Ready for the Future
FZI Presents a Modern Research Vehicle for Highly Automated and Connected Driving
Research Focus: Intelligent Transportation Systems and Logistics
With CoCar NextGen, the FZI Research Center for Information Technology presents a pioneering platform for automated and connected driving. High-end sensors, high-performance hardware, and modular interfaces enable numerous test scenarios for the automotive industry and research partners. The vehicle, completely developed in-house, permits independent research on the entire German road network.
With CoCar NextGen, the FZI Research Center for Information Technology presents its new, state-of-the-art test vehicle for independent research in the field of highly automated, autonomous, and connected driving. At the latestst IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Conference (IEEE ITSC) in Bilbao, the FZI presented the Audi A6 Avant, extensively equipped with the latest sensor technology and computing hardware. The car not only attracted the attention of the expert audience but also functions as a critical component for future measurement and test drives in the field of autonomous and networked mobility. To this end, the vehicle is equipped with numerous sensors, high-performance computing power, and networking components and can operate automatically on the entire German road network. “With the CoCar NextGen, we are putting pioneering technology for future research on the road,” says Zöllner, visibly pleased, adding: “Thanks to the hundred percent in-house development, we can conduct research entirely independent and at the same time offer a unique solution for the automotive sector.”
Technology for tomorrow
The basis of CoCar NextGen is an Audi A6 Avant with plug-in hybrid technology. The vehicle’s sensor equipment is designed for current research and testing of future mobility concepts and can also be adapted in its configuration if required. The car has twelve LiDAR sensors, nine HD cameras, a 4D radar system for object recognition, and a high-precision GNSS localization system for exact positioning. The vehicle is equipped with a high-performance computer for data evaluation of the sensors, the execution of the latest algorithms to enable automated driving functions, and the use of Artificial Intelligence. The new technology is powered by an additional 10 kWh energy storage unit, which enables up to eight hours of emission-free operation. This allows for environmentally friendly research operations with a high degree of flexibility in the choice of application scenarios. In addition, the vehicle is connected to various V2X (vehicle-to-everything) network components, such as IEEE802.11p/5G, and can communicate with future-oriented smart infrastructure and other smart road users. This ability is used in particular for cooperative and infrastructure-supported driving.
For automated vehicle control, CoCar NextGen has a specific actuator system that allows precise vehicle control. The software developed by the FZI allows fully automated test drives in regular road traffic. This enables realistic application scenarios, from efficient commuter traffic and automated car-sharing to specialized transport tasks.
Flexible and independent
The modular technology with connections and attachment options for additional components and the independence from vehicle manufacturers make research operations with numerous project partners from industry and science possible. The modular system and sensor architecture guarantee the simple transfer of findings to other vehicles and vehicle types.
Deployment within and outside the Test Area Autonomous Driving Baden-Württemberg
CoCar NextGen has been approved for research operation on all public roads. In conjunction with the Test Area Autonomous Driving Baden-Württemberg (TAF BW), further engaging application scenarios are emerging to develop autonomous vehicles and smart, intelligent, and connected infrastructure. Unlike other projects in Germany, the test field, which went into operation in May 2018, covers all types of public roads: Highway sections, state and federal roads, inner-city routes with bicycle, pedestrian, and streetcar traffic, as well as 30 km/h zones, residential areas and parking garages. The test field routes are located throughout Baden-Württemberg, focusing on Karlsruhe and Heilbronn.
About the FZI
The FZI Research Center for Information Technology, with headquarters in Karlsruhe and a branch office in Berlin, is a non-profit institution for information technology application research and technology transfer. It delivers the latest scientific findings in information technology to companies and public institutions and qualifies individuals for academic and business careers or the leap into self-employment. Supervised by professors from various faculties, the research groups at the FZI develop interdisciplinary concepts, software, hardware, and system solutions for their clients and implement the solutions found as prototypes. The FZI House of Living Labs provides a unique research environment for application research. The FZI is an innovation partner of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and a strategic partner of the German Informatics Society (GI).