RITS - 2017
New Software and Platforms
Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry
New Software and Platforms
Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry

Section: Research Program

V2V and V2I Communications for ITS

Participants : Oyunchimeg Shagdar, Gérard Le Lann, Mohammad Abualhoul, Younes Bouchaala, Fawzi Nashashibi.

Wireless communications are expected to play an important role for road safety, road efficiency, and comfort of road users. Road safety applications often require highly responsive and reliable information exchange between neighboring vehicles in any road density condition. Because the performance of the existing radio communications technology largely degrades with the increase of the node density, the challenge of designing wireless communications for safety applications is enabling reliable communications in highly dense scenarios. Targeting this issue, RITS has been working on medium access control design and visible light communications, especially for highly dense scenarios. The works have been carried out considering the vehicle behavior such as vehicle merging and vehicle platooning.

Unlike many of the road safety applications, the applications regarding road efficiency and comfort of road users, on the other hand, often require connectivity to the Internet. Based on our expertise in both Internet-based communications in the mobility context and in ITS, we are now investigating the use of IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6 which is going to replace the current version, IPv4, in a few years from now) for vehicular communications, in a combined architecture allowing both V2V and V2I.

The wireless channel and the topology dynamics need to be studied when understanding the dynamics and designing efficient communications mechanisms. Targeting this issue, we have been working on channel modeling for both radio and visible light communications, and design of communications mechanisms especially for security, service discovery, multicast and geocast message delivery, and access point selection.

Below follows a more detailed description of the related research issues.

Geographic multicast addressing and routing

Participant : Oyunchimeg Shagdar.

Many ITS applications such as fleet management require multicast data delivery. Existing work on this subject tackles mainly the problems of IP multicasting inside the Internet or geocasting in the VANETs. To enable Internet-based multicast services for VANETs, we introduced a framework that:

i) defines a distributed and efficient geographic multicast auto-addressing mechanism to ensure vehicular multicast group reachability through the infrastructure network,

ii) introduces a simplified approach that locally manages the group membership and distributes the packets among them to allow simple and efficient data delivery.

Platooning control using visible light communications

Participants : Mohammad Abualhoul, Oyunchimeg Shagdar, Fawzi Nashashibi.

The main purpose of our research is to propose and test new successful supportive communication technology, which can provide stable and reliable communication between vehicles, especially for the platooning scenario. Although VLC technology has a short history in comparison with other communication technologies, the infrastructure availability and the presence of the congestion in wireless communication channels lead to propose VLC technology as a reliable and supportive technology which can takeoff some loads of the wireless radio communication. The first objective of this work is to develop an analytical model of VLC to understand its characteristics and limitations. The second objective is to design vehicle platooning control using VLC. In platooning control, a cooperation between control and communication is strongly required in order to guarantee the platoon's stability (e.g. string stability problem). For this purpose we work on VLC model platooning scenario, to permit for each vehicle the trajectory tracking of the vehicle ahead, altogether with a prescribed inter-vehicle distance and considering all the VLC channel model limitations. The integrated channel model of the main Simulink platooning model will be responsible for deciding the availability of the Line-of-Sight for different trajectory's curvatures, which means the capability of using light communication between each couple of vehicles in the platooning queue. At the same time the model will compute all the required parameters acquired from each vehicle controller.

V2X radio communications for road safety applications

Participants : Mohammad Abualhoul, Oyunchimeg Shagdar, Fawzi Nashashibi.

While 5.9 GHz radio frequency band is dedicated to ITS applications, the channel and network behaviors in mobile scenarios are not very well known. In this work we theoretically and experimentally study the radio channel characteristics in vehicular networks, especially the radio quality and bandwidth availability. Based on our study, we develop mechanisms for efficient and reliable V2X communications, channel allocation, congestion control, and access point selection, which are especially dedicated to road safety and autonomous driving applications.

Safety-critical communications in intelligent vehicular networks

Participant : Gérard Le Lann.

Intelligent vehicular networks (IVNs) are constituents of ITS. IVNs range from platoons with a lead vehicle piloted by a human driver to fully ad-hoc vehicular networks, a.k.a. VANETs, comprising autonomous/automated vehicles. Safety issues in IVNs appear to be the least studied in the ITS domain. The focus of our work is on safety-critical (SC) scenarios, where accidents and fatalities inevitably occur when such scenarios are not handled correctly. In addition to on-board robotics, inter-vehicular radio communications have been considered for achieving safety properties. Since both technologies have known intrinsic limitations (in addition to possibly experiencing temporary or permanent failures), using them redundantly is mandatory for meeting safety regulations. Redundancy is a fundamental design principle in every SC cyber-physical domain, such as, e.g., air transportation. (Optics-based inter-vehicular communications may also be part of such redundant constructs.) The focus of our on-going work is on safety-critical (SC) communications. We consider IVNs on main roads and highways, which are settings where velocities can be very high, thus exacerbating safety problems acceptable delays in the cyber space, and response times in the physical space, shall be very small. Human lives being at stake, such delays and response times must have strict (non-stochastic) upper bounds under worst-case conditions (vehicular density, concurrency and failures). Consequently, we are led to look for deterministic solutions.


