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The Fully Networked Car@Geneva Motor Show
Role of global standards
Malcolm Johnson
photo credit: ITU/V. Martin
“ 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. ”

Malcolm Johnson,
Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau
Photo credit: AFP
An autonomous car which can be driven using an iPhone through a Wi-Fi connection

The Fully Networked Car@Geneva Motor Show*, held on 3–4 March 2010, ended with participants calling for better cross-sector standards collaboration in order to facilitate the deployment of technologies for intelligent transport systems (ITS).

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

New services and applications may be the selling points that will win car makers an advantage in the depressed market following the global economic downturn. “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 Mr 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, telecommunication suppliers and operators. One conclusion of an Executive Session at the Fully Networked Car@Geneva Motor Show 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 year’s workshop, the fifth to be organized by WSC (a partnership between ISO, IEC and ITU) at the Geneva International Motor Show 2010 focused on the latest developments in ITS technology, including network requirements for electric cars. It represented a unique opportunity to strengthen dialogue between ITS 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 — which attracted over 120 participants this year — 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@Geneva Motor Show event included Christoph Huss, Vice President of BMW and President of the International Federation of Automotive Engineering Societies (FISITA), who gave the keynote address (see Viewpoint); 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, United States; Yasuro Nakanomori, OKI, Japan; Russ Shields, Chairman, Ygomi and Reinhard Scholl, ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau.

Robert Steele
photo credit: ITU/V. Martin
Robert Steele,
ISO Secretary-General

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 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 support of a “Vehicle Gateway” that will allow all consumer devices to work in harmony in all vehicles and with all infrastructure. 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, next-generation networks (NGN) will play a key role for their deployment. This is currently considered in the framework of fixed-mobile convergence in ITU–T Study Group 13, the lead group 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 concluded that quality and naturalness of all speech services need to be increased to reduce driver distraction. Agreement was reached that work on a standardsbased 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, ICT 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 ICT 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 telecommunication 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.

According to this presentation, the electric grid in the United States 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.

Photo credit: ITU/V.Martin
The GreenGT prototype electric sports car, made in Switzerland. This two-seater is claimed to be the first all-electric racing car with a Formula One carbon fibre chassis

GreenGT: an all-electric racing car made in Switzerland

A special feature of the workshop was the GreenGT prototype electric sports car, presented by Jean-François Weber, founding partner of GreenGT SA, Switzerland. This two-seater is claimed to be the first all-electric racing car with a Formula One carbon fibre chassis. The GreenGT can do 10 to 15 laps of a typical Grand Prix track at race pace. According to Mr Weber, the car can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in about 4.3 seconds, and has a top speed of 285 km/h. The GreenGT is carbon neutral, as its batteries are recharged by solar power. Two battery packs, producing a total of 35 kWh feed electricity to two synchronous three-phase motors of 150 kW peak power each. After initial testing in May 2009, the GreenGT made its debut on the Castellet High-Tech Test Track in Southern France in June.

An electric car has a very different weight distribution from that of a normal car, and engineers had to tune the chassis to cope with the heavy batteries. Electric cars also produce tremendous amounts of torque, and the GreenGT team had to make sure that the gearbox would withstand the enormous power it has to transfer to the rear wheels. Tests gave the team an idea of how long the car’s batteries would last, and whether the car’s electronics and safety equipment were working correctly. The GreenGT passed all the tests without problems.

The GreenGT was later displayed in the “Green Pavillion” at the Geneva International Motor Show. This type of car could race in Le Mans when rules will allow full electric cars.


* New title for “The Fully Networked Car workshop” following agreement of the Geneva International Motor Show to support the event for the next three years


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