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Demonstrating better urban road transport solutions (Straightsol)

The EU-funded Straightsol project is piloting new systems and solutions for improved city transport, with a focus on better, safer and more efficient parcel and freight delivery.

Jardar Andersen at the Straightsol demo. © Peter Gutierrez
Jardar Andersen at the Straightsol demo.
© Peter Gutierrez

Urban transport remains a growing concern for people living and working in cities. Traffic jams generate air pollution and noise, increase safety risks, and cause human frustration and stress. In economic terms, inefficient transport represents a waste of time and loss of productivity.

In June 2013 in Brussels, researchers, policy-makers, business people and interested citizens got an up-close look at some possible solutions on the occasion of the Straightsol workshop. The EU-funded Straightsol project is carrying out a number of pilot studies in major European cities, all aimed at alleviating the urban crush and improving the lives of city dwellers.

Participants at the workshop and demonstration in Brussels heard from leaders of three of those pilot studies, including a major parcel handler and two large supermarket chains.

A 'greener" way to deliver parcels

Mette Kok of parcel deliverer TNT Express explained the company"s new 'mobile depot" system. A large freight trailer is driven into the city and parked in a strategic location each morning. It then feeds individual three-wheeled, electric-motor-assisted pedal vehicles that take parcels to their final destinations.

At the end of the day, these tricycles return to the trailer with parcels to be shipped back out and the trailer is picked up and returned to the company"s central depot.

The aim is to reduce the number of mid-sized vans driving through the city. But a key part of the pilot study will be to measure the actual results. Data will be collected over the trial period to quantify the impact of the mobile-depot scheme in terms of trips taken, fuel saved, etc.

Straightsol coordinator Jardar Andersen of Norway"s Institute of Transport Economics explained the importance of quantification. "The problems of urbanisation are still getting worse. The measures that have been tried in the past have not been appropriately evaluated, so we still don"t know what works and what doesn"t work. This is why data collection and analysis has been made a key priority for the pilot studies.

"We want to provide better tools for evaluation. Straightsol will do a complete assessment of all the demonstrations, and this data will then be made available to other researchers and transport planners in other cities."

Consideration for all

Loading and unloading of heavy vehicles is a central issue for urban transport stakeholders. Vans and trucks are a major contributor to slowdowns and bottlenecks in narrow, inner-city streets.

Two major supermarket chains in Belgium, Colruyt and Delhaize, are testing new off-peak and night-time delivery schemes under the Straightsol project. Ivan Van de Brul, Head of Transport at Colruyt said: "We believe we can help save fuel, improve safety, and reduce congestion and pollution by carrying out more deliveries outside of working hours."

The key issue then becomes noise. For the scheme to work, said Van de Brul, "we are installing sound insulation inside trailers, using 'silent" palette trucks and installing covered loading and unloading docks at our supermarkets. All of this, we believe, reduces the noise and makes night delivery more feasible."

The Delhaize supermarket chain is testing a similar scheme. "We want to spread deliveries out across the day," said Davy De Cock, Delhaize Belgium Mobility Coordinator. "It is a challenge; neighbours complain about the noise and the added congestion. Clearly, we cannot schedule deliveries anytime we want. What about schoolchildren? We do not want trucks driving through our streets when children are walking to and from school."

Training for truck drivers is another key focus for the supermarket chains, and both Van de Brul and De Cock agree that consultation with the authorities is vital. Jardar Andersen also agrees. He described the Straightsol approach as, integrated, involving authorities at all levels, with strict attention paid to environmental restrictions and other regulations.

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Satellite applications for emergency handling, traffic alerts, road safety and incident prevention (SafeTRIP)

Getting from A to B on European roads could become an easier, safer and more entertaining experience thanks to a new mobile technology platform for vehicles demonstrated by the SafeTRIP project.

Tags: Road
SafeTRIP can enable vehicle passengers to receive live TV or information via their smartphones or tablet computers. © SafeTRIP
Tablet for passengers.
© SafeTRIP

Satellite navigation is now a commonplace technology in road vehicles. But the main advantages of satellites – their ability to provide a uniform, reliable and quickly updated service across large geographical areas – provide opportunities for many other services.

The SafeTRIP project demonstrated the possibilities for commercial services based around the S-band communication channel available via the Eutelsat 10A satellite. This channel is optimised for broadcast multimedia content delivery and two-way data communication via small mobile units that are ideal for vehicle applications.

“However, to realise these opportunities requires the demonstration of the concept and the development of a standardised platform, and that is essentially what SafeTRIP has achieved,” says Guy Frémont, coordinator of the project and Director of New Technologies for French autoroute operator Sanef. “We have defined the architecture of the system and also worked through the standardisation issues required to implement the technology.”

This business model – to develop an open standardised architecture for low-cost terminals – is the same as that used for other successful mobile devices, such as satellite navigation and GSM technologies. And the model allows third-party software developers to produce applications for download, initiating a new and valuable market for ‘apps’.

“SafeTRIP technology would allow vehicles to be permanently connected via return channels wherever they are in Europe,” explains Frémont. “And this could enable a truly pan-European road transport area.”

Opportunities for ‘apps’

With supporting infrastructure and applications in place, SafeTRIP technology could allow automatic payment of road-user charges (such as road tolls or congestion charges) across Europe or give passengers the ability to look for hotels or restaurants and book them while on the move.

The technology would also be of interest to insurance companies – for pay-as-you-drive cover or stolen-vehicle tracking – vehicle fleet managers and car manufacturers, allowing for software updates and remote-vehicle diagnostics to be implemented.

Safety applications are an important feature via an automatic emergency alert system that connects with roadside assistance services or a local garage in the event of an accident or breakdown. The technology is interoperable with the new European Commission eCall service but would offer enhanced features.

One unique feature is the ability to include video within an emergency call. “This would allow a roadside assistance company to be able to respond to an emergency call immediately and assess the urgency of the situation,” explains Frémont. The system could be used to provide breakdown assistance or advice remotely.

The same concept is useful for road traffic-management authorities. The ‘patrol with eyes’ concept enables data to be collected and transmitted from a variety of sensors on a patrol vehicle to a central control room to help traffic management or other tasks.

“The data might include the road condition, the state of its surface, or information on congestion,” says Frémont. “Or the patrol could help manage incidents, giving the control centre a real time view of the situation.”

Traffic management can also benefit from collected data flows, such as traffic volume, weather conditions or pollution indexes. Information on road conditions could be instantly broadcast to vehicles via a short message service or satellite navigation maps updated ‘on the fly’ to reflect road conditions or temporary road closures. 

Mobile broadcasting

Other opportunities lie in the ‘broadcast’ capabilities of the satellite technology. “Passenger entertainment or ‘infotainment’ applications are of major interest. Future services could include live TV and digital radio or video on demand,” says Frémont.

The DVB-SH standard available via the S-band on Eutelsat is optimised for mobile conditions – even at high vehicle speed – and would allow passengers to access programmes via their portable smartphone or tablet computer, for example. Or the output of the SafeTRIP box could be integrated into the vehicle’s audio-visual entertainment system. Such a system was demonstrated in both private cars and a Eurolines coach during the project.

In fact, during the project all aspects were successfully demonstrated on a variety of vehicles and across Europe. Feedback was very positive and the next step is commercial exploitation.

The project involved testing the concept using a PC platform. The next stage is to reduce the size of the on-board unit and look at cost reduction. There will also be a need to involve vehicle manufacturers and other players in the value chain. Five industrial partners involved with the SafeTRIP project are working on industrialisation and commercialisation plans.

“This will need significant further investment to become a commercial product,” concludes Frémont. “But in a few years it is possible that SafeTRIP units will be on the market.”

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Stadium: smarter transport management for global events

An innovative online tool has been developed to help cities meet the transport demands of large-scale events. Created through an international EU-funded project, the tool shows how integration of Intelligent Transport Systems can make a world of difference.

The EU-funded Stadium (Smart Transport Applications Designed for large events with Impacts on Urban Mobility) project was established in 2009 to examine ways of improving the performance of traffic management during and after major events. Completed in April 2013, the project also sought to deepen research co-operation between the EU and other countries in order to share knowledge and experience and open possible new business opportunities.

“Large events are demanding on cities, as this can mean thousands of additional transport users,” says Stadium project coordinator Maurizio Tomassini. “Special transport requirements often need to be coordinated with pre-existing transport systems.”

The Stadium projectexternal link examined whether integrating Intelligent Transport System (ITS) applications into existing traffic-management models could provide a solution. Demonstrations were carried out at three different sporting events: the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, the Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010 and the London Olympics in 2012. “We specifically sought to implement tailored ITS outside Europe,” says Tomassini. “In contrast, we also wanted to deploy applications in a technologically mature context, like London.”

Through the evaluation of these demonstrations, an online handbookexternal link has been developed to help guide cities when organising large events. This tool, which contains examples of best practices and a decision-support system, will enable traffic managers to select the most appropriate ITS application for them. “This handbook is the most important deliverable of the project,” says Tomassini. “It is a way of getting cities to adopt new technologies, and is creating opportunities for our partners to contribute to future projects.”

The benefits of international co-operation

The international aspect was crucial to the success of the project. “International co-operation is very important, given global transport trends,” says Patrick Mercier-Handisyde from DG Research’s Urban Mobility Sector. “We can learn from other countries. New competitors are emerging, but at the same time, new opportunities for collaboration are emerging as well. The Stadium project is a very good example of this.”

Each event presented a unique set of transport challenges. The Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010, for example, involved 17 sporting disciplines, six venue clusters and five standalone venues spread across the city. Within a defined area, buses and auto-rickshaws were equipped with GPS, with data fed to a centralised management centre.

“We wanted to show the benefits of integrating multi-modal information in order to help users plan their trip and to optimise routes,” explains Delhi demonstration coordinator Paolo Squillante. “We showed how ITS integration can be positive for passengers and operators. “Delhi is now running 4000 buses equipped with GPS, 90 bus stops have information displays installed and all auto-rickshaws now come with GPS. So, they are on their way.”

The South African demonstration focused on getting spectators to and from the Greenpoint stadium in Cape Town for FIFA 2012 World Cup matches. Unlike Delhi, this was a single location event. The project implemented a minibus shuttle service from a drop-off point in the city centre to the stadium. Some 19 vehicles were installed with tracking equipment, with data fed to a back office.

“We showed that existing transport can be complemented and integrated in a sustainable way,” says the Cape Town demonstration coordinator Monica Giannini. “We also found that the ITS system enabled drivers to work in a more relaxed way, as it helped them organise, manage and schedule. This had important consequences, as there had been concerns in the past about the erratic behaviour of minibus drivers.”

The third demonstration involved integrating ITS into London’s well-proven transport-management system for the 2012 Olympics. This was a truly massive undertaking; some 7.5 million ticketed spectators attended events spread over 29 venues.

“Our job is to keep traffic flowing smoothly, so we were interested in looking at ways of automatically detecting congestion,” explains Mark Cracknell from Transport for London. “We installed smart CCTV cameras at sites where the control centre had no visual capacity, which fed data into a central database.”

Cracknell says that the key to success was to work closely with operators, to identify useful indicators for congestion. “We found that a generic set-up was no good; each camera needed to be set up for each specific site,” he says. On evaluation, the ITS system was found to be a useful addition. It provided more timely alerts, which enabled operators to implement actions sooner.

Future applications

The handbook, drawn up from the experience of these three demonstrations, has already been put into practice. Curitiba, a Brazilian city which will host several FIFA 2014 World Cup matches, used this tool to identify potential ways of employing ITS. Public transport is well established in Curitiba – the city operates an extensive and complex bus service – so after careful analysis it was decided that a solution to enable more accurate passenger counting could help optimise services. This would also allow for the provision of real-time information to passengers. The city is currently examining the results of an ITS demonstration.

“The idea is to have closer co-operation with these parts of the world,” concludes Mercier-Handisyde. “We hope to follow up the Stadium project with technology take-up in these countries, in preparation for Horizon 2020external link (the new EU Framework Programme for research and innovation). The good relations fostered by the Stadium project will hopefully continue in the future.”

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Assessing vehicle compatibility in road accidents (Fimcar)

Traditionally, car crash safety testing has focused mainly on the protection of drivers and passengers in wall impact scenarios. The ‘Fimcar’ project has been looking more closely at real-world accidents and considering better ways to assess safety.

Tags: Road
Vehicle compatibility in road accidents ©Peter Gutierrez

Good performance in conventional crash testing situations does not always guarantee good performance in real world accidents, as shown by accident data analysis. In real accidents involving frontal collisions, the compatibility between the two vehicles is crucial.

“For example,” explains Heiko Johannsen of the Technical University of Berlin, “one car may override the other, which translates into an unacceptable injury risk for the overridden car. While this problem is obvious for some specific vehicles, e.g. large SUVs vs. small cars, it has also been reported in accidents involving two cars of the same model.”

Johannsen is coordinator of the EU-funded Fimcar project, aimed at studying the compatibility of vehicles in road accidents. Fimcar analysed in detail vehicle-to-vehicle accident issues and, crucially, derive requirements for future frontal impact regulations.

“Previous work in this area,” he says, “has tended to end without a clear proposal for future regulation, concluding with ‘further research is needed’. One of the reasons was that safety assessments were based on an older fleet. Today, we have a sufficiently large number of real-life accidents involving cars that actually meet the current frontal impact standards. So we can study and assess the results of these accidents and make recommendations based on stronger data.”

What we need

The results of the Fimcar assessments indicate, for example, that structural interactions between vehicles need to be better considered, including alignment of main structures, height and section size, etc. Future regulations need to encompass the assessment of this kind of structural alignment, as well as the homogeneity of vehicle front ends, and the assessment of self-protection in a wider variety of situations, including full vehicle overlap.

Johannsen says he believes Fimcar recommendations could save approximately 900 to 1000 lives per year in the EU27, and reduce the number of serious injuries by 6900 to 13 800. “In economic terms, of course it is difficult to put a monetary value on a human life, but we are certainly thinking in terms of billions of euros. And if the costs needed to achieve this improvement do not exceed €100 to €300 per car, then the cost-benefit ratio would be in favour of realising our proposals.”

Johannsen also says international co-operation was crucial in the context of this project. “Vehicle regulation has to cover international needs, experience and opinions, on a European but also a world-wide level.” The Fimcar consortium drew partners from all over Europe, but also worked in co-operation with Japan and the US to achieve a maximum benefit, he says.

One of the European Commission’s central objectives is to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured in road accidents. EC project officer Ludger Rogge says, “Fimcar is a project that has achieved good results in terms of improving the compatibility of cars, and this will decrease the injury risks of occupants in both single and multiple vehicle accidents.”

Fimcar gathers some of Europe’s most important automobile manufacturers, including Fiat, Opel, PSA, Renault, Volvo, Volkswagen, and others, demonstrating the industry’s clear interest in delivering the highest safety standards. But along with its commitment to saving lives, the partnership is also helping to strengthen the competitiveness of the European automotive industry. Being able to build safer vehicles to higher standards means European cars are more competitive on the international market.

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Protecting our most vulnerable road users

Researchers say many thousands of children could benefit from a new system that helps ensure their safety as they go to school. SAFEWAY2SCHOOL brings together the latest communications technologies to, among other things, warn drivers of the presence of children near bus stops.

Tags: Road

The trip to and from school is a daily routine for millions of children around Europe. Anna Anund of VTI, the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute, says, “Going to and from school by bus is a multimodal trip where children are at risk, especially as unprotected road users, and there is clear evidence of the need for a door-to-door perspective to improve their safety.”

While definitive statistics about children injured in road accidents on their way to school are lacking, sources seem to indicate that most such incidents occur between the home and school bus stops, with a peak frequency in the afternoon.