In the current ITS literature, the term safety is used without being given a precise definition. That must be corrected. In our case, a fundamental open question is: what is the exact meaning of SC communications? We have devised a definition, referred to as space-time bounds acceptability (STBA) requirements. For any given problem related to SC communications, those STBA requirements serve as yardsticks for distinguishing acceptable solutions from unacceptable ones with respect to safety. In conformance with the above, STBA requirements rest on the following worst-case upper bounds: λ for channel access delays, and Δ for distributed inter-vehicular coordination (message dissemination, distributed agreement).

Via discussions with foreign colleagues, notably those active in the IEEE 802 Committee, we have comforted our early diagnosis regarding existing standards for V2V/V2I/V2X communications, such as IEEE 802.11p and ETSI ITS-G5: they are totally inappropriate regarding SC communications. A major flaw is the choice of CSMA/CA as the MAC-level protocol. Obviously, there cannot be such bounds as λ and Δ with CSMA/CA. Another flaw is the choice of medium-range omnidirectional communications, radio range in the order of 250 m, and interference range in the order of 400 m. Stochastic delays achievable with existing standards are just unacceptable in moderate/worst-case contention conditions. Consider the following setting, not uncommon in many countries: a highway, 3 lanes each direction, dense traffic, i.e. 1 vehicle per 12.5 m. A simple calculation leads to the following result: any vehicle may experience (destructive) interferences from up to 384 vehicles. Even if one assumes some reasonable communications activity ratio, say 25%, one finds that up to 96 vehicles may be contending for channel access. Under such conditions, MAC-level delays and string-wide dissemination/agreement delays achieved by current standards fail to meet the STBA requirements by huge margins.

Reliance on V2I communications via terrestrial infrastructures and nodes, such as road-side units or WiFi hotspots, rather than direct V2V communications, can only lead to poorer results. First, reachability is not guaranteed: hazardous conditions may develop anywhere anytime, far away from a terrestrial node. Second, mixing SC communications and ordinary communications within terrestrial nodes is a violation of the very fundamental segregation principle: SC communications and processing shall be isolated from ordinary communications and processing. Third, security: it is very easy to jam or to spy on a terrestrial node; moreover, terrestrial nodes may be used for launching all sorts of attacks, man-in-the-middle attacks for example. Fourth, delays can only get worse than with direct V2V communications, since transiting via a node inevitably introduces additional latencies. Fifth, the delivery of every SC message must be acknowledged, which exacerbates the latency problems. Sixth, availability: what happens when a terrestrial node fails?

Trying to tweak existing standards for achieving SC communications is vain. That is also unjustified. Clearly, medium-range omnidirectional communications are unjustified for the handling of SC scenarios. By definition, accidents can only involve vehicles that are very close to each other. Therefore, short-range directional communications suffice. The obvious conclusion is that novel protocols and inter-vehicular coordination algorithms based on short-range direct V2V communications are needed. It is mandatory to check whether these novel solutions meet the STBA requirements. Future standards specifically aimed at SC communications in IVNs may emerge from such solutions.

Naming and privacy

Additionally, we are exploring the (re)naming problem as it arises in IVNs. Source and destination names appear in messages exchanged among vehicles. Most often, names are IP addresses or MAC addresses (plate numbers shall not be used for privacy reasons). A vehicle which intends to communicate with some vehicle, denoted V here, must know which name name(V) to use in order to reach/designate V. Existing solutions are based on multicasting/broadcasting existential messages, whereby every vehicle publicizes its existence (name and geolocation), either upon request (replying to a Geocast) or spontaneously (periodic beaconing). These solutions have severe drawbacks. First, they contribute to overloading communication channels (leading to unacceptably high worst-case delays). Second, they amount to breaching privacy voluntarily. Why should vehicles reveal their existence and their time dependent geolocations, making tracing and spying much easier? Novel solutions are needed. They shall be such that:

  • At any time, a vehicle can assign itself a name that is unique within a geographical zone centered on that vehicle (no third-party involved),

  • No linkage may exist between a name and those identifiers (plate numbers, IP/MAC addresses, etc.) proper to a vehicle,

  • Different (unique) names can be computed at different times by a vehicle (names can be short-lived or long-lived),

  • name(V) at UTC time t is revealed only to those vehicles sufficiently close to V at time t, notably those which may collide with V.

We have solved the (re)naming problem in string/cohort formations [48]. Ranks (unique integers in any given string/cohort) are privacy-preserving names, easily computed by every member of a string, in the presence of string membership changes (new vehicles join in, members leave). That problem is open when considering arbitrary clusters of vehicles/strings encompassing multiple lanes.