Driving the Mobility of Tomorrow
The CERMcity open-air lab has now been officially opened. The project aims to make self-driving cars safe for operation in real-word urban environments.© Martin Dietze
Helium-filled aircraft, smart parking lots, perceptive street lights, connected traffic lights and automated electric vehicles – RWTH Aachen University and its partners from research and industry showcased their creativity and competence on the Aldenhoven Testing Center.
On Monday, on the occasion of the opening of CERMcity, a new test environment for the development and validation of connected, automated urban mobility, 58 exhibitors provided visitors with the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the mobility of tomorrow.
This future mobility will be shaped by automated and networked driving, with inner cities posing the greatest challenge. CERMcity provides an urban test environment for automatic driving functions which ensures realistic approximation of the challenges of inner-city driving.
The test environment includes intersections, parking spaces, bus stops, traffic circles, and crosswalks. House facades and radio technology coverage to incorporate sensors and actors have also been added: Thanks to the LTE and 5G technology provided by Vodafone, vehicles communicate with one another, pedestrians, traffic lights, and the entire traffic infrastructure. Thus, automated driving applications can be tested and wireless transmission simulated. Furthermore, it is possible to assess the driver’s interaction with the system and evaluate driver acceptance.
According to State Secretary Thomas Rachel, it is well-known that driving in metropolitan areas presents a unique set of challenges – city drivers encounter traffic jams, bumper-to-bumper traffic, and herds of pedestrians and cyclists on a daily basis, and the result is too many accidents. “We want to change this situation with the help of self-driving cars, but first, we have to make them safe and fully functional. We see very positive developments, but we need further testing under real-world conditions. Against this backdrop, we have built CERMCity, a project that is unique in Germany and which will make urban traffic safer with the help of driverless cars.”
Along with its technology partners, Vodafone has brought the most modern LTE mobile communication technologies to the testing grounds; Aldenhoven will be one of the first locations in Germany to benefit from the new 5G wireless standard. "Our 5G Mobility Lab is the workshop for the street traffic of tomorrow," said Vodafone Deutschland CEO Hannes Ametsreiter. "Together we are laying the foundation for a world with fewer accidents and no traffic jams."
Future Mobility Lab
CERMcity significantly expands RWTH and its partners' competencies in mobility research. Experts and a top of line research infrastructure are prerequisite to solving the numerous mobility questions of tomorrow. The Future Mobility Lab at RWTH Aachen, under the direction of Professor Lutz Eckstein, coordinates the interdisciplinary cooperation. "The design of future mobility requires close collaboration between not only scientists in different disciplines but also between universities and industry in different branches – with the support of the BMBF we are creating the ideal prerequisites," emphasizes Eckstein.
The CERMcity project receives funding from the BMBF in the amount of about 3.3 million euros. RWTH coordinates the project, to which several partners contribute, including the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), FH Aachen University of Applied Sciences, TÜV Rheinland, and the companies BASELABS and Silicon Radar.