The EU-funded SAFEWAY2SCHOOL (SW2S) project, coordinated by Anund, is looking at new solutions for a holistic and safe transportation service for children, from their door to the school door and vice versa. “We are looking at tools, services and training for all key actors in the transport chain,” says Anund. These include:

  • Tags for children that communicate wirelessly with bus stops and/or driver support systems, indicating the presence of children in the vicinity;
  • Intelligent bus stops, with bus stop signs that light up to signal to passing drivers that children are near;
  • Bus driver support systems, aimed at making it easier for bus drivers to know who is on board, as well as to plan routes and monitor speed and fuel consumption;
  • A dedicated application for smartphones, aimed at improving communication among users, for example to notify parents when children arrive at school;
  • A training kitto enhance risk awareness and explain how to use the new technologies;
  • A bus-stop inventory tool, making it easier to determine and assess bus stop position, from a safety perspective;
  • An in-vehicle information and warning system , for non-bus drivers, triggered when approaching an intelligent bus stop with children present.

Pilot studies, testing the above-mentioned elements separately, as well as all of them together as a complete system, were carried out at five different sites – in Sweden, Italy, Poland, Austria and Germany. Anund says the results were positive, showing cost-effectiveness and high user acceptance for the system as a whole, and also for most of the individual sub-elements.

“However,” she warns, “no chain is stronger than its weakest link, and this is also true when it comes to school transportation. The most essential improvements identified were related to school travel plans, signs at bus stops and improved bus driver education.”

Ready to go

“SW2S is based on already existing technologies that have been adapted to school transportation applications,” Anund explains. The results of a cost-benefit analysis indicate that potential users should start with the simpler and lower-cost elements that deliver the most rapid improvements in safety and security. “This will prepare the ground for the next step, i.e. the complete system,” she says.

One issue that has been raised is the question of privacy of users, especially children. Anund responds, “Before starting the pilot studies, we had a deeper look at the security and privacy issues. A first review identified off-the-shelf solutions such as encryption, ‘virtual private networks’ and firewalls. Important topics were raised such as user access, data security and system acceptance.”

Anund says a security policy was proposed that covers safe data storage, auditability, availability and passwords. Confidentiality, integrity and authentication are also important aspects when transferring data.

Within the project, a new methodology, based on a checklist approach, was developed with the purpose of identifying issues regarding security and privacy. One of the results was that we decided to remove some system functions for older children, in order to gain heightened system acceptance.”

While it is crucial to protect the system from third-party access, this will not eliminate all security and privacy issues, since system users and administrators themselves can pose an ‘inside threat’. It is therefore important to ensure that user access is properly restricted and that administrator actions are logged.

It can work

Anund believes the potential benefits are real: “If we look just at the separate parts, for example the bus-stop signs, thousands of children will benefit from this. In Sweden alone, we have 250 000 children travelling to and from school on busses, and the majority of them from unmarked stops. The situation is more or less the same in other countries.”

She adds, “Children are our future and as such they are a very important group. But everyone will benefit. A system designed for the most vulnerable users – in this case children – will most certainly also be a useful system for all other travellers.”

SW2S is the result of the collaborative efforts of a diverse set of stakeholders, including SMEs, universities and research institutes. “The consortium has been outstanding in several aspects,” says Anund. “It has contributed to knowledge exchange between countries and has increased our understanding of the daily life of children in Europe. It was an honour to coordinate the project.

“We appreciate that the European Commission decided to fund SW2S, helping to guarantee a sustainable, safe and secure future transport system. The project would not have been possible without this support.”

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Important new model for car safety (ADSEAT)

The EU-funded ADSEAT project has developed the world’s first virtual crash test dummy of an average female. The computational model is to be used in virtual testing of vehicle seat safety performance.

Tags: Road
Female crash test model ©ADSEAT

So-called ‘whiplash’ injuries, most often caused when a person is sitting in a car struck from the rear, can lead to severe pain and suffering for the victim and may result in huge societal costs. Crash statistics have long shown that females are at higher risk of sustaining whiplash injuries, by a ratio of 1.2 to 3.1 times when compared to males. One of the reasons is that, until now, the only available model for assessing seat designs aimed at protecting against whiplash has been that of an average male.

“In order to improve safety, we need models of the human body to be used in crash tests,” explains Astrid Linder, Research Director for Traffic Safety at the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute. But men and women are different. “In the area of crash testing, no model of the average female has ever been available. “Therefore,” says Linder, “we decided to develop such a model in order to have the tool necessary to improve safety for both males and females.”

Linder leads the ADSEAT project, an EU-funded research initiative aimed at developing a computational dummy model of an average female. The model, called EvaRID (Eva female, RID – Rear Impact Dummy), incorporates information on the anthropometry of the average female, based on data found in the scientific published literature. In addition, new data from tests using male and female volunteers in identical conditions were also collected and analysed.

Linder says, “No one in the crash testing area has either outlined the specifications for the average female or implemented these in a virtual crash test dummy. We have done both.”

A prototype dummy model, called BioRID 50F, was also constructed. Sled testing with this device allowed direct comparison to the dynamic performance of the existing male-based BioRID II dummy.

Tests were conducted in line with the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) test procedure. According to ADSEAT reports, the results confirmed that real differences are to be expected when a seat is loaded with a dummy representing a female instead of a male. Project partners say this work has received considerable positive attention, particularly among car manufacturers.

Successful team effort

The ADSEAT consortium consists of 12 partners from several European countries. Linder says, “International and European co-operation is essential on topics as large as crash test dummies. Today, no partner on its own could carry out a project like ADSEAT. We have participants from the whole world in the Advisory Group, and we have representatives from most of the European experts in the field.”

Furthermore, she adds, “Without the support of the EU, there would still not be a virtual crash test dummy of an average female anywhere in the world.”

Supporting wider policy goals

The ADSEAT project represents an important contribution to improving the safety performance of road vehicles, a key priority for the European Commission. EU Project Officer Ludger Rogge says, “The ADSEAT project shows good results to reduce painful whiplash injuries,” and this important step forward will also ultimately be reflected in reduced medical and insurance costs.

Based on the results of its work, ADSEAT is now in a position to provide guidance on the larger question of how to evaluate the protective performance of vehicle seat designs, all aimed at reducing the incidence of whiplash associated disorders for both men and women.

Asked who will ultimately benefit, Linder responds, “In particular, half the population – females will benefit from the outcome of this project. But improved knowledge about how to prevent whiplash injuries will also be beneficial for the male part of the population.”

The likely benefit in financial terms is still being quantified, but there can be little doubt that, “In addition to the reduction of the pain and suffering for the injured person, fewer injuries mean a lower financial burden on society.”

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Are in-vehicle technologies improving road safety?

As technology advances, vehicle manufacturers are incorporating more and more gadgets such as cell phones, satellite navigators and in-car video systems into vehicles. But what are the effects of these in-vehicle technologies (IVTs) on road safety? Ten European research partners are trying to determine how safe they really are.

The EU-funded 'Interaction' research project focuses on mature technologies that have already been adopted by European car drivers: cruise control, speed limiters, navigation systems and mobile telephony. Their functioning principles, displays and controls are being investigated in detail, while focus groups help to identify how individuals actually use these tools.

With this information, patterns of use and their effects on drivers’ skills and behaviour can be established, both in normal situations and in emergencies. The researchers are also able to compare various demographic groups, as well as people from different countries. With the information gathered, the project will shed light on how to reduce the risks of misusing IVT systems, discourage unsafe practices and increase the global benefits of IVT on road safety.

One key benefit will be the elaboration of actions to strengthen drivers’ awareness of the use of IVT and its possible consequences. Another will be a set of recommendations for the design of future systems, including instructions on safe use of IVT by European drivers. Product designers and policy-makers can integrate these into their agendas to yield a safer road transport system and improved use of technology in vehicles. Such advances may even inspire other nations to exploit the results as well, positioning the EU as a leader in an important field.

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Road train approaching

The SARTRE project (Safe Road Trains for the Environment) has successfully completed the first test demonstrations of a multiple vehicle platoon. The test fleet included a lead truck followed by three cars driven entirely autonomously at speeds of up to 90 km/h – with no more than a 6 metres gap between the vehicles.

Tags: Road

The SARTRE project is being driven by seven European partners and is the only one of its kind to focus on the development of technology that can be implemented on conventional highways in which platooned traffic operates in a mixed environment with other road users.

Greener and more efficient

The main advantage of road trains is that the car driver has time to do other things. Road trains promote safer transport since the vehicle platoons are led by a professional driver in e.g. a truck and inter-vehicle reaction response times are much quicker. Environmental impact is reduced since the cars follow close behind each other and benefit from the lower air drag. The energy saving is expected to be in the region of up to 20 percent. Road capacity will also be able to be utilised more efficiently.

Although the main technologies for platooning are readily available, it is important that they are optimised before application on our roads. The cars in the platoon need to stay in line and keep their distance regardless of their speed. "A challenge has been to develop reliable communication between the vehicles in the platoon. Vehicle to vehicle communication is essential to ensure safety at high speeds and short vehicle spacing“, says Carl Bergenhem, SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden.

Hands free driving

Will we be able to drive across Europe hands free or overnight any time soon? The project is well underway to its final aim, which is for the entire road train to be completed in autumn 2012. By then four vehicles after one lead vehicle should be driving at 90 km/h.

However, the challenge of implementing road train technology on Europe’s highways is not solely a technical matter, the SARTRE project also includes a major study to identify what infrastructure changes will be needed for vehicle platooning to become a reality. Key future requirements identified are the need to agree a common terminology for platooning, such as criteria for defining when a vehicle becomes fully automated (as opposed to partially or even highly so), and the need to harmonize regulatory law.

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Nice - A new era for the internal combustion engine

A new internal combustion engine addresses the drawbacks of petrol and diesel designs. As a result, it cuts both fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. The project, NICE, was supported by the European Commission.

A European Union-funded project, called ‘New integrated combustion system for future passenger car engines’, or ‘NICE’, aimed to develop a new integrated combustion system. Involving 26 partners, and coordinated by DaimlerChrysler, the project contributed to achieving the highest fuel conversion efficiency independent of the type of fuel.

In particular, one sub-project taken on by a group of partners within the NICE consortium, led by Centro Ricerche Fiat, focused on turbocharged spark-ignited gasoline engines. They developed the application of an advanced system of variable valve actuation using electro-hydraulic technology, which improves on similar systems by allowing multiple valve opening and closing in a single cycle and in being simple and cheap enough to be mounted on the lowest cost segments of the car market

Engines for automotive vehicles are increasingly under several pressures: to cut fuel consumption, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and polluting emissions, and deliver attractive performance and costs for drivers. To date, it has been difficult to optimise engine designs so as to meet all these goals at the same time.

In previous research projects, internal combustion engines for petrol-driven vehicles (using the ‘Otto-cycle’) had been designed to cut noxious emissions to very low levels. Unfortunately they had greater fuel consumption than diesels. On the other hand, diesel engine designs have been able to lower fuel consumption, but only at the cost of higher emissions of acidifying gasses and particles. To complicate things even more, along with petrol and diesel, bio-fuels have now been added to the mix of fuels available to drivers.                                

NICE solutions brought to market

The NICE team tried to combine the best of both worlds and with considerable success: "When operated in a compact car, the project's technologies led to an average improvement in fuel economy and CO2 of around 10% when compared with the baseline engine " says Massimo Ferrera of CRF, which is developing the application of this technology to natural gas engines as coordinator of the current InGas project.

The team also concluded that engine efficiency could improve even further (up to 25% in city driving) through integration of this technology with turbo charging and engine downsizing – shifting the engine ‘operating point’ (i.e. the rhythm at which it operates) to one with higher efficiency.

The technology is now being marketed by Fiat in their Twin Air and MultiAir engines. "We are talking of mass market models which sell in the hundred thousands, not only sport and premium cars, as in the past", comments Maurizio Maggiore from the Transport Directorate of the European Commission, "and this will deliver a real impact on greenhouse gas emissions".

In the future, it will also help in optimising the use of low CO2 fuels such as natural gas and bio-fuels, but "it can provide fuel savings even to truck diesels "says Ferrera, which is involved in the forthcoming CORE project to develop this application.

Optimising the engine cycle

How does the technology work? The basic internal combustion engine cycle relies on the timing of the firing of the sparkplug (to ignite the fuel and air which drives the piston) and the opening and closing of the intake and exhaust valves (to let fuel/air in and exhaust gasses out). The amount of air entering the engine cylinder is normally regulated through a throttle. This requires energy, which then affects fuel consumption – particularly when driving at the low speeds typical of city driving.

In its simplest form the engine’s valves are opened and closed via camshafts. A cam, a shaped off-centre wheel, pushes the valves up and down (and therefore open and shut) as it rotates.

Through this simple method the valves’ opening and closing are synchronised with the combustion cycle of the engine. However, when the engine runs at different speeds or with different loads, a single basic cycle is not always optimal – leading to the engine working harder than necessary, wasting fuel and driving up CO2 emissions.

The NICE project’s electro-hydraulic system is mounted on the intake valve and allows the timing of the valve’s opening and closing to be controlled independently according to different strategies, such as ‘Early intake valve closing’ or ‘Late intake valve closing’. These can be used to optimise fuel consumption in different circumstances, such as when the engine is running under low or medium loads, or for improving its performance in cold weather. The engine’s running can therefore be modified to meet all these conditions without use of the throttle to determine the quantity of air, and therefore without unnecessary loss of energy.

The new system connects the intake valve to the camshaft via a high-pressure oil chamber, instead of directly. The oil chamber is then controlled electronically via a switch. When closed, the switch runs the engine normally by keeping the oil under pressure, which transmits the camshaft motion in full through the oil chamber to provide full lift to the intake valve as usual.

If ‘Early intake valve closing’ is desired, however, the switch can be opened so oil flows out of the oil chamber, reducing pressure. As a result, the intake valve is no longer coupled directly to the movements of the camshaft and is closed, by a spring, earlier in the cycle than in the full-lift mode.

Similarly, the intake valve can also be made to close later than normally in the cycle via the switch. The engine thus has a much more flexible range of combustion cycles, whereby the timing can be altered to optimise the combustion of the fuel – leading to both lower consumption and reduced emissions. 

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Introducing greener cars on our roads

Green alternatives to conventional cars are needed fast – for the sake of the environment, and the health of the European economy. But a lot more innovation is needed to make greener cars ready for mass production. To speed things up and encourage cost-sharing, the European Commission is promoting cooperation at every stage – often between commercial rivals.


A small range, high cost and a lack of flexibility still stand in the way of mass acceptance of a new generation of greener cars, as is illustrated by this clipexternal link shot at the International Motor Show in Frankfurtexternal link by German television channel ARD.

The European Green Cars Initiative is a public private partnership, through which the Commission is spurring the development of green cars, not just in Germany but in all European countries, by:

  • encouraging cooperation and exchange of information between car-manufacturers, ITC developers, researchers, energy companies (who will supply the infrastructure for electric cars) and government (which supplies funding and coordinates standards)
  • getting everyone to agree on a common agenda – the multi-annual roadmap

Projects for progress

Around 50 projects are already underway – to advance the technologies needed to make electric vehicles widely available on the market. Since its launch in 2008, the initiative has already contributed to progress towards a new generation of vehicles and faster-charging batteries with a longer driving range.


Electric vehicles are widely seen as the most serious alternative to fossil-fuel based road transport. All major car manufacturers are developing electric car prototypes. Countries like France, Germany, China and the USA have defined ambitious targets for the introduction of electric cars. In China, for example, 50% of new cars should be electric by 2020.

Moving on from fossil fuels

The drive to develop commercially viable electric cars is motivated by Europe's ambitions to:

  • reduce Europe's ongoing dependence on fossil fuels for passenger and freight transport – at a time when oil is becoming scarcer
  • cut greenhouse-gas emissions – fossil-fuel powered transport accounts for a quarter of the total
  • help the European automotive industry to maintain its technology edge.

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Driverless Heathrow pods demonstrate the unimaginable

London Heathrow airport has recently introduced driverless pods to connect Terminal 5 with its car parks, replacing a regular bus service. A hit with travellers and techies alike, these pods are being introduced on the road with support from the European Commission’s Framework Programme for research.

