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 Monday, March 29, 2010
The http://www.itu.int/ITU-T/worksem/ict-auto/201003/*1 concluded in Geneva, March 4 with participants calling for better cross-sector standards collaboration in order to facilitate the rollout of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS).

Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau: “There is a will from manufacturers to implement these technologies but thus far no real breakthrough in terms of standards needed to roll this out on a global scale. Global car manufacturers don’t want to create different versions of this technology for every different market. They don’t want regional or national standards, they want global standards and ITU and its World Standards Cooperation (WSC) partners ISO and IEC are willing and able to provide these for this global partnership.”

New services and applications may be the selling points that will win car makers an advantage in the depressed market. “Today's communication capabilities give cars the potential to foresee and avoid collisions, navigate the quickest route to their destination, make use of up-to-the-minute traffic reports, identify the nearest available parking slot, alert the emergency services, monitor air pollution, minimize carbon emissions, and provide multimedia communications,” said Johnson.

The involvement  of ITU, ISO and IEC is seen as critical to ease bottlenecks resulting – in part – from poor communication between overlapping sectors; automotive, ITS players,  telecoms suppliers and operators. One conclusion of an Executive Session was that competition between standards bodies was unwelcome.

A large amount of resources has been invested in research and development, but harmonization of the many standards that exist at a proprietary or regional level is missing. This lack of global standards is considered to be an impediment  to a large scale deployment of ITS services and applications. While most agree that the technologies are at an advanced stage of development, participants agreed that clearer views are needed on what standardization work is being done and where; user, regulator and supplier liability and privacy concerns; business and payment models; interoperability requirements and who owns them.

This – the fifth - Fully Networked Car workshop organized by the World Standards Cooperation (WSC), a partnership between ISO, IEC and ITU, was held on 3-4 March at the Geneva International Motor Show 2010 and focused on the latest developments in ITS technology including network requirements for electric cars. It represented a unique  opportunity to strengthen the dialogue between the ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems) key players, in particular with the motor industry.

Held during the 2nd Press Day and the first public day of the motor show, the event – attracting over 120 participants in 2010 - represents a matchless opportunity for experts and executives from the car industry, ICT community, governments, research and development institutes, academia to share their vision and strategies.

Speakers at a special Executive Session at the Fully Networked Car event included Christoph Huss, Vice President of BMW and President of the International Federation of Automotive Engineering Societies (FISITA), who gave the keynote address; Juhani Jääskeläinen, European Commission; Raymond Resendes, Chief, Intelligent Technologies Research Division, United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; Samuel Loyson, Orange, France; David Schutt, SAE International, USA; Yasuro Nakanomori, OKI, Japan; Russ Shields, Chairman, Ygomi and Reinhard Scholl, ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau.

In his opening remarks, Rob Steele, ISO Secretary-General, on behalf of WSC, said: "There is the need for standardization of essential technologies to provide the solid base for further innovation and the economies of scale for commercialization of technologies... Most interestingly of all, is the urgent need to consider the interoperability of all of this technology not only in the car, but in the wider infrastructure that is needed to support this revolution".

Information obtained from electronic devices as part of an in-vehicle network is critical to ITS (Intelligent Transportation Systems) services and applications, including emergency telecommunications. Currently, the way of extracting the vehicle information differs by manufacture, model and chassis type. Standards are being researched in the support of a Vehicle Gateway that will allow all consumer devices to work in harmony in all vehicles and with all infrastructures. Work on this in ITU is focused on a ‘Question’ within ITU-T’s Study Group 16. Contributions from ITU’s membership are being sought on a Vehicle Gateway platform for telecommunication/ITS services/applications.

Since ITS applications will have to rely mainly on existing infrastructure, NGN (Next Generation Networks) will play a key role for their deployment. This is currently considered in the framework of fix-mobile-convergence in ITU-T Study Group 13, ITU-T’s lead group lead on future networks. One of the sessions of the workshop recommended that a joint ISO / ITU-T group on in-vehicle architecture and protocols take the work forward.

Participants in one technical session at the workshop concluded that quality and naturalness of all speech services need to be increased to reduce driver distraction and seamless interaction. Agreement was reached that work on a standards-based framework for dialogue between user and device is needed, with the ITU-T Focus Group on Car Communications (ITU-T FG CarCOM) identified as the appropriate place for this work.

An electric future

Today, with the increasing deployment of electric vehicles, ICTs have a significant role to play in areas such as the careful management of battery status, warranty concerns and driver behaviour. Given the potential of these new technologies for both the automotive and the ICTs industries, it is essential for the different parties to understand the requirements for fully networked cars and agree on the solutions to be provided by the network platforms. In many cases existing telecoms infrastructure can be used.

As electric vehicles begin to find their way to our driveways and garages, knowing what is involved in charging their batteries becomes crucial. The development of smart power grids will also be vital to support the adoption of electric cars which according to some proposals can also act as storage capacity for electricity. The scale of this challenge was highlighted in one of the presentations to the workshop, citing work under way in the United States.

In the US, the electric grid is owned and operated by over 3100 utilities, using equipment and systems provided by thousands of suppliers, delivering power to hundreds of millions of users and billions of end devices. The transformation of this infrastructure into an “energy Internet” is a huge undertaking requiring an unprecedented level of cooperation and coordination across the private and public sectors as well as across industry sectors. A robust, interoperable framework of technical standards is the key to making this possible.

ITU is responding to this challenge by the formation of a new ITU-T Focus Group that will help develop the necessary global standards to hasten this move to Smart Grids. The newly formed group will look at the networking between use of current control, metering, charging and electricity distribution systems.
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1 New title for the event following agreement of Geneva Motor Show to support the event for next three years

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