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Driverless car project researches advances in vehicle connectivity

The £5.5m FLOURISH driverless car project has successfully completed the latest phase of its investigations into the requirements of the cyber-physical infrastructure of the future.

Pioneered by the University of Bristol, a member of the FLOURISH consortium, the findings of this research give new insights into the ability of connected vehicles to communicate with each component in the system, including other connected vehicles and the roadside and digital infrastructure.

Robert Piechocki, Professor of Wireless Systems at the University of Bristol, said: “Digitally connected vehicles have the potential to revolutionise the cities we live in and the way we travel. Our research into the optimum conditions for the robust, effective and resilient transfer of data is the cornerstone of a new customer journey experience.”

The FLOURISH car trials explore the minimum conditions needed for data to be effectively transferred. They focus on the level of connectivity required to communicate with integrity, to respond to real-time traffic events and to identify if the source of information is trustworthy. With its varied topography, the results proven in Bristol are directly transferrable to other cities across the country, in both even and more challenging terrain. The project is testing ever more complex scenarios to assure the recommendations it makes and their application elsewhere.

Professor Piechocki adds: “By enabling the management of a network of driverless cars, we can help transport authorities to improve road safety, ease congestion and tackle the challenge of improving air quality, by offering a genuine alternative to manually driven cars.”

In addition, the project is also exploring the potential for connected and autonomous vehicles to communicate with each other and the surrounding infrastructure using frequencies typically associated with WiFi. Usually seen as an enabler of indoor connectivity, its low frequencies can enable data to be effectively transmitted for longer distances.

The FLOURISH team will release its final findings for data transfer and secure communications in May 2019.”

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