Europe’s transport system is getting increasingly congested, and it is important to preserve our mobility without sacrificing our quality of life. This is why the European Commission has dedicated € 11 million to the Citymobil project, which is developing completely automated city transport systems like the one in Heathrow. By using new intelligent transport technologies and clean fuels, urban vehicles can be made quieter, cleaner and even capable of moving on demand without a driver.

The Heathrow pods are one of the very first commercial applications of a driverless vehicle on the road (two other such projects can be found in the Netherlands and in Abu Dhabi, UAR). The reason for the rarity of these comfortable vehicles, according to the Citymobil researchers, is not a lack of technology, but rather 'a lack of imagination'. One of their main research findings is that sceptical citizens, as well as financial and regulatory hurdles, are giving many European cities cold feet to adopt new solutions.

To change this situation, Citymobil is running demonstrator projects in several European cities, mapping obstacles and developing a detailed protocol for evaluation. Project coordinator Jan van Dijke is convinced that it would be hard to find a better team than this diverse and truly European one, made up of 29 partners: ‘With operators, governments and technical specialists all aboard, the Citymobil evaluation protocol was designed to include just the right questions to get a good view of the experience of passengers, but also of those installing the system and anyone else involved.’ This type of joint expertise and wide range of perspectives is not easily found elsewhere and Mr Van Dijke considers Europe the continent best suited to making progress in urban mobility.

London Heathrow airport’s infrastructure resembles a city in many respects, so outcomes of extensive testing carried out by Citymobil can be extrapolated to understand more about the conditions for successful implementation. Since driverless pods are also significantly cheaper than high-speed rail or monorail, they are commercially attractive. Several airports and urban areas in the United States have already shown interest. This may eventually result in European growth and jobs in a niche of the market that has not previously been explored and create more comfortable urban areas. Meanwhile, the Citymobil team are eager to continue their demonstration projects to show Europeans the unimaginable.

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Innovation brings new road safety measures to market

A chest protection device that was developed following European research into improving ‘passive’ safety for road users is now available on the market.

It is often called the “the European paradox”: how to translate scientific advances into marketable innovations? The EU-funded project Aprosys, which looked into ways to improve road safety, demonstrates just some of the ways that the results of research can be developed into useful and commercial products.

Road is the least safe mode of transport in Europe. In the EU in 2008 there were 39 000 deaths and 1 600 000 injuries due to accidents on roads.  According to the European Road Safety Charter, one in three of us will be injured in a traffic accident during our lives – they are the most common causes of hospitalisation for people under 55.

Aprosys, funded through the EU’s Sixth Framework Programme, was an initiative to find ways of improving ‘passive’ safety for road users. This means through measures such as airbags, seatbelts and helmets, which can avoid or reduce injury in case of accident, rather than ‘active’ measures which are designed to try to avoid accidents altogether.

The project, which ran from April 2004 to March 2009, produced many interesting results – one of which is already commercially available as the ‘Thorax Pro’ from the Italian company Dainese, one of the project partners.

New motorcycle protection on the market

This chest and spine protector for motorcyclists arose from the project’s analysis of accidents and injuries. As the project coordinator, Margriet van Schijndel of TNO in the Netherlands explains, “the main injuries for motorcyclists are in the head, neck and chest. Well, the head is protected by motorcycle helmets but there was very little in the way of chest protection available.”

Aprosys carried out a series of simulation studies in order to understand how chest injuries occur – and then prototyped designs to find out the freedom of movement needed for protection to be wearable when riding a motorcycle.  A second phase of prototyping then focused on materials and impact tests using a crash dummy. At the end of the project, Dainese took the proof of concept version forward into production and patented the design.

Sometimes, however, the route to market is not so straight-forward.

Crash test dummies

Currently, different countries use different dummies for vehicle testing, leading to different crash standards, especially for side impacts. The International Standards Organisation (ISO) has therefore been developing global standards for side-impact crash dummies (WorldSID) since 1997. By providing car manufacturers and researchers with better simulations this should result in safer vehicle designs.

“Within Aprosys, we developed the so-called WorldSID 5th,” explains van Schijndel, “a standard dummy representing small, female passengers that can be used worldwide.”

A male dummy, the WorldSID 50th, was already going through the standardisation process with the Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP) before Aprosys started its work.

“The harmonisation process of the two dummies is now being done in parallel,” says van Schijndel, “which significantly speeds up things for our dummy,” and the team expects the dummy to go through legislative tests by the end of 2014.

Whether through commercial partners, patents, standardisation processes or product development work, we should see WorldSID and Thorax Pro, products of European innovation, making road travel safer in the years ahead.

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Research on the road to green cars

The European Parliament had an opportunity to see progress made in the European Green Car Initiative (EGCI) on 31 May 2011. Many of the automotive firms involved in EGCI projects exhibited their latest vehicles, while a workshop reported to MEPs of the Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) Committee.

Green Car technologies on display in Brussels. © Hywel Jones

The EGCI external link was launched as part of the European Economic Recovery Plan in 2008 in response to the financial and economic crisis. Its objective is to support R&D in the use of renewable and non-polluting energy in road transport. The main focus is on the electrification of mobility and road transport, although research topics include internal combustion engines, bio-methane use, and freight logistics.

The European Commissioner for Research and Innovation Máire Geoghegan-Quinn visited the exhibition, as did Information Society Commissioner Neelie Kroes, who emphasised the relevance of the Digital Agenda and the EGCI to each other. One of the talking points of the day was the ways in which ICT, through intelligence in cars and in transport systems, can help energy efficiency and make hybrid and electric vehicles more attractive and practical options for consumers.

In opening the workshop, Paul Rübig MEP,the Chair of the STOA Committee, said of the exhibition that it was “good to see how progress is being made.” Europe needs to be competitive as there is no guarantee of markets for European companies. “We are in a global race for leadership,” according to Rübig, as “other parts of the world are developing and investing a lot in science.”

Rübig also emphasised the industry’s role in addressing Europe’s sustainability. “Improvement of energy efficiency is today’s challenge,” he said. “The EGCI is one of the initiatives needed for this, as we need sustainable cars.”

The EGCI itself was presented by Liam Breslin, Head of Unit for Transport in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research. The automotive industry had been selected for support through the EGCI as it is “probably one of the most important industries in Europe,” he said.

Breslin pointed out the initiative’s success in rapidly mobilising one billion euro in funding, half provided by the Seventh Framework Programme. The EGCI moved from being announced in November 2008 to a first round of calls, worth 108 million euro, in July 2009.

Another achievement has been in coordinating joint calls in areas covered by the DGs for Research, Information Society, Transport, Energy, Environment and Enterprise. To make sure this money is focused effectively, the initiative is based around three key priorities: road and urban transport electrification, heavy-duty vehicles, and logistics and co-modality.

To guide the research roadmap, an Ad-Hoc Industrial Advisory Group works with the commission and industry stakeholders. These include the European Technology Platforms for smart systems integration ( EPOSS external link), intermodal transport (EIRAC), Smart Grids external link and the European Road Transport Research Advisory Council ( ERTRAC external link).

The ERTRAC Chair, Wolfgang Steiger of Volkswagen, introduced the EGCI’s research roadmap by saying, “this is not just a vision. It also includes concrete milestones for not just technology, but also framework conditions and standards where needed.”

Framework conditions do indeed present potential barriers to mass market take-up of electric vehicles. During a panel discussion on the factors that could put off consumers, Nevio Di Giusto of the Centro Ricerche Fiat and the EGCI project P-MOB external link said they would be “reliability and economic sustainability”.

Ian Faye of Bosch and the OpEneR external link project emphasised that network and usage models based on the internal combustion engine cannot simply be transferred to electric vehicles. “If a customer does not have easy access to power for charging, living in an apartment above ground level for instance, then they will not even think of buying an electric car.”

Horst Kornemann of Continental and the ID4EV external link project identified reliability as the key issue, whereas Heike Barlag of Siemens and the Green eMotion external link project said potential customers would be worried about convenience due to the long time needed to charge batteries. This still takes much longer to do than to fill a petrol tank, “so we must be able to provide other conveniences to compensate, such as extra road lanes or parking spaces only for electric vehicles, as well as exemption from congestion charges.”

These reflections from the industry participants in EGCI research projects seemed to endorse the initiative’s approach in including stakeholders form the regulatory and legislative arenas. All these barriers will need to be negotiated in turning advanced technology into sustainable transport.

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'TIFFE' outlines innovative vehicle temperature management system

The EU-funded 'TIFFE' project has developed a new vehicle with an innovative front-end design and advanced components for more efficient heat radiation and onboard cooling, and better fuel economy.

Front grill forces cooling air over heat-radiating panels (c) Tiffe

Staying competitive in the automobile manufacturing industry means delivering new products and systems that meet customer expectations. Today, that includes a high level of passenger comfort but also the best fuel efficiency.

With the EU-funded  TIFFE project external link, Italy's Centro Ricerche Fiat (CRF) has borrowed an idea from an unlikely source – refrigeration units like the one in your kitchen – to deliver a system that can save up to 15% on fuel while improving onboard vehicle temperature management for passengers.

TIFFE coordinator Carloandrea Malvicino explains, "We've applied a cooling strategy more typically seen in household refrigerators, using a limited quantity of refrigerant to deliver high efficiency and very low leakage."

How it works

Inside your home refrigerator, a special fluid passes through a network of tubes and radiators, drawing heat from the interior of the fridge and dumping it on the outside of the fridge. The TIFFE system does the same thing in a moving vehicle. A special fluid takes heat from inside the vehicle and radiates it into the outside air through panels on the exterior of the vehicle.

When the TIFFE vehicle is moving, and when high cooling power is needed, onrushing air from the front of the vehicle can be directed by an adjustable front grill to flow across these special heat-radiating panels, for example on the underside of the vehicle or in the vehicle's bonnet, increasing the rapidity of heat dissipation. When high cooling power is not needed, the grill can be closed to maintain a more aerodynamic profile.

Smaller, better and less expensive

Malvicino says the new system would cost less than a conventional system because of its high level of integration and modularity, and it will deliver a remarkable fuel economy increase of about 15% in real use.

European Commission project officer Maurizio Maggiore says, "The TIFFE project has come up with a novel way of improving a car's aerodynamics. One of the most interesting outcomes is the change to the front of the car, the grill, with its active shutter configuration."

Malvicino says he believes we can realistically expect to see vehicles featuring the complete TIFFE system on the market by around 2015, though he warns this is a rough estimation and will depend on progress made on some remaining technical issues. Some components, however, might reach production even earlier.

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Going beyond ‘niche’: innovative public transport for the masses

The EU-supported ‘Niches+’ project recently held its final conference, which included the prize ceremony for the Osmose Awards, honouring local and regional authorities that have introduced new measures for sustainable urban transport.

Novel urban mobility schemes © Niches+

Getting around is a fact of life for any of us living in or visiting a city. When combined with issues of social exclusion and environmental impact, it’s a problem in need of innovative solutions. Launched in March 2008,  Niches+ external link, a ‘Coordination and support action’ funded under the EU’s Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7), studied and promoted 12 innovative urban transport concepts in different thematic areas.

“The aim was to encourage the uptake of new transport solutions, from niche status to mainstream acceptance,” explains Peter Staelens, Niches+ dissemination leader at the European cities network  Polis external link.

The project studied at a variety of exciting ideas:

  • Automated and space-efficient group and personal rapid transit systems;
  • Car-sharing schemes using electric vehicles;
  • Passenger-friendly interchanges to help people move more efficiently between different transport modes, including bicycles;
  • Information, training and planning schemes to improve public transport for socially-excluded individuals and communities.

A team of ‘champions’

Project partners also developed plans for the introduction of selected innovations with the local and regional authorities of six ‘Champion cities’ in France, Ireland, Norway, Spain and the UK. Each of these authorities organised national seminars and wrote a set of ‘Guidelines for implementers’ to promote similar solutions in other European cities.

During the project’s final conference, in April 2011, five European cities were presented with an ' Osmose Award external link '. These are prizes for innovative approaches in local traffic management, especially promising new initiatives that today still occupy a ‘niche’ position but clearly have the potential to become mainstream urban transport policy.

“The awarded cities are all innovative forerunners in their field,” says Patrick Mercier-Handisyde, the European Commission’s Project Officer for Niches+.

For example, Madrid won an award for its Transport Interchanges Plan – an ambitious and possibly unique strategy to create interchange stations for each of the seven main highways that connect the surrounding region with the city. These will link metropolitan and urban bus lines, the underground network, and long-distance and commuter train lines. San Sebastián was also selected for its scheme to operate additional minibus lines and shuttle taxis to provide access to public transport for the 50% of users who live in the hilly areas outside the city.

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'TelliBox' delivers better system for intermodal freight transport

The EU-funded TelliBox project has optimised available loading space in freight vehicles, promising more efficient transport of goods.

A conventional freight container © Peter Gutierrez
Conventional freight
containers are not always
filled to capacity
© Peter Gutierrez

The transport industry is continuously looking for ways to increase the useable cargo capacity of vehicles and vessels, within the bounds of standards and requirements concerning maximum dimensions and safety.

"The loading capacity of conventional trucks is not always optimised for freight handling," explains Sebastian Jursch of the Rheinisch Westfaelische Technische Hochschule in Aachen, Germany. "For example: a truck loaded with regular-sized pallets can normally only be filled up to 98% of its capacity. That means just 2% is wasted, but if you add up that 2% over thousands of trips, it can have a huge economic impact."

Optimising loading space

Funded by the European Commission, the TelliBox project, which Jursch coordinates, is working on ways to optimise available loading space in freight vehicles. "We have developed a new intermodal loading unit," says Jursch, "the 'MegaSwapBox', and an adaptable chassis so that we can use it with trucks on the road." The box offers a maximum cargo capacity of 100 cubic metres and has an internal height of three metres. It is stackable and can be loaded from three sides.

"With a strong orientation towards common standards and norms, our new intermodal loading unit (ILU) offers high interoperability and easy application in transport while using the existing handling equipment and facilities." Prototype demonstration trials carried out by the project showed that the ILU and chassis can be used successfully in commercial trimodal transport, including road and rail, and inland and short-sea waterborne transport modes.

In addition, the new ILU meets other special requirements concerning stackability, portability from the top, the placement of doors on three sides, and it has new security features to protect against pilferage.

Promising market potential

Jursch says the new TelliBox loading units can increase the load factor by as much as 25%, compared to 40-foot-high cube type freight containers. And the fact that the units can be loaded from three sides will speed up the process of loading.

"A number of vehicle manufacturers have shown great interest in the outcome of our work," says Jursch, "and we have high expectations about the potential market for our system. We have already started preliminary marketing activities and we are now considering offering the new ILU in a variety of models to suit specific purposes, given the variety of applications served by loading units and the different needs and resources of customers and users. We are also focusing on modularisation, which we believe will make this system even more competitive."

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'Beauty' project developing better biofuel engine

An EU-funded collaboration between universities and industry is overcoming limitations in current technologies to develop new bioethanol engines.

Cars and trees © Peter Gutierrez
Research for 'greener' road transport
© Peter Gutierrez

Driven by the need for more sustainable and less polluting sources of energy, the European Union is now more determined than ever to increase the use of renewable fuels. In June 2009, the EU’s  Renewable Energyexternal link and  Fuel Quality Directives set binding targets for renewable energies in the transport sector for the first time, and linked them to greenhouse gas reduction targets.

“Normal commercial gasoline can contain up to 7% ethanol by volume," explains Andrea Gerini of Centro Ricerche Fiat. "These blends are quite easy to handle in modern engine platforms," he says, "but the level of bioethanol content is still quite low.”

Gerini is coordinator of the EU-funded 'Beauty' project ('Bio-Ethanol engine for advanced urban transport by light commercial and heavy-duty captive fleets'), aimed at developing new engines, combustion technologies and fuels that will allow a substantial increase in the use of biofuels.

"Current engine technologies do not allow bioethanol to be used to its full potential, as operations with pure gasoline or low bioethanol content blends do not provide the possibility of increasing the engine’s compression ratio,” explains Gerini.

