1. Overview of Automotive

Wireless communication provides significant advantages due to improved flexibility in placing of nodes, for example sensors or control units. If there are no wires necessary to be pulled through a chassis, sensors can be mounted on nearly any location or object, allowing new innovative applications both for professional users in automotive development as well as for consumers in series-production vehicle scenarios.

In order to avoid the need for power supply cables as well, DEWI strives to develop ultra-low-power nodes, combined with innovative use of energy harvesting technologies. As a result we expect to see significant savings in costs and weight of in-vehicle cabling (also known as wiring harness) of cars.

As an additional benefit, the lack of wires and connectors will help to reduce typical sources of errors in complex measurement set-ups, improving quality and reliability in automotive development.

2. Specific challenges / Business needs

Automotive applications in vehicles as well as in test environments are typically characterized by challenging RF (radio frequency) channel properties. Metal parts like the powertrain, chassis or device housings can cause reflection and absorption for RF in typical bands like 2.4 GHz. Communication has to deal with multi-path propagation and has to overcome non-line of sight scenarios.

Commercial of-the-shelf transceivers typically operate in ISM (industrial, scientific and medical) bands. Using such hardware and frequencies allows benefiting from proven, robust and cost-efficient designs, but also requires being able to deal with interferences with other systems, like Wi-Fi or entertainment systems. DEWI strives to come up with solutions to cope with interference while at the same time guaranteeing low latency and real-time communication.

Another challenge is caused by having a plurality of similar systems (“DEWI bubbles”) in close proximity. As an example, multiple vehicles might be placed side-by-side in a parking lot, or multiple test facilities are hosted wall-to-wall within a test factory. Suggested technologies shall address co-existence of multiple systems, e.g. by means of channel management or cognitive radio principles.

Especially for data acquisition systems, consistency and therefore robustness of data communication is paramount. Several partners investigate solutions in hard- and software to guarantee this consistency while at the same time minimizing energy consumption.

Functional safety of vehicles is paramount to protect health and lives of vehicle and road users. As wireless interfaces in cars or trucks could potentially provide a new gateway for attacks, measures to provide sufficient security are important. Establishing confidentiality, integrity and authentication on resource-constrained nodes of a WSN is an especially challenging goal.

In general, solutions in this domain have to meet general requirements for automotive use, like extended temperature range, mechanical robustness and cost efficiency.

DEWI bubble

3. Approaches & Solutions

Partners in DEWI Automotive Domain address these challenges in multiple use cases and approaches.

Prototypes of WSN nodes will be based on standard physical layers like IEEE 802.15.1, IEEE 802.15.4 and IEEE 802.11s, and implement standard as well as new designed protocols for higher layers. For especially harsh environments, new UWB systems will be developed.

Several detailed measurement campaigns shall provide a comprehensive comparison of these technologies under real-life conditions. Different solutions allow comparing and selecting the fittest solution for any use case.

Energy efficiency in nodes is fundamental to allow reasonable operating time on batteries, and eventually a complete sustainable supply by different kinds of energy harvesting. Several new ideas for in-node power management, energy-aware protocols, energy prediction as well as channel optimization are being followed.

Some tasks concentrate on providing security even in resource-constrained environments.

Industrial partners of  DEWI Automotive Domain concentrate in detailed requirement engineering and will provide extensive validation of the innovations in real-world set-ups.


4. Use Cases

The following is a short overview of Use Cases in automotive domain (DEWI SP3)

  • Use Case 3.1 – Identify, configure and join WSN in static networks: Connecting nodes in a network is the first step of forming a DEWI bubble. Identification and authentication of network participants shall be done in an automatic and reliable way, preventing potential ambiguities in case bubbles are in close proximity (e.g. having multiple cars in a parking lot).
  • Use Case 3.2 – Synchronized and robust real-time data communication on wireless networks: Measurement systems based on WSN for automotive V&V need to guarantee precise synchronization across the nodes, and guarantee deterministic timing and data consistency.
  • Use Case 3.3 – Automatic sensor and actuator configuration based on identification and localization: Several methods for precise localisation of WSN nodes shall be developed. Spatial information can be used to extract context information of sensors to support automatic configuration.
  • Use Case 3.4 – Wireless sensors for extreme environments: Vehicles and automotive test-beds might provide challenging characteristics to RF-based systems. Ultra-wide-band (UWB) radios are developed to provide dependable communication under such harsh environments.
  • Use Case 3.5 – Secure tamper-proof in-vehicle device-to-device communication: Providing wireless data links between both built-in and mobile subsystems within and around police cars requires special focus on security.
  • Use Case 3.6 – Wireless update of ECU SW for vehicles: Today, updating software of control units in a car is still a tedious and time-consuming issue. This use case will apply wireless technology to updating in a safe, secure and flexible way, both during development of cars and for regular use.
  • Use Case 3.7 – New wireless solutions for energy efficiency and comfort in vehicles: Wireless communication in and near vehicles will allow new applications for improved energy efficiency for electric vehicles as well as modern lifestyle car usage.
  • Use Case 3.8 – Integration platform for WSN: Both trucks and trailers are expected to be equipped with WSN’s soon. In order to provide dependable interoperability, an integration platform is being developed.
  • Use Case 3.9 – Instrumentation for combined data acquisition: wired–wireless: In-vehicle and mobile measurement systems combine both integrated and wireless-sensor based data acquisition. The goal is to provide a flexible, consistent, synchronous and cost-effective solution.
  • Use Case 3.10 – Wireless vibration monitoring for comfort and health assessment of human operators: This use case focusses on assessment of the vibration a human operator in off-highway vehicles is subject to, using a WSN-based measurement system.

Use Case 1Use Case 2

5. Demonstrators

Several automotive demonstrators will allow applying testing and demonstrating DEWI’s innovations in real-life scenarios for research, industry and general public.

  • Truck demonstrator: Partner Volvo will provide a heavy duty truck as a platform for demonstrating WSN’s with one or more gateways, with diverse timing constraints, utilizing autonomous power and provided in different geometric modules.
  • Passenger car demonstrator: Partner Valeo will equip a Citroën DS5 vehicle to demonstrate new innovative applications like car sharing with virtual key transfer to a smart phone.
  • Development test bed: Partner AVL will provide an engine test bed as demonstrator platform for WSN in automotive testing, demonstrating aspects like robust real-time communication, automatic localization of nodes and node energy harvesting.

Test bedOff-road demonstrator: an excavator vehicle will be equipped with combined wired-wireless acquisition systems, allowing to show applicability of wireless vibration monitoring on operators and vehicles during operational tests.

6. Deliverables

Partners in Automotive Domain will generate more than 100 deliverables in total, embodied in documents, data, prototypes and demonstrators. 27 documents with fundamental results will be made publicly available, and shall provide a pool of knowledge to Europe’s research institutions and industry, for example:

  • DEWI Deliverable D301.003 „State-of-art of WSN setting up technologies“
  • DEWI Deliverable D302.006 „Demonstration of wireless IVN services“
  • DEWI Deliverable D302.008 „Evaluation of Harvesting Concepts“
  • DEWI Deliverable D303.002 „Localisation system prototypes based on at least two different approaches for evaluation“
  • DEWI Deliverable D304.003 „WSN prototype based on UWB radio“
  • DEWI Deliverable D308.001 „Automotive architecture and integration requirements“
  • DEWI Deliverable D311.007 „Reference Architecture Summary“
  • DEWI Deliverable D311.008 „Standardization roadmap“
  • DEWI Deliverable D311.009 „Standardization report“

The complete list of public deliverables can be found here.