A brief history of automotive research at ASCT

The two projects FleetNet – Internet on the Road (2000-2003) and its successor Network on wheels (2004-2008) have been the first activities of Fraunhofer FOKUS in the domain of vehicular communications. These projects are widely considered as the starting point for industrial research on ad-hoc communication between vehicles in Germany. During that time, an emphasis was put on the specification of protocols for vehicle ad-hoc networks, geo-based routing and the internet integration. In the successor project Network on wheels, a particular focus was put on security and privacy preserving aspects – a facet that is still one of the main topics within the ASCT group research.

FleetNet and Network on Wheels have proven that ad-hoc networks are suited as an enabler for new approaches in road traffic in order to improve traffic safety, efficiency and comfort. However, the technology was still under development and not yet advanced enough to be deployed to the mass market. Therefore, the projects PRE-DRIVE C2X (2008-2010), DRIVE C2X (2011-2014) and simTD (2008-2013) were funded to show and validate the technology on the road under realistic conditions. FOKUS has played a central role in these projects, which all prepared and conducted field operational tests. While security has still been one of the main pillars of FOKUS research, FOKUS has captured additional fields. On the one hand it started to develop advanced driver assistant system, which exploit the potential of the enabling V2X technology and demonstrated it on the road in the context of the field operational tests. On the other hand FOKUS developed tools to support the conduction of field operational test, i.e. tools to help planning, monitoring and controlling a large fleet of vehicles. Based on the specific needs of these activities, FOKUS has developed the tool that now builds the basis for the framework for remote monitoring and logging.

The youngest areas of research are related to highly automated driving, collaborive mobility for smart cities and big data technologies for mobility data.

A success story of the cooperation with Technische Universität Berlin and the Daimler Center for Automotive Information Technology Innovations (DCAITI) in particular is the basic for the simulation activities at ASCT. VSimRTI – a simulation environment that couples domain specific simulators – has its origins in a diploma thesis in 2008. Until today, it serves as perfect tool not only for partners and within research projects to assess the impact of advanced mobility applications – but also for today’s students of computer science, traffic engineering and automotive systems to discuss and assess own ideas.