The overall target of the project is to increase by 10% the efficiency of powertrains, ensuring the lowest level of emissions and maintaining the driveability and performance of conventional fuel engines, including 'cold startability' capabilities.

Promising results, and more questions

“We have not yet completed our experiments but we are obtaining some very interesting results," says Gerini, "confirming the possibility of developing advanced internal combustion engines dedicated to bioethanol. With a spark ignited approach and also with a Diesel approach we have succeeded in using a high percentage of ethanol, with a high conversion efficiency and lower fuel consumption, resulting in fewer CO2 emissions.”

There is still a long way to go before bioethanol becomes a serious option for the wider transport industry. For one thing, there simply isn’t enough bioethanol available at present and, except in Brazil, the cost of producing the renewable fuel is still 1.5 to 2 times higher than the cost of producing gasoline.

And there are other obstacles, not least the ethical and political dilemma involved in using land to grow biofuels rather than food. Still, Gerini sees markets for renewable fuels growing as second generation biofuels are developed.

"It is now up to the European Union and car manufacturers to take the strategic decision to scale up production of this kind of technology, depending on future market opportunities," he says. "Meanwhile, Beauty is providing the vital technical information needed to better understand the potential impact of these new technologies."

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'CityMove' looks to future of urban freight

With the majority of the population in Europe now living in urban areas and the bulk of industrial production being dispatched to these areas, the demand for freight transport in cities is at an all-time high.

Delivery truck in narrow street © Peter Gutierrez
Freight delivery in Europe's
narrow city streets can be a challenge
© Peter Gutierrez

The urban environment features high population densities and high consumption of goods and services. Here, traffic infrastructure and the possibilities for its extension are limited, while deliveries tend to be made in small loads and in frequent trips, resulting in many vehicle kilometres.

"Today, most transport activities are taking place in our cities," says Volkswagen's Jürgen Leohold. "Around the globe, more and more people are leaving their rural areas and settling in urban zones. Here in Europe we are far ahead of many other parts of the world in this 'rural-to-urban' shift."

Integrating, coordinating, improving

One EU-funded project that is responding to changing living patterns is 'CityMove'external link. Launched in January 2010, the project is investigating integrated vehicle solutions for flexible, cleaner and more efficient goods transportation.

“Freight transport logistics has an essential urban dimension. Distribution in urban conurbations requires efficient interfaces between truck deliveries over longer distances and distribution to the final destination over shorter distances. In addition, the distribution process between production centres and customers inside an urban area needs to be efficient and clean… The development of these solutions requires the involvement of all stakeholders.”

From the European Commission's 2007 Green Paper 'Towards a new culture for urban mobility'external link

"We are looking towards the future," affirms CityMove coordinator Gianfranco Burzio of Centro Ricerche Fiat. Speaking at a recent meeting organised by EUCARexternal link in Brussels, Burzio described a number of possible scenarios, including the use of modular vehicles. "We are thinking in terms of flexible designs involving chassis that can receive interchangeable load units or boxes. Obviously this kind of operation requires the best possible logistics systems to ensure the coordination of movements. We have to approach this problem in a holistic way, and that's exactly what we are doing."

Some of the issues being considered by CityMove:

EUCAR conference © Peter Gutierrez
CityMove was featured at the
EUCAR event in Brussels
© Peter Gutierrez
  • New vehicle architectures, with optimised layout to reduce congestion and facilitate movements in narrow city streets.
  • Compatible and interoperable vehicle bodies and goods containers.
  • Special attention to CO2 emissions and fuel consumption, in line with the Kyoto Protocol.

Also speaking at the EUCAR event, Leohold praised the work being undertaken by CityMove and similar EU research projects. "We cannot solve the problems of urban transport simply by putting more vehicles on the road," he said. "We have to consider a diversity of solutions, including improved conventional vehicles but also entirely new designs."

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Making progress on public transport accessibility

EU-funded research projects, including 'Mediate' and 'Access2All' are finding new ways to get the disabled, elderly and other 'transport vulnerable' citizens into the public transport system. In doing so, they are making it easier for everyone to enjoy more efficient mobility.

London underground © Peter Gutierrez
London hosts transport
accessibility projects
© Peter Gutierrez

"We are bringing together the experiences of the whole range of users," says  CERTH/HITexternal link 's Evangelos Bekiaris, coordinator of the Mediate project. "This includes the disabled but also the perfectly able-bodied." Mediateexternal link's aim is to establish a common European methodology for measuring accessibility to public transport and to identify 'good practices'. "We can call them 'good practices' or 'best practices', but we are also concerned with 'worst practices'," Bekiaris admits. "The point is that all of us can do better by coming together and comparing, exchanging ideas."

Unique problems and solutions

Meanwhile, the Access2Allexternal link project is working to deliver guidelines and policy recommendations based on a wide-ranging assessment of work towards accessibility across Europe. Project coordinator Tone Øderud of Norway's  SINTEFexternal link says it's important to consider the unique problems faced by cities in different regions. "In my country we have to deal with icy conditions and even problems related to local vegetation, like tree leaves making it difficult to navigate tramway stops."

Tone Øderud © Peter Gutierrez
Tone Øderud
© Peter Gutierrez

At a joint conference in London in November 2010, the Mediate and Access2All projects brought together public mobility players from cities across Europe. London's Deputy Mayor Richard Barnes reminded the participants of the all-encompassing nature of the challenge. "This is about blind people and the hard of hearing, about elderly citizens who may have trouble walking and people in wheelchairs, but it is also about the mother with two kids in a buggy and the Christmas shopper with a load of bags to carry home."

Political will

Member of the European Parliament and Vice Chair of the Human Rights Subcommittee Richard Howitt affirmed, "The political will to see better access to public transport is there, and not just at the European level." Here, he referenced progress on the United Nations' Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

What is the CRPD?

Parties to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilitiesexternal link are required to promote, protect, and ensure the full enjoyment of human rights by persons with disabilities and ensure that they enjoy full equality under the law. Following ratification by the 20th party, the CRPD came into force on 3 May 2008. As of September 2010, it had 147 signatories and 94 parties.

Representing the European Commission, Patrick Mercier-Handisyde agreed with Howitt. He outlined a series of EU-funded programmes aimed at improving public transport. "Accessibility remains a clear priority for us, and we will continue to provide support for the work of important initiatives like Mediate and Access2All."

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New rail driver's cab points way to future

The EU-funded 'EUDDplus' project has achieved new milestones on the way to the safer and more standardised rail transport driver's cab of the future.

EUDDplus at InnoTrans © Peter Crawley
EUDDplus at InnoTrans
© Peter Crawley

" EUDDplus marks the end of a period of nearly twelve years of intensive pre-competitive research and development work," explains Lutz Hübner of Germany's TSB Innovationsagentur. "The result is major progress towards a standardised European driver's desk, featuring a highly ergonomic functional arrangement."

Improving safety is a major priority behind the development of a new train driver’s desk. At the same time, equipment suppliers who currently must develop unique solutions for each customer will profit from ‘economies of scale’, wherein driver’s cabs are upgraded but most importantly standardised across Europe.

The EUDDplus consortium includes 17 partners from eight European countries, representing operators, rail transport manufacturers and service providers, as well as academic researchers. Partners say the broad international nature of the group reflects the level of interest in rail standardisation on the pan-European level.

"The intention is to produce a new European standard, defining general design rules for drivers cabs," says Hübner, "with the field of vision looking forward, including the positioning of any signals needing to be considered, as well as the assessment procedures for the basic layout and accessibility of equipment and operating elements."

Getting the message to users

A mock-up of the new driver's cab at the recent InnoTrans exhibition in Berlin included a realistic video presentation on a windscreen, simulating the view from a real cabin. "The contacts we made during InnoTrans regarding EUDDplus and also with regard to other European projects we are involved in were very positive," says Hübner. "Clearly this is a project that has the industry talking."

Based on the results of EUDDplus, along with previous EU projects 'EUDD' and 'MODTRAIN/EUCAB', the International Union of Railways ( UICexternal link) and the Union des Industries Ferroviaires Européennes ( UNIFEexternal link) have now published a joint 'Technical Recommendation for Driver Machine Interfaces'. "The results of EUDDplus are also having a very considerable impact on the activities of the competent working body, CEN/TC 256/WG 37, at the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN)," adds Hübner.

Many obstacles still stand in the way of European cross-border railway traffic, including a mixed bag of power supply systems, signalling, operational rules and, in some cases, different rail gauges. But European Commission officials believe EUDDplus and similar projects are moving the Union in the right direction, providing clear guidelines for the kind of interchangeable systems that will form the basis of the next generation of intercity trains and universal locomotives.


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EU-funded fuel cell vehicle performs like conventional car

The HyTRAN vehicle is an electric prototype equipped with a complete fuel cell system. Essentially a modified Fiat Panda, it can accelerate from 0 to 100 kph in just 13 seconds.

Fiat's HyTRAN Panda © HyTRAN
Fiat's HyTRAN Panda

Fuel cells, as an efficient conversion technology, and hydrogen, as a clean energy carrier, have the potential to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions as well as our dependence on hydrocarbons, and to contribute to economic growth. In the automotive sector, the European Union is supporting work towards breakthrough technologies that would enable the industry to bring cleaner fuel cell vehicles to the mass market.

"Our HyTRAN Panda performs quite similarly to a normal production Panda," explains Alessandro Pozzato of  Centro Ricerche Fiatexternal link. "It accelerates quickly and has a top speed of about 130 kmh."

Outstanding specifications

Funded under the EU Research framework Programme, HyTRAN has achieved important advances in terms of energy storage and refuelling time. Its punchy performance is thanks to a highly efficient and noiseless electric motor, "but its most critical feature", says Pozzato, "is the complete absence of pollutant emissions. And it can travel 250 to 300 kilometres on a single charge, much farther than other electric vehicles. Our refuelling time is also very short – about five minutes."

The HyTRAN prototype is equipped with a number of innovative new components and subsystems, including:

  • Traction electric motor and inverter
  • Air compressor
  • Stack for power generation
  • Primary cooling pump
  • Carbon fibre storage tank
  • Innovative vehicle management and control system

The vehicle has been successfully demonstrated, notably at the 2010 Bibendum Challenge in Brazil. "Bibendum is an important worldwide event," explains Pozzato, "We drove a 300-kilometre route in Rio de Janeiro and its surroundings. And the event also included a special track session aimed at evaluating handling and fuel consumption."

What are we waiting for?

As with other emerging alternative energy technologies, before fuel cells and hydrogen can become competitive vis-à-vis conventional fuels, a great amount of investment is still needed, not only in R&D but also in transport, storage and refuelling infrastructure.

"The cost of producing this vehicle is prohibitive, but that would be expected to change with higher production numbers," says Pozzato. "The major limiting factor right now is that the supply network for recharging is not yet developed."

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First ever 'naturalistic' study to monitor motorbike drivers

The EU-funded '2BESAFE' project will carry out a groundbreaking study of motorbike and scooter driver behaviour, known to be a major contributing factor in two-wheeler crashes.

EU officials and bikers at 2BESAFE workshop in Brussels © Peter Gutierrez
Meeting of minds at 2BESAFE workshop
© Peter Gutierrez

Statistics show that powered two-wheeler users, such as motorbike and scooter drivers, are increasingly 'over-represented' in fatal crashes. According to the OECD/ECMT International Road Accident Database, in 2002, they comprised 11.3% of all road fatalities in European countries. By 2005, that figure had increased to 13.4%.

The main cause of accidents with powered two-wheelers is the failure of other drivers to perceive them, but their own errors are also a contributing factor in many crashes. To learn more about why accidents happen, the 2BESAFE project will observe rider behaviour on powered two-wheelers fitted with special equipment and sensors, in the UK, France, Italy and Greece.

Specially fitted motorbikes

Speaking at a recent 2BESAFE workshop in Brussels, Alistair Weare of the UK's Transportation Research Laboratory ( TRLexternal link) explained, "We are using typical two-wheelers, depending on the partner country. So, for example, in Italy the test vehicle will be a scooter, while in the UK, France and Greece we are using typical 1000cc sports bikes."

The 2BESAFE workshop © Peter Gutierrez
2BESAFE in Brussels
© Peter Gutierrez

Miniature sensors will record throttle and accelerometer position, handlebar rotation, actioning of hand and foot brake levers, foot peg pressure and turn signal operation. In addition, a gyroscope and GPS equipment will record position and orientation, and a video camera will record the visual context.

All instruments will be installed discretely, said Weare. "The 'hiding' of our sensors has been a priority, to ensure that other road users behave normally when they see the bike. Nor should the rider himself be aware of the sensors as he drives. We want to maintain normal handling and safety. The riders will be observed for six weeks, during which we hope they will forget that they're being watched."

A groundbreaking study

Stéphane Espié © Peter Gutierrez
2BESFAE coordinator Stéphane Espié
© Peter Gutierrez

The project's scientific coordinator, Stéphane Espié, of the French National Institute for Transport and Safety Research ( INRETSexternal link), said, "This is a first-time-ever observational study and we have faced some big challenges in getting it underway, including many ethical and legal issues. We do not expect to solve all of the problems around motorcycle safety. We will not carry out every possible analysis of the data, but we do expect to learn and to learn a lot."

George Yannis of the National Technical University of Athens, one of the Greek 2BESAFE partners, is quick to add, "This study is going to generate a huge amount of raw data. This will remain with us. It will be a unique and extremely valuable database that we and others can continue to exploit for many years to come."

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Innovative monitoring for road transport safety

The EU-funded 'ASSET-Road' project has opened a new test site on the A8 Salzburg-Munich motorway in Germany. The objective is to reduce the number of serious road accidents, especially those linked to heavy goods transport.

Police traffic check
Police checking traffic on Bavarian motorway
© ASSET-Road

At a time of increasing vehicle registration, increasing traffic density, and limited road space, traffic monitoring has become an essential element for efficient and safer road transport. The growth of heavy goods transport in particular, and the increasing share of transit traffic on motorways have had a real impact on the number of accidents resulting in injuries or fatalities.

Stiff competition in the freight transport sector means more and more lorries are overloaded while maintenance can be haphazard. And, under increasing cost pressures, some drivers still choose not to observe regulations concerning driving and rest periods, and speed limits.

The ASSET-Road project is developing new sensors and automated methods to detect lorry and passenger car offences.

Ludger Rogge
Ludger Rogge
© ASSET-Road

Speaking at the ASSET-Road test site opening in Germany, Ludger Rogge, Project Officer at the European Commission’s Research Directorate-General, said, "With a total budget of more than €8 million and bringing together 19 partners from 10 different EU countries, as well as from Tanzania and India, ASSET-Road is one of the most important 'road safety' projects currently being funded under EU's Seventh Research Framework Programme.

"In contrast to many other research projects, which focus on specific areas of road safety research, ASSET-Road is taking a holistic approach, integrating all of the main transport elements, including the driver, the vehicle, infrastructure and control systems."

Improving the current situation

Today, traffic speed monitoring is typically carried out by automated stationary systems, i.e. speed sensors fitted to traffic signs and other road infrastructure. In addition, mobile units employing light barriers or radar sensors are often used. Enforcing authorities inform road users of their offences and issue fines.

Meanwhile, the inspection of heavy goods transporters involves mobile checks in free-flowing traffic and inspection of conspicuous vehicles. On Bavarian motorways, these checks are carried out by traffic police. They are time-consuming and staff-intensive and are therefore quite limited in terms of traffic coverage.

ASSET-Road integrates already available technologies to detect offences automatically, representing an enormous step forward compared to current practice.

ASSET-Road sensor below lorry
Lorry passes over ASSET-Road sensor (yellow device)
© ASSET-Road

A new ASSET-Road test site has been set up on the federal A8 motorway between the Inntaldreieck motorway interchange and the Bavarian capital of Munich. Its purpose is to test new sensors and automated methods for detecting truck and passenger car offences.

