For many years, researchers, car manufacturers, and politicians have dreamt of a new technology that will make travelling by car safer, faster, greener, and even more fun. Called car-2-car communication or C2C, the basic idea is rather simple. By putting a radio interface into your car, you enable it to wirelessly communicate with other vehicles and road-side infrastructure. This radio interface is very similar to the WiFi many people use at home. Once equipped with the system, vehicles can inform each other about their position, direction, and speed. Traffic lights can tell approaching cars when they are about to switch to red or green.
Being C2C-enabled, cars could warn their drivers if there is a danger of collision with another car that just had an accident and is blocking the road around the corner.
Or cars could form a platoon, following each other at short distance to save fuel. Moreover, the whole platoon could drive with exactly the right speed to approach the next traffic light when it is green.
However, many problems need to be solved before we get there. Researchers from several groups of the University of Twente are working on issues ranging from the applications and their influence on traffic to security and efficiency aspects of wireless communication. One major European player to enable the C2C vision is the Car-2-Car Communication Consortium (C2C-CC), which the University of Twente (UT) recently joined.
The C2C-CC is an organization initiated by leading car manufacturers in Europe. Its goal is the development and release of an open European standard for cooperative intelligent transport systems and to push the harmonization of car-2-car communication standards worldwide. The C2C-CC also organizes regular testing events to demonstrate the technical and commercial feasibility of C2C systems. Among its members are leading manufacturers like Daimler, BMW, Volkswagen, Renault, Honda, Fiat, Opel and Volvo, but also suppliers that produce car components like Bosch and Continental. Finally, top universities and research organizations like the Swiss EPFL, the Technical University Munich, the German Fraunhofer Institute, and the French INRIA constitute the third group of members, which is now joined by the University of Twente.
Dr. Frank Kargl, Associate Professor in the Distributed and Embedded Security Research group of UT and a leading researcher on the field of C2C security, initiated and coordinated the membership application. He explains the importance of this step:
"The University of Twente is actually the first Dutch organization to join the C2C Consortium. For us as a University, the membership offers a unique chance to closely interact with car manufacturers and suppliers working on this exciting topic. C2C is truly interdisciplinary and we have traffic engineers, security researchers, and communication experts working side-by-side to make it become a reality. Through our membership in the C2C-CC, we ensure that our research results do not just end up in scientific papers ignored by industry but can directly influence standardization and subsequent development of future C2C products. So in 5 years from now, you might travel safer, faster, greener, and with more fun because your car is equipped with technology, to which the University of Twente has contributed. And of course, the contact with all the involved companies opens new opportunities for projects and joint research activities on many other topics, which is also an extremely important asset for an entrepreneurial university as is the University of Twente."