Software framework helps designers to develop car-to-x applications

September 26, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
At the ITS World Congress 2012 to be held later this year in Vienna, Scientists from Fraunhofer ESK will demonstrate the car-to-x framework they developed. By means of the platform, developers can implement complex car-to-x applications such as collaborative driver assistance systems.

In the vehicle-to-environment communication scheme (car-to-x), drivers receive precise information on their relevant environment - for example on head-on-traffic or road conditions. The goal of the technology is to provide to the driver all necessary and appropriate information to enable him to reach his destination safe and swiftly. In addition, the system is intended to direct the traffic in a manner that enables efficient and safe travel. Car-to-x applications such as traffic congestion warnings, automatic anti-glare headlight controls or so-called "green wave" assistance (green traffic lights for cars travelling at a defined speed) help to increase traffic safety and efficiency.

Research institute Fraunhofer ESK has designed a software framework that enables designers to implement car-to-x applications, in particular in the segment of collaborative driver assistance systems and smart traffic guidance systems. Besides purely communication-oriented tasks as defined in the related ETSI ITS standards, Fraunhofer ESK has added software components, which support Rapid Prototyping. For example, the framework enables developers to access external sensors such as GPS systems as well as the vehicle's speed and radar sensors and make their data available to the car-to-x application. Digital map data can be integrated as well as dynamic environment data.

The framework also contains so called "facilities" - a middleware layer that provides a number of basic services for the applications. An example is a service that determines the exact location. Such a service is useful to implementing car-to-x applications aiming at better safety, lower fuel consumption and shorter travel times.

While hitherto only separate software components were offered, the Fraunhofer ESK framework contains a comprehensive software bundle. Out of this package, developers can select the components required for their actual use case. In addition, the package can be expanded by additional components. Unlike similar offerings, the framework is independent from any underlying hardware.

At the ITS World congress (October 22 through October 26), the Fraunhofer scientist demonstrate three prototypical applications developed with