At the site, a high-speed weigh-in-motion (WIM) system measures the weight of vehicles or individual axles without their needing to stop. In case of overload, a lateral freeze-frame picture of the vehicle is recorded, allowing its identification. This image and the related data are then automatically transmitted to a computer at a control station for further processing.

A multifaceted detection system

In the near future, explains ASSET-Road project coordinator Walter Maibach, road vehicles will be equipped with radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags, in addition to their conventional licence plates. This means that, in case of an offence, details necessary for vehicle identification will be automatically readable while the vehicle is still in motion.

Walter Maibach
Walter Maibach
© ASSET-Road

To test this detection method, the ASSET-Road test site also includes RFID readers, together with the WIM sensors, which means overloaded vehicles can be immediately and automatically identified while in motion. Furthermore, special cameras and 3D equipment monitor for other possible offences, including inappropriate underrun (the distance between the back of a lorry and the rear of the rearmost tyres), improper driving behaviour such as tailgating and speeding, or prohibited overtaking.

Based on 3D pictures, the computer can calculate vehicle speed, vehicle height and the distance between vehicles.

If an offence is suspected, an enforcement officer positioned at a sorting point diverts the vehicle in question off the motorway and into an inspection facility in order to verify the suspected offence. Here, vehicle weight is checked, as well as the state of brakes, tyres and bearings, by means of a subsurface infrared camera that measure tiny differences in temperature.

Important initiative

All in all, says Maibach, the ASSET-Road project constitutes a milestone in the improvement of traffic safety and the protection of road infrastructure.

Rogge agrees: "The innovative technologies in the areas of dynamic traffic management and automated enforcement as developed by ASSET Road, including current and upcoming ICT and automated procedures, can have a major impact on traffic management and above all on road safety in Europe, particularly for heavy goods vehicles. These technologies can help to improve the behaviour of road users and harmonise traffic, reducing speeding, minimising speed variation and increasing risk awareness of the drivers."

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Making road transport more intelligent

A key contributor to this year's Transport Research Arena (TRA) Conference, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Information Society and Media (DG INFSO) works to develop and deploy applications based on information and communication technologies (ICTs) for the transport sector.

Driver's point of view
DG INFSO for smarter vehicles
© Peter Gutierrez

ICTs can warn drivers of potentially dangerous situations, take over part of the control over a car, or communicate with emergency services. Research into this kind of technology is conducted under the so-called 'Intelligent Car Initiative'.

Working together on safer roads

The Intelligent Car Initiative works with input from car manufacturers, road operators, telecom companies, road traffic service providers, all of whom meet together within the  eSafety Forum, a co-operative body that links the European automotive industry and the Commission.

Established in 2003, the eSafety Forum currently consists of about 200 members, representing all major parties with an interest in road safety. Their objective is to arrive at consensus through the exchange of information and open debate.

eCall to the rescue

An example of how cars can be made more intelligent is the eCall device. After a serious accident, the eCall device automatically calls rescue services and transmits crash site location data, thus significantly cutting rescue services’ response time. Calls can also be made manually, at the push of a button.

In addition to the automatic data link, a voice connection is also established between the vehicle and the rescue centre. This way, any car occupant capable of answering questions can provide additional details on the accident.

Car accident
ICTs can help drivers in
© Peter Gutierrez

Research towards smarter, safer and cleaner vehicles

The long-term objective of the  Intelligent Car Initiative is smarter, safer and greener road transport. Achieving this requires sustained research efforts. Intelligent Car therefore works to promote co-operative research in Intelligent Vehicle Systems (IVSs) and helps to push forward the uptake and application of real research results.

Under the EU research framework programme, scientific activities are supported in the following areas:

  • The next generation of Driver Assistance Systems, aimed at enhancing performance, reliability and security;
  • Preventive safety, focusing on technologies for accident avoidance;
  • Co-operative systems based on vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication;
  • Real time travel and traffic information (RTTI) and intermodal transport;
  • Creating a comprehensive, technical and socio-economic programme to assess the impact of IVSs on driver behaviour and driving dynamics, based on large-scale field operational tests.

Bringing results to market

While some IVSs have already been present in cars for quite some time, uptake in other cases remains limited. Electronic Stability Control systems (ESCs), for instance, computerised technologies that improve vehicle safety by detecting and minimising skidding, have been on the market for more than ten years, but they are only installed in a small percentage of all passenger cars, and in ess than half of all new cars. For other IVSs, e.g. Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), the numbers are even lower.

Consumer research reveals that low market uptake and penetration can be explained in large part by the fact that drivers and policy makers simply don’t know about the benefits of these systems, or how they work. Information dissemination to a wide audience is therefore an important third field of activity for the Intelligent Car Initiative.

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Weighing up the results of EU-funded rail research

The ERRAC ROADMAP project is working to promote a more systematic and focused approach to the use of rail transport sector resources. In a recent workshop in Brussels, participants discussed lessons learned from past research projects, with a view to enhancing real market uptake of results.

The ERRAC ROADMAP workshop © Peter Gutierrez
The ERRAC ROADMAP workshop
© Peter Gutierrez

The European Rail Research Advisory Council ( ERRACexternal link) is charged with the development of a concrete and detailed strategy for common European research activities in the rail transport sector. To this end, the ERRAC ROADMAP project is producing a step-by-step guide to help reach the goals presented in ERRAC's Strategic Rail Research Agenda.

"I believe we all love our jobs," said Luisa Velardi of  Trenitaliaexternal link. "We all love research. But ERRAC is not really about research, it's about results. Our Research is only useful if we see the results being taken up in the market." The ERRAC ROADMAP evaluation process, she explained, is therefore based on market uptake, not on the quality of the work done.

Evaluating innovation

Over the past years, a great number of rail research projects have been funded by the European Commission, representing billions of Euros of investment. Yet the question remains as to how much of this research has actually been useful or relevant. It is clear that otherwise valuable research results are sometimes lost (forgotten) and some work is repetitive or redundant.

"At some point we need to stop and think, evaluate and decide if we are going in the right direction," says Velardi. "We want to develop rail research projects that can guarantee concrete market uptake, offering real improvements and solutions for the future rail industry."

ERRAC ROADMAP carried out an analysis of finished project results and deliverables, together with interviews of project participants and stakeholders. Grades were assigned in terms of market uptake, as follows:

  • Strong market uptake – clear evidence of use of products, processes, dissemination of knowledge, tools etc., in several countries. Need for additional projects but only in complementary areas.
  • Medium market uptake – some evidence of use of products and processes, limited dissemination of knowledge, tools etc., in a few countries. Follow-up projects may be necessary and the results might eventually be used more in the future.
  • Weak market uptake – no known use of products, processes, dissemination of knowledge, tools etc. No follow up project unless the reason for the failure of market uptake is clearly understood.

Of the projects evaluated, said Velardi, 13% showed strong market uptake, 7% were medium, and 24% were judged weak.

"No market uptake means money wasted, public money wasted. But it is also a waste of our intellectual capacity, of time and other resources," she said. "And it is not rewarding on personal and professional levels for individual researchers."

Cases: weak, strong and why

GARGOSPEED loading platform © Newrail
GARGOSPEED – an innovative
project that got lost in
the shuffle
© Newrail

At the workshop in Brussels,  Newrailexternal link 's Mark Robinson had the unenviable task of presenting his 'weak' project, 'CARGOSPEED', an interesting and very innovative research initiative that had little impact in the real world.

'On one level, CARGOSPEED was very much a success," said Robinson. "It produced real results, a working system for transferring freight to and from trains and lorries. Unfortunately, the market uptake was in fact very poor."

The CARGOSPEED system is ingenious: a train of wagons with removable floors arrives at a terminal and stops between two raised platforms; a hydraulic 'pop-up' column rises from a pit between the rails, raising and then rotating the wagon floor, allowing a lorry to drive onto it from one side, detach its trailer and then drive off on the other side. The wagon floor is then rotated back into position and the train can depart. The process is reversed for unloading. With multiple wells and pop-up columns serving several wagons on the same train, several lorries can deposit or retrieve trailers at once, greatly reducing the amount of time needed to load and unload freight.

"The reason we have seen no market uptake," says Robinson, "is that we simply didn't have a customer. The system works, lorry drivers say they would use it, freight transporters say they would use it, but the parties who could actually put it into practice, that is to say the terminals, just do not want to undertake the investment."

The lesson learned: make sure you are addressing a real and pressing need in the rail market and make sure you include real users, i.e. 'customers', as part of the project consortium, parties that will use the results.

On the other hand

Counterbalancing the CARGOSPEED story, George Kotsikos, also of Newrail, delivered a positive example. The 'ALJOIN' project, which carried out studies of aluminium use in train wagons, received a 'strong market uptake' rating.

"Aluminium alloys are now in widespread use for rail vehicle construction," explained Kotsikos. "However, in collisions involving aluminium rail coaches, like the one we saw here in Belgium just recently, it has been observed that some of the longitudinal seam welds have fractured for several metres beyond the zone of severe damage, while the panels themselves are generally left intact without significant distortion."

ALJOIN partners realised that designers needed better data to assess this fracture phenomenon. In addition, there was a real need for innovation in the use of joining techniques and joint design to improve the performance of aluminium vehicles under crash conditions.

George Kotsikos © Peter Gutierrez
George Kotsikos
© Peter Gutierrez

"We addressed a specific technical problem," said Kotsikos. "We had a clearly defined goal, we had a logical array of partners, and the division of tasks among the partners was sensible and coherent."

Some of the fundamental data generated during the ALJOIN project have had far-reaching effects indeed, having leading to new Europe-wide legislation on train wagon design and construction; all new wagons now produced in Europe must incorporate ALJOIN design innovations. The ultimate result, says Kotsikos, will be greater survivability of severe rail accidents.

In closing…

After the case studies, Chris Brown of the UK Department for Transport delivered a presentation on how to embed market uptake in research projects. This was followed by an open discussion on lessons learned, suggestions and propositions for more successful research projects.

Velardi said ERRAC ROADMAP partners hope their work will prove valuable to the European Commission when it decides whether or not to support new rail transport projects. "It must be a priority to consider both the potential and likely impacts of publicly funded research," she concluded.

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SARTRE project presents exciting new road transport scheme

The EU-funded 'SARTRE' project is developing and testing new technologies to enable vehicles to travel together safely in 'road trains' on unmodified public motorways.

Motorway traffic © Peter Gutierrez
SARTRE tackles motorway traffic
© Peter Gutierrez

" SARTREexternal link brings together a unique mix of technologies, skills and expertise from European industry and academia, with the aim of developing safe and environmentally efficient road trains,” explains Tom Robinson, SARTRE project coordinator of Ricardo UK Ltd. “By working at vehicle level, SARTRE aims to realise some potentially very significant safety and environmental benefits without having to invest in changes to road infrastructure."

Robinson says the project's ultimate aim is to encourage a step change in personal transport usage. Under this innovative scheme, a professional driver in a leading vehicle will take responsibility for a 'platoon'. Following vehicles will operate in a semi-autonomous control mode, allowing their drivers to do other things such as operate phones, read books, eat or watch movies.

The future, now

“Many people feel this sounds like Utopia," admits Erik Coelingh, technical director of Active Safety Functions at Volvo Cars. "However, this type of autonomous driving doesn’t require any hocus-pocus technology, and no investment in infrastructure." Instead, he explains, the emphasis is on adapting existing technologies.

Each platoon will have a lead vehicle that drives completely normally. The driver of the lead vehicle would ideally be highly experienced and thoroughly familiar with the route. This lead vehicle could be a taxi, a bus or a truck. A platoon will consist of six to eight following vehicles. A driver in a following vehicle approaching his destination takes over control of his vehicle and leaves the convoy by exiting off to the side. Other vehicles in the platoon close the gap and continue on their way.

Crucially, the project will include a comprehensive testing programme to meet high safety demands.

SARTRE project partners say concrete benefits are to include:

  • Increased safety; following drivers in the convoy can get on with other business while on the road, for instance when driving to or from work.
  • Reduced environmental impact – lower fuel consumption compared with cars being driven individually; because they are close to each other, air drag is significantly lower. Energy savings is expected to be around 20%.
  • More efficient use of road capacity.

Sooner than you think

SARTRE video link © SARTRE project
Watch the SARTRE 'Film clip'external link
© SARTRE project

The first cars to be equipped with the new SARTRE system could appear on test tracks as early as 2011. The vehicles will be fitted out with a navigation system and a transmitter/receiver unit that communicates with a lead vehicle.

Key initial tasks for the project include analysis of platooning strategies and human behaviour, and definition of system components and modules and how they are connected on each vehicle. As the system will be completely contained within the cars, there will be no need to modify existing road network infrastructure.

The SARTRE project ('Safe Road Trains for the Environment'), is supported under the European Commission's Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7). Other partners include Spain's Idiada and Robotiker-Tecnalia, Germany's Institut für Kraftfahrwesen Aachen, and Volvo's SP Technical Research Institute in Sweden.

Read moreexternal link

Research projects look at transport and climate change

Two new EU-funded projects have set out to examine the effects of changing weather patterns on transport in Europe. 'EWENT' and 'WEATHER' will carry out in-depth analyses, assess the hazards and propose response strategies.

Road closed sign
Protecting vulnerable transport systems

"The risks of changing weather patterns may not be as dramatic as presented in some Hollywood movies," says European Commission Project Officer Karsten Krause, "but the damage caused by extreme weather events, like forest fires, heat waves and winter storms is increasing, and transport could be one of the worst affected sectors in Europe."

In its Political Guidelines issued in September 2009, the Commission highlighted the need to 'decarbonise' the transport sector and to begin the process of adapting to climate change. "What we want to know," says Krause, "is what are the consequences for transport? How can we plan for unavoidable climate change? What lessons have we learned from recent extreme weather events and how can we prepare for the next ones?"

To answer these and other questions, two recently launched small-scale (less than €1.5m) collaborative EU projects have brought together transport researchers and consultants, economists and meteorologists, emergency response agencies and representatives of the financial and insurance sectors. In addition, non-Europen experts and the UN's World Metereological Organisation will bringe a global perspective to the table.


The WEATHER project ('Weather Extremes: Assessment of impacts on Transport Systems and Hazards for European Regions'), coordinated by Germany's  Fraunhoferexternal link -ISI, will consider the impact of extreme weather events on the economy and society in general, and on European transport systems in particular. Partners will develop broad climate change scenarios and then break them down into specific regional models.

WEATHER will also analyse the effects on business and civil society and the interactions between transport and other sectors, with the help of economic growth models. Transport system vulnerabilities will be assessed mode-by-mode, including infrastructure, operations and intermodal systems.

A particular goal of the project will be to quantify expected damage, emergency and adaptation costs and the potential benefits of improved emergency management and adaptation. The WEATHER project will recommend new measures and identify policy options for their implementation. Importantly, it will also highlight the potential competitive advantage for an innovative European industry ready to lead the way in emergency management technologies.

Concrete deliverables will include a wide-ranging programme of information dissemination, featuring the publication of high-level interviews, cost accounting models and case studies, and the organisation of workshops.


The EWENT project (Extreme Weather impacts on European Networks of Transport), coordinated by Finland's  VTTexternal link, will take a generic risk management approach, starting with the identification of hazardous extreme weather phenomena, and following up with impact assessments and recommended mitigation and risk control measures.

Specifically, EWENT will:

  • Develop scenarios identifying extreme weather-related hazards for EU transportation systems.
  • Estimate the probabilities associated with these harmful scenarios.
  • Estimate and monetise the consequences of extreme weather events on transport infrastructure, on operations and on supply chains and mobility.
  • Evaluate measures and options for negative impact reduction, control and monitoring, over the short and long terms.
  • Analyse different management and policy options and strategies.

Short-term assessments will focus on monitoring processes, and forecasting and warning/alarm services. A longer-term assessment, say EWENT partners, will provide a starting point for planning and standards setting.

Covering all the bases

"These two projects are really complementary," explains Krause. "The EWENT team, for example, is looking, more at the meteorological perspective while WEATHER is focusing more on economic models. One is looking at cost assessment while the other is studying emergency response scenarios, etc." Furthermore, he says, the projects are working in close co-operation with each other and with a third project, 'ECCONET', funded by the Commission's Transport Directorate-General and focussing on climate change and inland waterway transport.

