisation of the competition.

Tell us briefly about the University's background and research in this area?

– Halmstad University began researching in the field, C-ITS applications based on V2X communication*, around the year 2006. It was in connection with a project we started called VAS (Vehicle Alert System) where we had, among others, Volvo AB as a partner. Since then, research has continued and widened in both the application level and more available basic technologies at different levels.

What do you consider to be the biggest challenge in research within this field?

– There are still major problems concerning how to achieve sufficient reliable communication – although 5G will help – as well as how and at what level the partners in a cooperative system, for example different vehicles and traffic lights, will be able to trust each other. The same applies to some extent to sensors such as radar, cameras and GPS positioning systems. What we are now researching includes how to monitor each of these sub-functions to be able to dynamically assess their credibility and then use it as the basis of future decisions.

How do you see the future of self-driving and car-to-car communication?

– There will be a gradual development with more and more automation. Even today, manufacturers offer certain features, e.g. when parking at low speeds, as well as in the form of assistance and help such as allowing temporarily release of steering wheel when driving even at high speeds. There is also the development of new business models, such as car sharing and taxi-like services, which will affect the future.

* V2X stands for communication between a vehicle and all possible devices, obstacles, objects in the environment that may affect the vehicle. Examples are, other vehicles, traffic lights, elks, rain, and trees.

Text: KRISTINA RÖRSTRÖM

Students

Team Halmstad.

Tony Larsson

Tony Larsson is a Professor of Embedded Systems at Halmstad University. He was also the supervisor for Team Halmstad, both at this year's competition and the last time it took place in 2011. Photo: Magnus Karlsson

Updated 2016-10-20