A tunnel-based incident warning system trial in Portugal, supported by Cohda Wireless’s V2X technology, has successfully concluded with results suggesting that the ETSI ITS G5 short-range communication technology has reached a level of maturity sufficient to warrant a widespread rollout. The trial was part of the C-Roads Portugal (PT) initiative, comprising five C-ITS testbed Macro Pilot cases in the Atlantic Corridor in Portugal, as well as testbed of pilot cases, and aims to expedite the deployment of national scale C-ITS services.
Cohda Wireless supported the C-ITS technology developer and systems integrator Allbesmart during the pilot implementation in the 1.62 km long Gardunha tunnel on Portugal’s A23 highway between cities of Castelo Branco and Fundão, testing the performance of V2X communication to deliver a tunnel incident warning service under real-time conditions. Globalvia, a transport infrastructure operator leader, is the third partner of the project responsible for managing both the Gardunha tunnel and A23 Beira Interior highway. It is widely accepted that accidents in road tunnels are more dangerous than in the open air owing to the complexities of the tunnel, whilst hazardous substances are considerably more difficult to remove. When accidents occur in tunnels, smoke can lead to poor visibility and the rate at which the concentration of oxygen decreases will rapidly increase.
What the New V2X Technology Offers
The implementation applied a Decentralized Environmental Notification Messages (DENM) service to alert vehicles regarding the dangers, hazards and delays associated with tunnel access at any instant. The Gardunha tunnel is fitted with twenty surveillance cameras, air quality sensors, and fire and carbon monoxide sensors, all connected to a Traffic Control Centre in the village of Lardosa.
Cohda’s V2X technology, comprising six road-side units or infrastructure sensors (RSUs) and ten on-board units (OBUs) or vehicle-mounted sensors, facilitated the data exchange between infrastructure and vehicles based on the ITS G5 (IEEE 802.11p) protocol of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) on the 5.9 GHz frequency.
Allbesmart CEO Jorge Ribeiro said that the trial proved conclusively that communication between RSUs and the OBUs was successfully delivered and that the pilot’s promising results could significantly reduce the risks associated with large tunnel infrastructure on Portuguese roads and highways. “The trial proved our ability to deliver accurate and timely warning messages to drivers approaching the tunnel, even allowing them to exit the road at the next junction, if required,” explained Mr. Ribeiro.
Portugal's road death figures are above the European average and authorities are committed to EU’s vision of Zero road fatalities by 2050.
Cohda CEO Dr. Paul Gray said that Cohda will remain involved in the next phase of the trial through the provision of its proprietary V2X-Locate technology. “When GNSS connectivity is limited, such as in underground car-parks or tunnels, accurate vehicle positioning is almost impossible, as demonstrated in the Gardunha tunnel where location errors of up to three meters were demonstrated,” explained Dr. Gray. He further added “Only V2X-Locate can achieve sub-metre precision and we will support Allbesmart to deliver this.”
In early 2019, Cohda successfully trialed V2X Locate in the 2.2km Bjørnegård tunnel in the municipality of Bærum, Norway.
Daniel Pinto da Silva, General Manager of the Globalvia Beira Interior Concession, reiterated Globalvia’s commitment in achieving absolute road safety and reaffirms high interest in proceeding with the development of applications based on Cohda’s technology. Allbesmart includes transitioning the pilot from C-ITS to a 3GPP V2X communication standard by deploying a pilot with 3GPP 5G V2X vehicular connectivity using the evaluation kit MK6 from Cohda Wireless (C-ROADS is based on ITS-G5 MK5). An interface for V2V sidelink communications will also be tested. The next steps will be carried in the context of the P2020 5G-AUTO project.
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