"There is a growing awareness of the significant role of transport-related greenhouse gas emissions and the need to reduce them in the coming years," says Krause. "But the impact of climate change on transport is not really known and decisions so far have been based on a limited number of isolated and unconnected facts. A holistic picture is missing and that's what makes these new research initiatives, EWENT and WEATHER, along with ECCONET, so important."

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International Co-operation project aims to improve transport services in cities hosting major sporting events

Partners in the EU-funded 'STADIUM' project will look for ways to improve transport services for large events in big cities, including the South Africa World Cup, the India Commonwealth Games and the London Olympics.

STADIUM getting supporters to the big event © Peter Gutierrez
STADIUM getting supporters to the big event
© Peter Gutierrez

"STADIUM is one of the first three SICA projects, 'Specific International Co-operation Actions', to be launched under the 'Transport' theme of the European Commission's Seventh Research Framework Programme," explains EU Project Officer Patrick Mercier-Handisyde.

SICA projects provide a unique mechanism for specific bilateral or bi-regional co-operation, he says. They address specific needs of mutual interest to targeted regions or countries, and they require compulsory participation of research entities from different selected International Co-operation Partner Countries (ICPC) or regions.

"The global challenges we face cannot be addressed if we simply confine our action to Europe," says Mercier-Handisyde., "This is why we are opening our research funding to emerging economies. Supporting interesting and innovative research projects in the field of transport is a great way to start. And, at the same time, promoting development in countries outside Europe will have positive knock-on effects that will benefit the world economy."

Demonstrating ITS through partnership

The STADIUM project kicked off in 2009 and is being coordinated by Italy's  ISISexternal link.

The overall aim is to improve the performance of transport systems for a wide range of users during big events in big cities.

"The idea of 'performance' covers several dimensions," says Mercier-Handisyde. "It includes efficiency, in terms of frequency, punctuality and reliability. It also refers to comfort, affordability, ease of use, safety and security, and impact on the broader community in terms of congestion, air quality, and accident risk to both users and non-users."

Project partners will demonstrate the performance of Intelligent Transport System (ITS) applications at three world-class sporting events, based on procedures worked out under the EU 'ITS FRAME Architecture' initiative.

  • South Africa World Cup – First, at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, a new ITS telematics tool and an innovative technological control centre will be used in support of a 'demand-responsive' transport service, providing key information that will help to improve the efficiency of public transport. The proposed system will manage a fleet of minivan taxis in Cape Town, integrating taxis with other local public transport services, including buses. The application will compatible with multi modal ticketing, terminal management and other systems.
  • India Commonwealth Games – A second demonstration will take place during the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. Here, Public Transport services, in particular bus transport and feeder services consisting of auto rickshaws, will be monitored in real time via interfaces with GPS positioning systems. The aim will be more efficient planning of overall transport services.
  • London Olympics– The final demonstration will take place during the London Olympic Games in 2012. A system based on visual scene analysis will be used to monitor localised passenger and vehicle congestion and the propagation of congestion across and within multi-modal transport networks. The demonstration will include elements deployed at a number of locations across the London transport system.

The STADIUM project gathers a multi-disciplinary team that includes transport companies, transport policy experts and ICT experts. Its geographical scope is wide, encompassing players in Europe, Africa and Asia. Partners include academic institutions, research and consultancy firms, ITS manufacturers, SMEs and companies from Europe, South Africa and India

More than better transport

STADIUM will produce a handbook for cities hosting large events, including guidelines and solutions for selecting, designing and implementing ITS applications. In addition, project partner  POLISexternal link, the European network of cities and regions, has established a user group of cities that are interested in co-operation with STADIUM, with a view towards the preparation of future events. These include: Glasgow (Commonwealth Games 2014); Warsaw, Krakow, Poznan, Kiev and Kharkov (Euro 2012); Milan (World Expo 2015); and Madrid. Contacts have also been established with Brazilian cities involved in the 2014 football World Cup.

"For the Commission, international co-operation in specific sectors and technologies, such as in the field of ITS, can boost competitiveness on world markets," says Mercier-Handisyde. "And the development of improved international standards will mean easier and better travel for individuals, and better access to world markets for European industry."

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'LITEBUS' – the bus that bounced

LITEBUS, an EU-funded project set to reduce the weight and production costs of urban public transport, has developed a sandwich composite material to replace both steel and aluminium frames for buses. The composite renders the vehicles safer and more eco-friendly.

LITEBUS test rig

Over 20% of all carbon emissions in Europe are generated by road vehicles. Developing new technologies and materials to shape and assemble vehicles is essential to mitigate the impact of pollution. These materials will also need to render the vehicles safer and offer far greater passenger protection in case of accidents.

“Rollovers only account for 6% of bus accident but this 6% accounts for 40% of the serious injuries,” says LITEBUS Project Coordinator Professor Antonio Augusto Fernandes of the University of Porto. "This is why countries are now imposing new standards for rollover tests according to regulations developed by the United Nations."

Cars continue to dominate our highways and most of our cities, but there is a real push to shift everyday transport from private individual cars to public service vehicles (PSV) such as buses and coaches. One of the main goals of the EU White Paper on European Transport Policy for 2010 is to get more people to use public transport. PSVs are therefore set to play an increasing role in meeting the EU’s stringent 30% emissions reductions in 2010, set against 1995 technologies.

Stronger and Lighter

To meet that demand, LITEBUS has developed an all sandwich composite material that not only reduces weight but also renders PSVs tougher and less prone to structural damage in accidents. A consortium of 13 international partners including industry experts, research institutions, universities and manufactures were involved.

“Another successful EU project,” says European Commission Project Coordinator William Bird. "LITEBUS had generated a new design architecture and development methodologies to reduce emissions, save energy and put into public service high quality urban transport."

Lighter vehicles mean less fuel burned and less carbon emitted. A typical intercity bus weighs around 2000 kg. The LITEBUS sandwich composite material would replace the steel and aluminium alloy frames that are typically used to build the vehicle's body. Thus the overall total unladen weight of a typical bus can be reduced by up to 10% when using the LITEBUS concept.  

William Bird © ZAG
William Bird

“In a preliminary life-cycle analysis we estimate that sandwich composite buses, within a 15 year period, would equal to €30.000 in fuel consumption savings when compared to buses with steel structures,” says Professor Fernandes. Noise, generally emitted from vibrating steel bodies, will also be reduced, making the ride more enjoyable for passengers.

LITEBUS’s structurally resistant composite material would completely revamp how the PSV is manufactured and built. A streamlined production line reduces manufacture costs and saves energy. The composite material is sandwiched into single large panels, reinforced, and easily assembled. These panels would also be load bearing, simple to dismantle, and completely recyclable. They also resist corrosion far better than steel. Current traditional structures consist of hollow sections lined with metallic sheets whereas LITEBUS composite material would make up the entire body in single large sections. The composite panels have the added advantage of making the bus more aerodynamic.

The Test

To demonstrate the material’s strength and flexibility, LITEBUS rolled a section of a bus made with its panels at its site in Madrid (watch the  videoexternal link). Under normal circumstances, a bus with a steel or aluminum body would suffer severe structural damage that could potentially endanger the lives of the passengers. But only the outer skin of a window was broken as the LITEBUS bus smashed and then bounced twice onto the hard concrete tarmac. The structure remained intact. “The test was carried out the day before the project finished - indicating what faith the consortium had in their results,” says Bird, who was present at the test.

LITEBUS was also faced with the challenge of making a material that would be more cost effective and easier to fabricate than steel body parts. Manufactures would need an added incentive to replace the traditional steel and aluminium structures. LITEBUS therefore devised a design methodology to cut expenses that should reduce production lead time for manufacturers by 30%.

Getting sandwich composite materials off the line and onto a vehicle would require using fewer components that are easier and more rapid to assemble than steel. Composite panels, for one, do not require expensive welding techniques. The exterior and interior faces of the panels have better finishes than traditional steel panels and this makes painting them easier.

A Success

LITEBUS set out to meet some tough objectives. And it accomplished them. The roll-over test in Madrid officially closed the project and the bus that bounced has proven the viability of sandwich composite materials.

But sandwiched composites are not necessarily limited to PSVs. The assembly methodologies are also applicable to other industry sectors like rail and maritime transport, opening up a whole range of possibilities to make smarter, greener, and safer vehicles for developed and developing countries.

Read moreexternal link

‘iTREN 2030’

More than 60 experts from the European Commission, national governments, industry and the researcher community met in Brussels on 21 October for the final presentation of the iTREN-2030 project, which has developed an integrated scenario for energy and transport in Europe.

iTREN 2030 in Brussels © Neil Maclean
iTREN 2030 in Brussels
© Neil Maclean

Launched in May 2007 under the European Union’s Sixth Framework Programme for research (FP6), iTREN 2030 introduced a modelling system to assess the likely future impacts of policies in the related fields of transport, energy and technology.

“The project has managed to give us a comprehensive toolset for assessing most transport policy measures,” said Tobias Wiesenthal, a scientific officer at the of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre’s Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS).

Tobias Wiesenthal © Neil Maclean
Tobias Wiesenthal
© Neil Maclean

The project team created two scenarios. A reference or ‘frozen policy’ scenario assumes that the socio-economic and policy environments across the EU remain much the same as at present. This is then compared to an integrated scenario which takes into account the EU’s goals in relation to climate policy and the growing impacts of climate change, growing fossil fuel scarcity, and the introduction of new technologies to cope with these first two factors.

“It can give the order of magnitude of the different effects of policies for instance, how much changes in an activity contribute to CO 2 or the changes of a modal shift,” added Wiesenthal. “With the project, we really have moved a big step forward in the assessment of transport in terms of the economic and environmental effects. It gives an idea of what can be achieved.”


iTREN combined four existing assessment tools to develop its scenarios:

  • TRANS-TOOLS – for transport networks
  • TREMOVE – looking at the environmental effects of the transport sector
  • POLES – simulating long-term energy scenarios for different parts of the world
  • ASTRA –forecasting the long-term consequences of EU transport policies.

The project took into account the varying levels of experience in integrated assessment across Europe. Countries which have already built up their own assessment capabilities used iTREN results to compare with their own analyses, while those with less developed procedures could apply the methodologies directly – in particular for strategies to mitigate climate impacts.


“It is clear that increasing energy and climate efficiency will be the main drivers shaping a new energy-transport system,” said project coordinator Wolfgang Schade, the leader of Business Area Transportation Systems at Fraunhofer-ISI.

Some of the main policies taken into consideration include the Fuel Quality Directive, eco-driving, CO 2 emissions reductions targets, along with the voluntary agreement by European car makers and the Euro VI standards for vehicles.

On the demand side, they considered measures such as road user charging, the inclusion of the air and maritime sectors in the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme, the greater introduction of city tolls and the liberalisation of the railways.


The scenarios give estimates for key indicators for 2030, such as the sectoral breakdown of freight and passenger transport, energy consumption by source, the total CO 2 emissions from transport and car fleet size.

The integrated scenario estimates that CO 2 emissions from all transport modes will drop by 10% due to policy measures and the resulting changes in technology and shifts between transport modes. The biggest decrease comes from road, with a fall in CO 2 emissions of -17% and shift in its share of transport from 75% to 70%. Meanwhile, rail will increase its market share, while air will remain the same.

The project made a number of recommendations for future policies, based on its projections. “The integrated scenario shows one way forward,” said project coordinator Dr. Wolfgang Schade, from Fraunhofer-ISI “Overall, it showed that the policy measures implemented in the integrated scenario will not be enough to meet the EU’s [climate and energy] goals.”


Schade emphasised that this was the first attempt to link previous models on individual policy areas. “The project was a learning process,” he said. “It sheds light on the problems of trying to link these different policy areas into one model. What we can do in future modelling is link better to the strategic level.”

For example, actions at the urban level were underrepresented but could make significant contributions, he added.

“Another important area is to consider ‘trend breaks’ when we look at scenarios up to 2030,” continued Schade. “It is clear we will change from dependence on fossil fuels to mixed energy sources but the technologies to enable this are not clear. For instance, we have difficulties forecasting the development of batteries.”


Representatives of the various sectors involved in transport and energy were involved throughout the project and their input was invaluable to shaping the project. Another important factor was the economic crisis that hit in 2008. It occurred in the middle of the project and its effects were factored into the scenarios

Many of the stakeholders present at the event gave their input into what was needed now to create the tools and improve the accuracy and refine the modelling. Relevant areas to look into in the future would be able to better assess the effects of individual measures or the ability to break results down geographically, look at regional traffic flows or localised environmental effects, for instance.

“The next steps will be to look at the effects of individual policies. We need to be able to use modelling to test policies,” said Frederik Rasmussen, from the European Commission’s Directorate General for transport and energy (DG TREN). An example would be able to see the link between fleet composition and fuel prices, he added. “We need to be able to know where effects can have the most effect.”

However, he warned that policymakers would have to understand better the advantages of using an integrated approach over individual modelling tools.

The JRC will build on the project’s work. An FP7 project that is just starting, GHG TransPoRD, will be using the same models to further the link between research and development and policy, said Schade.

With the major part of the research completed, the final deliverables will be finished by December.

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Intelligent transport projects in focus

With the focus on intelligent transport systems for use in daily life, EU research projects looking to expand practical applications were on show at the 16th ITS Congress in Stockholm.

ITS project © Neil Maclean
Focus on intelligent
transport systems
© Neil Maclean

The centerpiece of the international ITS Congress in Stockholm last in September 2009 was a major exhibition, featuring a wide range of innovative new vehicles, systems and infrastructure initiatives. Some projects on display funded under the EU's Surface Transport Research programme included:

City Mobil

The City Mobil project, which began in 2006 under the EU Commission’s Sixth Research Framework Programme (FP6), is running several demonstration projects of different small automated vehicles across Europe.

Aside from testing the new systems in real-life operation, the main aim is to make the public more aware of the potential of 'cyber cars' and redress the balance between public and individual transport.

In the UK, a four person automatic pod vehicle will operate at Heathrow airport, shuttling travellers between terminals.

Meanwhile, a fleet of fully automated vehicles will operate at a new exhibition centre in Rome, taking visitors from the car park to the centre. By the end of the project, vehicle reservation will be synchronised with car park management, so that when a car enters the car park it will receive a designated space and a vehicle will arrive automatically at the nearest stop.

In Castellón, Spain, buses that can operate in either automatic or manual mode will connect the city centre with the university. Plans include extending the route to cover commercial centres, the port and the beaches so that it covers over 40km.

There are also smaller-scale showcases with a small fleet of vehicles that go to interested cities or towns for one or two weeks and city studies evaluating their suitability for automatic transport systems. Locations include: Daventry (UK), Vantaa (Finland), Trondheim (Norway), La Rochelle (France), Uppsala (Sweden), Madrid (Spain), Vienna (Austria), Gateshead (UK) and Lausanne (Switzerland).


ITS Congress in Stockholm © Neil Maclean
ITS Congress in Stockholm
© Neil Maclean

This FP7-funded project aims to improve road safety through the development of systems linking vehicles and road infrastructure, and to improve driver awareness, support and behaviour. “We are not starting from zero,” says Luca Canovi from the University of Modena, one of 19 organisations in the project consortium. “The technologies we’re using are already mature.”

The key innovations that the project is looking at include the creation of integrated systems: vehicle tracking applications; ‘virtual driver agent’ systems that warn drivers of upcoming hazards as well as active assistance systems that automate vehicle functions; systems that measure the weight of vehicles loads; thermal imaging to detect defective tyres, wheels or brakes; satellite navigation-based applications to provide location information; electronic license plates and driver support systems.

“We are hoping it will lead to a real system within five years,” adds Canovi. The project began in 2008 and runs till the end of 2011, with 19 partners from the EU, Tanzania and India.


This 48-month project, funded under the FP7 'Information Technologies' programme, involves over 3000 drivers in real-life testing of in-vehicle satellite navigation devices.

