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2016-06-13

Gold for the University in international competition with self-driving cars

Team Halmstad, with six master students from Halmstad University, won despite tough competition at the prestigious Grand Cooperative Driving Challenge 2016. In the competition, which took place in the Netherlands, an ordinary car was turned into one which is self-driving and that can cooperate and communicate with other vehicles.

Åtta personer i rad blir fotograferade efter vinst i tävlingen GCDC

Happiness in Team Halmstad after the win. Viktor Frimodig, Oscar Uddman Jansson, Jérôme Detournay, Thomas Rosenstatter, Golam Shahanoor, Wojciech Mostowski, Víctor Díez Rodríguez and Maytheewat Aramrattana.

GCDC (The Grand Cooperative Driving Challenge) 2016 took place on the 28th-29th of May, as previously announced in Swedish. The victory is unbelievable, say two of the students from Team Halmstad.

– It feels great. It’s real positive that the system we developed worked so well that it took us all the way to the first place, says Viktor Frimodig and Oscar Uddman Jansson.

There was fierce competition. In all, ten teams competed, five of them from Sweden.

– Many teams were good, and for example all Swedish teams performed really well.

Cooperation and a robust system

During GCDC, all the teams have to cooperate with each other to be able to compete. The vehicles are communicating with each other and with different sensors along the road, and every team’s vehicle plays a role. It is about making the car self-driving and to actually make it communicate.

– We noticed the last few days before the competition that our system was very robust. We understood that we had a fair chance to end up as one of top three, but we had not counted on winning, says Oscar Uddman Jansson.

The competing teams did two scenarios, to drive where the cars should be able to drive where two lanes join together through the zipper method, and to drive with speed control in order to create an even flow at an intersection.

– Our system is built on a large number of modules. That is a big advantage when you run tests, and therefore we have been able to develop such a stable system. We have also made plenty of computer simulations before we tested the system for real on the road, which is another important factor, says Viktor Frimodig.

Två bilar kör nära varandra på en väg.

Wojciech Mostowski, lecturer and team leader, confirms the joy in Team Halmstad.

­– My first impression about the reasons for our victory was our rock stable communication module that we developed, as well as the flawless execution of the scenario at the intersection. Seeing the detailed evaluations later on showed us that every part of the project counted, including social aspects, and contributed to our total score, says Wojciech Mostowski.

Tony Larsson, professor and supervisor for the team, says that the win is a real joy also considering that the University also placed itself well the last time the competition took place.

– We came second in GCDC 2011, with a thin margin to the winners. The teams has worked fantastically well, and they have wrestled with many unpredictable problems around the software integration with the car, says Tony Larsson and continues:

– Halmstad University has done research in this field since 2006, and therefore the students have had a strong research and reality connection.

Good teamwork

In the team, two persons have primarily worked with the communication, three persons have focused on the integration with the car and the control system and one has had the main responsibility for decisions regarding the manoeuvres the car needs to conduct.

– Most important is, however, that we have been a team, everyone has helped out where needed, says Oscar Uddman Jansson.

The members of Team Halmstad are studying the Master’s Programme in Embedded and Intelligent Systems at Halmstad University. Jérôme Detournay, Golam Shahanoor, Thomas Rosenstatter, Víctor Díez Rodríguez, Oscar Uddman Jansson och Viktor Frimodig have worked with the GCDC-project more or less since October last year. For several of them, the competition is part of their thesis.

Good support on many fronts

Team leader for Team Halmstad this year was, apart from Wojciech Mostowski, also PhD-student Maytheewat Aramrattana.

– The leaders have been fantastic. We’ve also had a very good support from the University and different companies, say the students.

Volvo sponsored Team Halmstad with a new car. TASS International contributed with PreScan, a software platform to stimulate traffic and test autonomous driving applications. Others who supported the team are Victoria Swedish ICT, Fengco and Safer.

It is primarily traffic safety that increases when cars and trucks are partly or totally automated. Also advantages with fuel consumption and a better use of the traffic net are brought forward. Halmstad University conducts a lot of research, in close interplay with the industry, within the area of Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems and Cooperative Automation.

Text: KRISTINA RÖRSTRÖM
Photo: GCDC2016/TNO and OSCAR UDDMAN JANSSON
Film: OSCAR UDDMAN JANSSON

Svart Volvo-bil tätt följd av en lastbil på vägen

GCDC (The Grand Coopeative Driving Challenge) 2016 was settled May 28-29th on the dual carriageway between Helmond and Eindhoven in the Netherlands. In all, ten teams participated, five of them from Sweden.

In second place came KIT Karlsruhe, Germany, third was KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden.

GCDC is a part of the i-Game-project, a research project about cooperative and autonomous cars, supported by the EU-commission. Behind i-Game stands the Dutch research organisation TNO, Eindhoven University of Technology, the Spanish test environment IDIADA and the research institute Viktoria Swedish ICT.

Åtta glada personer blir fotograferade och filmade

Team Halmstad after the win in GCDC 2016.

Halmstad University also competed with one team in GCDC 2011, and came in second place. Fredrik Bergh (among other team members) did the competition as part of his thesis work:

The competition was a first insight in how to apply the knowledge from the more theoretical years at the University. A fantastic opportunity to get to know students, PhD-students and companies from all over Europe and understand the complexity in the challenges that the competition identified.

For my part the thesis and the results at the competition paved the way for easily getting a job after my studies. Thanks to participation, I have a CV with more interesting points, both from the competition and from publications that we published based on what we did during the thesis. Personally it was a fun experience where I felt I learnt at least as much as my years studying.

Today, I work as a consultant in Cybercom Group and am on my fifth year as a software component owner at Volvo GTT (Volvo Group Trucks Technology). I am responsible for the software in several of the components in Volvos’ latest truck.

Updated 2016-06-13