'CoVeL' project demonstrates lane-level road navigation system

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25 November 2011

At a dedicated workshop at the Infrastructure, Telematics and Navigation Expo in Turin, Italy, the EU-funded CoVel project has demonstrated the smarter road navigation system of the future, bringing in-car navigation to road lane-level, using EGNOS EDAS data.

Demonstrating the CoVeL LNA in Turin ©Peter GutierrezSteadily increasing traffic density across Europe means more traffic jams, more accidents and more CO2 emissions, especially in urban areas, where delays and disturbances are a daily phenomenon.

"Building more roads can only go so far in alleviating the problem," says CoVeL coordinator Carlo Liberto of Italy's Centro Ricerche Fiat. Speaking at the CoVeL workshop in Turin, Liberto suggested another direction: "Better traffic management, on the other hand, can play an important role in mitigating the negative impacts of road traffic."

A better way to go

The aim of the EU-funded CoVeL project has been to develop a new 'Lane Navigation Assistant' (LNA) – an in-vehicle device that will enable lane-level navigation and lane-level traffic management, especially in urban areas. According to Liberto, "The LNA will use satellite positioning as its primary source. GPS data will be augmented by correction information coming from the EGNOS system, by relative positioning and the co-operative map matching."

In her Keynote address to the CoVeL workshop, Fiammetta Diani, Market Development Officer for Road/ITS area from the European GNSS Agency said, "Today, all new systems and technologies for location, systems like the CoVeL navigation assistant, need to leverage EGNOS and to be ready for Galileo."

The CoVeL workshop ©Peter GutierrezDiani referenced the recently completed 'EGNOS-2-Road' project, supported by the European Commission, which demonstrated positive business cases for EGNOS-based road navigation in real situations, including tourist bus operations in Rome.

"EGNOS is available and operational, and we are already seeing improved performances and profitability in operative systems using the EGNOS signal. Just like the CoVeL partners who are making EGNOS a basis for a new system to improve traffic conditions and safety for drivers, all developers of new location based technologies and services can use EGNOS now."

From behind the steering wheel

The CoVeL LNA will use the EGNOS Data Access Service (EDAS) to broadcast EGNOS data to vehicles, combining vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication systems. Furthermore, says Liberto, satellite positioning data is enhanced by innovative algorithms for co-operative localisation and map matching. "The resulting lane-level positioning will bring navigation and traffic management to a new height of detail and effectiveness", he says.

The highlight of the workshop comprised a live demonstration of the new system on the Fiat Centro Sicurezza test track. Participants got inside CoVeL-equipped cars for a first-hand look at the LNA display, showing the driver when best to change lanes to avoid road obstacles, such as another car coming the wrong way, or simply to optimise the route taken, accounting for traffic density and road works.

Carlo Liberto ©Peter GutierrezProject partners say that while further work still needs to be done, importantly in the area of standards, before we see CoVeL being implemented in real-life situations, the time is now to start moving towards widespread integration. Piero Mortara of Magneti Marelli said, "Tomorrow's navigation systems will have to be able to use this kind of technology, so it is very important that we anticipate, innovate constantly and look towards the future today."

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Updated: Jul 23, 2012