Trials are due to start in autumn 2009 in three different parts of the EU – Sweden and Finland in the north, Germany and the UK in the centre and Greece, Italy and Spain in the south. “The big advantage is that we’re using real drivers, not simulators,” says Serena Fruttaldo from the University of Modena, one of 23 partners in the project. “By using a large number of drivers over a long period of time, we will get to see variables not apparent in laboratory testing.”

Half of the drivers will have navigation devices fitted in their vehicles, while the other half have none. “All are fitted with datalogs, meaning we can assess the impact of the navigation devices on their driving behaviour,” explains Fruttaldo. The project will also test the eCall service, the automatic emergency call service, initially developed under the EU-funded 'AIDER' project.


Supported under the FP7's 'Information and Communication Technologies' programme, with funding totalling almost €14 million, the euroFOT project, made up of 28 academia and industry actors, will scientifically test and evaluate the impact of eight advanced driver assistance systems on safety, efficiency and driver comfort.

Partners will test lateral and longitudinal control systems that warn drivers of potential side- and front-end collisions. The partners pointed out that other advanced in-vehicle systems like the Curve speed warning and Fuel efficiency adviser, as well as the Human machine interaction with navigation systems, will also be evaluated in time.

ERTICO-ITS Europe's Maxime Flament said, "Car dealers and fleet owners Europe are currently recruiting the drivers that will take part in this experiment. At the same time, the vehicle operation centres are getting ready to prepare each vehicle for a one-year-long advanced data collection."

Safety in Motion (SIM)

This three-year project, funded under 'Surface Transport Research' and running from 2006-2009, looked at new safety devices for motorcycles. It included ‘active’ devices such as anti-lock brakes and traction control, ‘passive’ measures such as inflatable devices on riders and vehicles, and preventative systems providing information for drivers on road conditions and hazards.

The project produced a prototype vehicle which was on display in Stockholm.

Heavy Route

Funded under FP6, Heavy Route finished in June 2009. It aimed to “link vehicles with Europe’s infrastructure” and involved all stakeholders in the freight industry in the development of a new generation of maps and information systems.

Using satellite technology to deliver advanced route planning and driver support, the three main applications which have been developed into a prototype are pre-trip route planning, driver support during journeys and monitoring and management of heavy goods at bridges.

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Road infrastructure projects bridge gap between newer and older EU Member States

The results of the trailblazing 'ARCHES' and 'SPENS' projects have been presented in Ljubljana, at a conference hosted by ZAG, Slovenia’s National Building and Civil Engineering Institute.

New bridge project © ZAG
EU-funded projects bridging
the gap

Once upon a time, all roads led to Rome, but in modern Europe, roads lead everywhere, from the smallest village to the largest city. In fact, the European Union has a road network of more than 5.5 million km, according to the European Union Road Federation (ERF).

The EU’s road network acts like its social and economic nervous system, physically connecting nearly half a billion citizens. In addition to facilitating economic activities in a wide range of sectors, the Union’s road sector itself is worth €2 trillion a year, the ERF estimates.

Paved with good investments

The path to good road infrastructure is paved with smart investments. But while the EU’s central and eastern European members have invested substantially in their motorways in recent years, other elements of their networks have fallen somewhat by the wayside. The situation is most pronounced in the states that joined the Union in 2004 and 2007, the so-called EU-12.

Tomasz Wierzbicki of the Road and Bridge Research Institute in Warsaw (IBDiM) and coordinator of the EU-funded ARCHES project explains, “The EU-12 have focused on constructing new roads, mainly motorways, and less on maintaining existing infrastructure."

Roads in central European countries are important for the EU, he says, because they are pan-European trade corridors. In some places, roads and bridges have deteriorated to the extent that they cannot handle current volumes of traffic, let alone expected increases. In addition, road standards and technologies vary widely across borders. This is partly due to local conditions, but also local traditions.

New research avenues

After three years on the road to knowledge, the ARCHES and SPENS projects, both clustered under the 'CERTAIN' umbrella initiative, have signposted the way towards more sustainable road and bridge infrastructure in Central and Eastern Europe.

Project partners say SPENS has developed a set of new and more effective tools and procedures for rapid and cost-effective road rehabilitation and maintenance. Meanwhile, ARCHES has developed ways to raise the standard of highway structures in the EU-12. On 27-28 August 2009, the results of these two trailblazing projects were presented at a conference in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana.

Taking as its maxim that prevention is better than cure, explained Wierzbicki, ARCHES explored ways of improving road maintenance in order to minimise corrosion and unnecessary – not to mention costly – interventions. The project looked at maximising load capacity, destroying two test bridges in Poland and Slovenia in the process. It also investigated optimal means of monitoring and preventing damage and corrosion, such as cathodic protection, and ways of strengthening and hardening existing structures.

Material matters

Mojca Ravnikar Turk © ZAG
Mojca Ravnikar Turk

One area of particular concern is materials. Some traditional materials are not up to the job of coping with heavy traffic flows and the types of vehicles frequenting today's roads, while newer materials that are used in one country may not be appropriate in another.

“The present volume of heavy transport, such as articulated lorries, raises the need for new resilient materials, not only in the newer Member State but also in the older ones,” explains Mojca Ravnikar Turk of ZAG, the coordinator of the SPENS project.

SPENS investigated ways of improving pavement structures, such as steel reinforcement and steel slag, evaluated the environmental and economic costs and benefits of potential materials that can be used to upgrade roads, and developed methods for the non-destructive monitoring of existing road structures.

William Bird © ZAG
William Bird

Researchers from both projects expressed their determination that the results will not stay in the lab. They have already embarked on the road to encouraging the relevant stakeholders to put them into action.

“Projects like ARCHES and SPENS are designed to better meet the needs of end-users in order to reduce barriers to implementation,” concluded Steve Phillips, director of the Forum of European National Highway Research Laboratories (FEHRL). “This should not be the end of ASHES and SPENS. This should be the beginning of their implementation.”

“Road infrastructure plays an important role in delivering sustainability,” said William Bird, project officer at the Commission’s Research Directorate-General, “and ARCHES and SPENS will help maintain freedom of movement without sacrificing the environment. We should be proud of the results of these projects.”

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'HeavyRoute' project presents final results

A key EU-funded research project aimed at improving road safety and capacity while reducing impacts on the environment and maintenance costs held its final meeting in Brussels in June 2009.

Motorway traffic © Peter Gutierrez
Making way on Europe's
transport routes
© Peter Gutierrez

The volume of freight transport on roads has grown steadily in recent years and is expected to continue to increase significantly over the next decade. This, together with increasing gross weights and changing load configurations of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), has led to accelerated road surface fatigue and damage to bridges, as well as major traffic management problems in terms of safety and congestion.

Meanwhile, truck operators face the combined challenges of reducing ever-increasing fuel costs, while maximising efficiency and profitability.

Modern technologies reducing the burden

Partners in the HeavyRoute project believe a new generation of maps and map-related systems for trucks can help address all of these issues. Using satellite navigation systems such as GPS and Europe's EGNOS and Galileo, they say they can deliver major benefits to professional drivers looking for the most appropriate routes for their vehicles.

Project coordinator Anita Ihs of Sweden's VTI says "We are combining both existing and new technologies to improve safety and to maximise road capacity and efficiency. The HeavyRoute system uses the latest methods for calculating the safest and most cost-effective routes for road freight transport, taking into account user needs, vehicle operations and environmental costs, but also maintenance costs due to the deterioration of roads, bridges and other infrastructure."

Combining talents

Anita Ihs © Peter Gutierrez
Anita Ihs
© Peter Gutierrez

Funded under the European Union's Sixth Research Framework Programme, HeavyRoute brings together all of Europe's major freight transport stakeholders. Project partners have developed new tools, systems and data collection and interpretation processes to effectively link Europe's road infrastructure via electronic mapping schemes to truck operators and drivers.

Results on show at the HeavyRoute final seminar included three main applications, developed using detailed data on vehicles, infrastructure and traffic, as well as vehicle/infrastructure interaction models:

Pre-trip route planning

  • Allowable routes were derived based on HGV-specific data, together with physical and legal restrictions on infrastructure.
  • Formulas were developed to address fuel consumption, emissions, noise, safety, driver comfort and infrastructure maintenance costs.

Driving support

  • Real time driver warning systems and driving guidelines, for example recommended speed to avoid roll-over.

Monitoring and management of HGVs at bridges

  • Advice on speed, minimum vehicle spacing and/or lane change to keep appropriate loading of bridges.

Satisfying conclusion

HeavyRoute final conference © HeavyRoute
HeavyRoute final conference
© HeavyRoute

Detailed project results were presented by key project leaders, including Kees Wevers of NAVTEQ, VTI's Gunnar Lindberg, Silke Forkert and Thomas Benz of PTV, and Véronique Cérézo from CETE Lyon.

Panel discussions addressed key issues such as appropriate models and data for pan- European applicability. Also speaking at the final seminar, European Commission Scientific Officer William Bird said HeavyRoute was yet another example of excellent research and development being carried out by a strong international and multi-sectoral European team.

"It embodies the ambitions that the Commission has throughout its surface transport research programme," said Bird, "to promote safety and sustainability, to improve infrastructure capacity management, to reduce hazards, to keep traffic flows moving and to bolster the European economy, particularly at such difficult times."

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Putting the ‘super’ in Europe's capacity for green power

With the rise in demand for green transportation, European researchers in the 'ILHYPOS' project have developed a new supercapacitor that could help power the next generation of electric cars.

The ILHYPOS supercapacitor soft pack © Ahmed ElAmin
The ILHYPOS supercapacitor
soft pack
© Ahmed ElAmin

Researchers working in the EU-funded ILHYPOS project say their new supercapacitor is more environmentally friendly and safer than those currently on the market. In developing the component for electrical circuits, they have also positioned Europe as a leader in the new field of high-voltage supercapacitors.

Speaking at the final ILHYPOS project meeting in Bologna on 21 July 2009, European Commission Scientific Officer Maurizio Maggiore said the project complements other EU-funded initiatives targeting the development of better hydrogen and fuel cell vehicles for green transportation.

“This project provides a potential solution for the development of a commercial fuel cell vehicle,” Maggiore said. “The new supacapacitor and the ionic liquid they have developed supports this goal. It has also made Europe competitive in the global supercaps market.”

Playing a supporting role

Regular capacitors are widely used as a means of storing or regulating small amounts of electrical energy in many of the devices and machines we use in everyday life, such as cell phones or computers. As part of an electrical circuit, they can be used to maintain a power supply for use on demand, such as audio system speakers, or to provide energy when batteries are being changed in a device.

The supercapacitor, or ultracapacitor, the popular name for an electrochemical capacitor, is able to pack a lot more energy into the same space compared to a regular capacitor. As they can store and release specific amounts of high-voltage energy very rapidly, supercapacitors are used as a sort of intermediary device to start large motors, such as those used on diesel trucks and railroad locomotives. They are used to store and release the sharp bursts of energy needed in consumer devices, such as flash units on portable cameras.

Their ability to store energy quickly also makes them useful for re-capturing energy that might otherwise have been lost, such as when braking a vehicle. More recently, supercapacitors are being examined for use in fuel-cell, hybrid and electric vehicles. By putting supercapacitors to work on the draining job of providing bursts of power when needed, batteries or fuel cells can then be used to provide power for other tasks over longer periods. This extension of the ability of electric vehicles to run for longer periods is crucial to their wider acceptance by the public.

Filling a market gap

Unfortunately, many supercapacitors on the market require special care for use in fuel-cell, hybrid or electric vehicles. Commercial ones make use of electrolyte solutions made up of a salt dissolved in an organic solvent. The volatility of the organic solvents increases sharply with temperature, making such supercapacitors potentially unsafe beyond the 50-60°C range in which fuel-cell and hybrid cars operate.

A project providing answers

Mario Conte © Ahmed ElAmin
Mario Conte
© Ahmed ElAmin

The ILHYPOS prototype fills this gap in the market. Project researchers targeted the development of a supercapacitor for a high-temperature environment with specific energy, power and safety requirements, and based on environmentally friendly materials.

They developed an electrolyte, a non-flammable ionic liquid or salt that was able to “significantly increase” the cell voltage available from the prototype supercapacitor to between 3.5V and 4V, said project coordinator Mario Conte, a scientist with Italy’s National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and the Environment.

"Tests showed the electrolyte remained stable, was non-toxic and operated at temperatures ranging from -20°C to 60°C," Conte said at the final meeting, "exceeding the project’s targets. Charging and recharging stability targets were also achieved. We have demonstrated that the ionic liquid is a very safe electrolyte, and this is a key achievement of the project.”

The ionic liquid can also be used for fuel cells, electrochemical capacitors, dye-sensitive solar cells, and other electrochemical devices, such as and batteries, he added.

Gearing up for production

Project partners prepared and tested other novel materials and components for original hybrid and asymmetric cell designs, such as electrodes (activated carbon materials and new electronically conducting polymers) and separators for the cell components, all needed for the new supercapacitor. Arcotronics Industries developed the techniques and a pilot production line to demonstrate that the prototype supercapacitor could be mass produced.

The supercapacitor is assembled as a soft pack to minimise weight. The assembly method is similar to the process used in the production of lithium-ion batteries, making it easily adaptable for industry. Arcotronics is one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of capacitors and the machines used to make them.

ILHYPOS partners also performed simulations using mathematical models and applied them to a test prototype of a hybrid electric van. The van was developed by Micro-Vett, another project partner.

“The simulations showed there was a significant improvement in efficiency and design simplification,” said Conte.

The ILHYPOS team was made up of researchers from both public and private sectors. Commission Scientific Officer Maggiore said the project has demonstrated that the newly developed supercapicator can perform better than others on the market at normal operating temperatures. “In fact, they have done better than expected,” he said. “Now it is up to industry to decide how to apply their research.”

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Reducing car weight and cutting down greenhouse gas emissions

A new lighter weight car frame unveiled by EU-funded ‘SuperLight-Car’ project could provide the structure on which to rebuild Europe’s ailing auto industry – and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Superlight Car conference © Ahmed ElAmin
Superlight Cars in Wolfsburg
© Ahmed ElAmin

A prototype of a new lightweight automobile frame was unveiled by SuperLight-Car at a conference on 26-27 May 2009 in Wolfsburg, Germany. The prototype was created using a variety of materials, and design and manufacturing techniques that Europe’s automakers can develop further.

Due to the current economic crisis, European car manufacturers are restructuring their operations to meet the new challenges that lie ahead. These include changing consumer demands, concerns about climate change, and environmental laws requiring their products produce less greenhouse gas emissions.

The reduction of fuel consumption and CO 2 emissions is one of the most important challenges facing the automotive industry, said Martin Goede, the project’s coordinator and a manager at Volkswagen’s research unit.

“One way to reduce consumption is by reducing a car’s weight,” he says. “Thus, the project goal is to provide the basis to save millions of tonnes of fuel and carbon dioxide due to significantly reduced vehicle weight.”

About one-third of a passenger car's total fuel consumption directly depends on its weight: For example, a weight reduction of 100 kg represents a fuel savings of between 0.3- 0.5 litres for every 100 km driven according to industry estimates.

The project’s challenge was to develop technologies and design concepts that would allow up to 30% weight reduction in the frame of a typical compact class passenger car, while keeping within the cost range for manufacturing such popular models. Volkswagen’s Golf V model was used as the standard for comparing weigh reduction and testing.

Multi-material design

Overall the project achieved its aim, with the prototype weighing in at 171 kg, representing a 39% reduction, or 110 kgs. As Goede told the 140 conference participants, the project partners developed a multi-material design for the prototype. The best material was chosen for each component.

The difficulty was to reduce weight by developing new material and manufacturing processes that did not increase manufacturing costs, while fulfilling a wide range of automotive requirements in areas such as stiffness, crash performance, fatigue and corrosion resistance, and other performance requirements, he said.

