Section: Application Domains

Vehicular transportation systems

Intelligent transportation systems

Throughout the world, roadways are notorious for their congestion, from dense urban network to large freeway systems. This situation tends to get worse over time due to the continuous increase of transportation demand whereas public investments are decreasing and space is lacking to build new infrastructures. The most obvious impact of traffic congestion for citizens is the increase of travel times and fuel consumption. Another critical effect is that infrastructures are not operated at their capacity during congestion, implying that fewer vehicles are served than the amount they were designed for. Using macroscopic fluid-like models, the NeCS team has initiated new researches to develop innovative traffic management policies able to improve the infrastructure operations. The research activity is on two main challenges: forecasting, so as to provide accurate information to users, e.g., travel times; and control, via ramp-metering and/or variable speed limits. The Grenoble Traffic Lab (see http://necs.inrialpes.fr/pages/grenoble-traffic-lab.php ) is an experimental platform, collecting traffic infrastructure information in real time from Grenoble South Ring, together with innovative software e.g. for travel-time prediciton, and a show-case where to graphically illustrate results to the end-user. This activity is done in close collaboration with local traffic authorities (DIR-CE, CG38, La Metro), and with the start-up company Karrus (http://www.karrus-its.com/ )

Advanced and interactive vehicle control

Car industry has been already identified as a potential homeland application for Networked Control [36] , as the evolution of micro-electronics paved the way for introducing distributed control in vehicles. In addition, automotive control systems are becoming the more complex and iterative, as more on-board sensors and actuators are made available through technology innovations. The increasing number of subsystems, coupled with overwhelming information made available through on-board and off-board sensors and communication systems, rises new and interesting challenges to achieve optimal performance while maintaining the safety and the robustness of the total system. Causes of such an increase of complexity/difficulties are diverse: interaction between several control sub-systems (ABS, TCS, ESP, etc.), loss of synchrony between sub-systems, limitations in the computation capabilities of each dedicate processor, etc. The team had several past collaborations with the car industry (Renault since 1992, and Ford).

More recently, in the ANR project VOLHAND (2009-2013), the team has been developing a new generation of electrical power-assisted steering specifically designed for disabled and aged persons.

Currently, on-going work under a grant with IFPEN studies how to save energy and reduce pollution, by controlling a vehicle's speed in a smart urban environment, where infrastructure-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-vehicle communications happen and can be taken into account in the control.