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2016-04-12

Students compete with self-driving cars

Six students at Halmstad University are very busy at the moment, preparing for an international competition in cooperative automated cars. With specially adjusted software and communications equipment, the students turn an ordinary car into being self-driving and having the ability to talk to other vehicles in traffic.

The challenges in the competition ‘Grand Cooperative Driving Challenge (GCDC) 2016’external link, opens in new window are that the cars should be able to drive were two lanes joins together through the zipper method, and with speed control in order to create an even flow at a junction. This requires that the cars have a mutual language, and they therefore communicate with each other using specific radio frequencies.

Traffic lights can be superfluous

The aim of the competition is to build a foundation for automated driving in international contexts, where it is necessary for automated vehicles to talk in order to solve conflicts in traffic that people normally solves. This is a hot area of research and something all large car manufacturers are working with.

– The question is if it is safe enough in the future for people to drive cars, says the masterstudent Oscar Uddman Jansson in a news story on Swedish television (SvT).

One example is traffic lights. These will not be needed in traffic if all vehicles can communicate directly with each other.

– The cars could agree on who will drive first depending on where you are on a stretch of road and so that no car has to stop.

It is primarily traffic safety that increases when cars and trucks are partly or totally automated. Advantages with fuel consumption and a better use of the traffic net are also brought forward.

Strong research area

Halmstad University conducts a lot of research within the area of "Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems" and ”Cooperative Automation”. The University’s research is highly connected to, and is done, in close interplay with the industry (see related articles).

– It is nice that we have been able to register a team from Halmstad to participate in GCDC 2016. This type of challenge can highlight and also increase our students and others interest in the University’s education within for example “embedded and intelligent systems”, and but also for doing thesis work and other projects related to our research, says Tony Larsson, Professor in embedded systems.

– The University participated in GCDC 2011 and our team came in second place out of the seven teams who completed. We will support this year’s team and hold our fingers crossed that it will go well this time around as well.

Busy schedule

In the competition, which takes place May 28-29th in the Netherlands, twelve teams from all over Europe compete in automation and cooperative driving. Team Halmstad have already completed a test drive in Spain at the end of March. In April the students are doing a test-drive at the track AstaZero outside of Borås, a unique test environment for future road safety. Volvo is sponsoring Team Halmstad with one new car. TASS International is providing PreScanexternal link, opens in new window, a software platform used to simulate traffic and test autonomous driving applications.

Text: KRISTINA RÖRSTRÖM
Film: LOUISE WANDEL and RICKARD WESSBERG


The question is if it is safe enough in the future for people to drive cars
Oscar Uddman Jansson

Six students looking happy

Team Halmstad

About the competing students

The students Jérôme Detournay, Oscar Uddman Jansson, Golam Shahanoor, Thomas Rosenstatter, Victor Díez Rodrìgues and Viktor Frimodig are studying the Master’s Programme in Embedded and Intelligent Systems. The six participants represent five different nationalities and has previously studied for example Information technology, computer science, mechatronics or electronics.

Updated 2016-05-17