All this, while ensuring that a multi-material lightweight design could be mass produced on the production line. Light alloy hot forming aluminium and magnesium was used for the frame’s external panels, hot formed steel for the door apertures, fibre-reinforced thermoplastic for the roof cross beam and rear floor, cast aluminium for the rear longitudinal strut, and reinforced polymer for the seat cross-member. The steel parts made up 50% of the frame’s weight, aluminium 35%, magnesium 8% and plastic 7%.

Project partners also developed new moulding and joining technologies for vehicles, and an assembly plant design for the production of 1 000 cars a day.

Overall, the project provides a prototype to Europe’s car industry that advanced multi-material concepts that combine steel, aluminium, magnesium, plastics and composites can significantly reduce weight.

Manufacturing achievements

Project partners also achieved other technical objectives. They created a library of multi-material architectures and concepts for the development of light weight mass-produced vehicles. They developed forming technologies for aluminium, steel, magnesium and reinforced plastics, along with joining technologies such as welding, brazing, adhesive bonding and mechanical joining. They also created simulation tools for analysing cost, static, crash, fatigue and life cycle of lighter weight vehicles. They also produced and validated a front-end structure demonstrator.

“The principle idea is to use the best material for the appropriate functions,” Goede said. “In addition to the development of metals and light metals, the research on fibre-reinforced plastics will play a major role. In the area of joining technologies, mechanical joining as well as adhesive and hybrid methods will complement the approved welding technologies.”

Now, the goal is to achieve an overall cost efficient lightweight design. The prototype can be used by vehicle manufacturers to reduce the costs. The current cost analysis for the project’s prototype indicates it is currently outside the cost parameters for producing a compact passenger car.

Crossing the line

Participants examine new lightweight frame. © Ahmed ElAmin
Participants examine new
lightweight frame.
© Ahmed ElAmin

In an interview, Goede noted that another project achievement is the continuing collaboration of seven competing European car makers: Volkswagen (as coordinator), Fiat, Opel, Renault, Volvo, Porsche and Daimler. Volkswagen broke down the barriers by sharing the crash and simulation modelling data of its Golf V car.

“This was the starting point for a good project,” he said. “You are working with competitors and you need to treat everybody honestly. At the start you have to give more than you get. In the end you get more back. We now have strong partners for the further development of the prototype and intensive communication networks that will remain in place after the project is finished.”

He expects that the principles, techniques and materials developed by the project will be on the road in the next decade.

“I am convinced that the techniques and design principles could be transferred into series manufacturing projects over a longer period,” he said. “The steel technologies are advanced and available. The aluminium solutions in sheet production are ready to be used. The techniques for casting and thermoplastic polymers will be available after 2012. The innovative technique of using magnesium and carbon fibre reinforced polymer needs further verification but they should be ready to be used by 2015.”

Reducing CO2 emissions

Gundolf Kopp, a speaker at the conference on behalf of the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), a project partner, noted that reducing the weight of cars on the road would be a significant step in reducing CO 2 emissions. About 23% of these emissions is produced by all transport sectors across the globe.

“In addition, the driving behaviour of lighter vehicles is considered to be more agile and safe,” he said. “Optimisation of the weight of all vehicle components has therefore become very important.”

The SuperLight-Car project was co-funded through the EU’s Sixth Research Framework Programme. It brought together 37 partners from across Europe, including seven competing auto manufacturers and suppliers such as Arcelor, Hydro, Corus and Comau.

The project also coordinated with other major research and technological development projects through the umbrella of the European Council for Automotive Research (EUCAR) as part of the European Commission’s roadmap for reducing CO2-emissions and mitigating climate change.

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'TOPMACS' – more progress on 'greener' air-conditioning

Once considered a luxury option, air conditioning is becoming more and more common in new cars as a standard feature, but both public authorities and consumers are demanding greater attention to the environmental impact of air conditioning systems, in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and impacts on fuel consumption.

Cars on a hot motorway © Peter Gutierrez
Staying cool in the car
© Peter Gutierrez

The goal of the EU-funded 'TOPMACS' project has been to develop mobile air conditioning systems (MACS) with reduced impact on the environment. "The project is now at a very important and crucial point," says TOPMACS coordinator Stefano Mola of Italy's Centro Ricerche Fiat. "We are currently setting up two onboard prototypes, one for cars and another one for trucks. It is the first time in Europe that an air conditioning 'sorption' system has been installed on a vehicle."

Sorption systems, explains Mola, are powered by waste heat, and could provide a solution for lowering the environmental impact of mobile air conditioning systems.

"The simple fact that we've been able to set up these prototypes means the project is already a success," he says. "But we have also demonstrated a significant increase in cooling power density with respect to state of the art systems."

Partnership of success

The TOPMACS project has brought together a wide-ranging group of partners from Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and the UK. Mola says the project has been crucial for his company and everyone involved.

"I think the main benefit for all of us will come from the close and open co-operation we've established. This has allowed all the partners to be involved in all phases of the work. Our research institution partners have understood the constraints of the automotive industry, while the end users have understood the features and market potential of the technology."

"Our working relationship with European authorities, especially the European Commission, has also been positive," he says. "Our discussions with the EU commissioner have always been very important, allowing us to move from clear policy goals towards real technical solutions."

No stopping now

"We are now waiting for the results of tests being carried out on our prototypes," says Mola, "before we can quantify the actual environmental benefits, and we will need to do further work before being able to consider industrial-scale production, but we do expect to see benefits in terms of reduced CO 2 emissions due to air conditioning systems, and this will ultimately mean a cleaner environment for citizens and possibly a competitive edge for our European car-making industry."

Mola says TOPMACS will also achieve a significant downsizing of the resulting technologies, opening the way to other potential applications such as smaller tri-generation systems.

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'B-COOL' project developing eco-friendly car air conditioning

The EU-funded B-COOL project, set to end in 2008, has been developing a new, high-efficiency, low-cost air-conditioning system for small, A and B segment cars, using CO2 as a refrigerant.

Cars on a hot motorway © Peter Gutierrez
Beating the summer heat
with B-COOL
© Peter Gutierrez

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), once the replacement of choice for ozone-harmful chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in refrigeration and air conditioning systems, have no known effects on the ozone layer, but do contribute to global warming. Today, HFCs are a specific target of the Kyoto Protocol.

Under the European Union's Sixth Research Framework Programme, a specific call for proposals was published on “…highly efficient air conditioning systems with near zero greenhouse gas emissions and elimination of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) …”

Answering the call

"We've managed to make some important advances in the domain of the mobile air conditioning systems," says B-COOL project coordinator Carloandrea Malvicino of Italy's Centro Ricerche Fiat. "We've developed new testing procedures to assess fuel consumption and thermal performance of CO 2 air conditioning technologies, and we've created and tested two vehicle demonstrators using a Fiat Panda and a Ford Ka."

The B-COOL project's new cooling system is based on the use of R744 (liquid CO 2) as a working fluid. R744's physical properties, which include a high volumetric cooling capacity, make it very favourable for cooling, refrigeration, and heating applications.

B-COOL partners say the use of these systems in lower segment cars has represented a real bottleneck due to cost and energy consumption constraints. Simply stated, today's state-of-the-art R744 systems are just too expensive and sophisticated for lower-priced cars and light commercial vehicles.


"B-COOL gathered European experts and engineers, creating a partnership that produced important scientific and technical results," says Malvicino. "The relationship among partners has been very fruitfully and the project has generated opportunities for further co-operation. The European Commission was also a key player, delivering effective support to the consortium that allowed us to complete the research programme.

"Ultimately, this has been a great opportunity to increase our know-how in mobile air conditioning systems, enabling us to focus our resources on a common objective – the realisation of two different B-class vehicles with R744 air conditioning."

Malvicino says because the new B-COOL system is more cost effective and energy efficient, it could speed up HFC replacement in the automotive sector.

Overall, B-COOL has made some important contributions to the objectives of the Kyoto protocol:

  • Using a high efficiency R744 system to reduce CO 2 emissions
  • Completely eliminating the need for CFC, HCFC and HFC refrigerants
  • Making available a low-cost system for small and medium-sized cars (70% of the EU market).

And by making possible the rapid diffusion of the new system in Europe, B-COOL improves the competitiveness of EU carmakers.

Satisfying conclusion

Malvicino says the project, set to end in November 2008, has been a success. "B-COOL increased our general knowledge of the environmental impact of mobile air conditioning and has contributed to the development of a new generation of systems.

"Small cars represent a very important part of the European passenger car market, and the presence of the B-COOL project at relevant international events, including SAE and International Energy Agency events, and the TRA 2008 conference in Slovenia, has helped to strengthen Europe's position in the mobile air conditioning sector."

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‘iTREN 2030’ joining the dots

More than 45 experts from the European Commission, national governments, industry and the researcher community met in Brussels on 27 November 2007 for the iTREN-2030 project workshop. Among the questions they asked was how to predict the combined effects of EU-wide policies on energy, transport, economy and the environment.

Cars on a busy motorway beside skyscrapers as the sun sets
Common concerns: transport,
energy, economy and the

“Launched in May 2007 as part of the Sixth Research Framework Programme, iTREN is developing tools to assess the impacts of policies in inter-related transport, energy and technology fields,” says Wolfgang Schade of Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI). “In particular, we are concentrating on areas such as the implications of alternative technologies and new energy carriers, and extending existing forecasting tools.”

Experts from Bulgaria, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands presented their current approaches to policy development in these inter-related fields, showing the wide variety of experience in integrated assessment that currently exists across the European Union.

Complex assessment

Schade says the project will operate on different levels, taking into account varying levels of experience; countries which have already developed their own assessment capabilities will be able to use iTREN results to compare with their own analyses, while those with less developed procedures will be able to apply the methodologies directly – in particular for strategies to mitigate climate impacts.

The iTREN approach is based on extending four existing assessment tools:

  • TRANS-TOOLS – assessing transport networks
  • TREMOVE – looking at the environmental effects of the transport sector
  • POLES – simulating long-term energy scenarios for different parts of the world
  • ASTRA –forecasting the long-term consequences of EU transport policies.

Representatives from the automotive industry expressed their interest in the results and are now committed to the project throughout its two-year lifespan, from 2007 to 2009.

Old cars piled up in a scrapyard
Yesterday transport, today

“Some stakeholders at the iTREN workshop expressed concern that the statistics used must be consistent,” says Schade. “At the moment there are differences between the Eurostat data used at an EU level and national statistics.” Another concern is that the model at present does not encompass ‘trend breaks’ due to factors such as high oil prices or technology breakthroughs.

The next iTREN workshop, planned for April 2008, will take a closer look at the assumptions made in the iTREN model, and at how to increase the project’s transparency.

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‘FELICITAS’ for heavy-duty transport powertrains

The FELICITAS Integrated Project is focusing on the development of fuel cell (FC) drive trains capable of meeting the exacting demands of heavy-duty transport for road, rail and marine applications.

At a recent meeting at the Technical University of Athens, FELICITAS partners, led by Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Transportation and Infrastructure Systems, had the opportunity to participate in intensive discussions. Topics included:

  • Combined cycle gas-turbines and high-temperature fuel cell systems
  • Controller design for polymer electrolyte fuel cell clusters
  • Fuel processing issues.

Partners say FELICITAS will provide improved technologies for marine applications, onboard diesel reforming technology for powertrains, as well as gas turbine and solid oxide fuel cell hybrid powertrains. All of this will require significant improvements in performance and design.

Onboard fuel reforming is also a critical issue, because operating with high-energy-density fuels, such as liquid fuels, is essential for long distance operation of heavy-duty vehicles or ships. Addressing the particular demands of marine applications is therefore the first logical step in the FELICITAS process.

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CITYMOBIL: advanced road transport for the urban environment

Partners in the EU-funded CITYMOBIL project presented their work at the Podcar City International PRT conference on 1-2 October 2007 in Uppsala, Sweden.

Today’s cities face a range of problems related to rising mobility demands. These include pollution, congestion and safety problems caused by increasing traffic. Traditional transport systems are widely seen as no longer able to cope with these and other issues.

With the exception of some automatically operated metro systems, as in Paris, London and Lille, and some recently introduced automated buses and people-movers in Clermont-Ferrand, Eindhoven and Capelle aan de Ijssel, transport systems in present-day European cities remain rooted in aging and outmoded technologies.

Paving the way to better urban transport

The objective of the CITYMOBIL project is to achieve more effective organisation of urban transport. At three project sites, Heathrow, Castellón and Rome, large-scale demonstrators are being set up to deliver proof of concept of innovative automated transport systems integrated in the urban environment.

Five horizontal sub-projects are investigating and attempting to resolve issues that still prevent full scale implementation of these systems. Ultimately, CITYMOBIL will allow increased mobility, using technologies feturing low pollution, high safety levels and increased efficiency.

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‘POMEROL’ makes steady progress on new fuel cell technologies

The EU-funded POMEROL project on clean battery technologies held its mid-term meeting in Bordeaux, France on 1 June 2007. The event featured several milestone decisions, including the choice of chemical components for new lithium batteries for fuel cell hybrids.

Road traffic © Peter Gutierrez
POMEROL for cleaner road
© Peter Gutierrez

Lithium ion batteries are now increasingly recognised as a generic clean technology for the future, with potential applications in all fields of energy storage. POMEROL coordinator Philippe Biensan, of hi-tech battery maker Saft S.A., says the project’s refined lithium batteries are based on state-of-the-art iron phosphate chemistry, increasing their performance and durability and making them cheaper and safer.

“The objective is to develop new materials that will greatly reduce the cost of high-power lithium ion batteries to €25/kW,” explains Biensan. “This is one of the very critical issues for widespread development of this technology.” Biensan says the batteries will utilise non-flammable ionic liquids, like those being developed by another EU-funded project, ILHYPOS, giving them an intrinsically safe electrochemistry.

Maurizio Maggiore
Maurizio Maggiore

The POMEROL consortium includes two car manufacturers, one battery manufacturer, three chemical companies working on the basic materials and one research centre. According to European Commission Scientific Officer Maurizio Maggiore, project partners seem to be working well together. Clear aims have been set for each partner and an extensive range of materials for testing have already been exchanged.

More to come

At the meeting in Bordeaux, participants discussed the choice of main chemical components for final development, excluding some that had not shown a sufficient level of performance or that posed other problems, such as high cost. At the same time, a first batch of batteries based on the new chemistry was being manufactured, thus attaining a critical milestone set previously by the partners. Ionic liquids were not yet being employed, as these still need to be optimised for conductivity.

Partners working in this area explained that the conductivity of ionic liquids at high concentrations is still low and therefore a mixture with flammable electrolytes may be necessary. Hopefully a 20-30% mixture will be sufficient to deliver the safety benefits aimed for at the beginning of the project.

Market success

One additional benefit has been the development of advanced carbon materials, which, according to partner TIMCAL, are already being marketed with good success. SAFT also announced the launch of production of automotive batteries at a new plant, as well as the production of special iron phosphate-based batteries for space and military applications, on display during the course of the meeting.

“We could be looking at a next generation of batteries coming out of this project,” says Maggiore. “There seem to be no technical obstacles for the moment, and POMEROL, along with other EU projects, is definitely moving forward on reducing component costs, getting us nearer to a production launch for new European hybrid vehicle technologies.”

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EU-funded ‘HyICE’ project a major step forward for hydrogen

On 27 February 2007, project partners, invited guests and members of the press heard coordinators and EU officials at BMW Group’s Research and Technology facility in Munich describe the HyICE project as a resounding success and a model of the Commission’s Integrated Project (IP) formula.

BMW hydrogen car
BMW Group applying HyICE

Speaking at the final HyICE meeting, Director of the European Commission’s DG RTD Transport Directorate András Siegler said, “HyICE is one the first of the transport research IPs to be completed, and we see it as a major catalyst to further important technological advancement.”

Introduced under the Union’s Sixth Framework Programme and now extended into the Seventh, the IPs are comprehensive research initiatives intended to deliver results through the co-operation of industry, small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs), academic institutions and the research community.

Why hydrogen?

András Siegler, Maurizio Maggiore and Hans-Christian Fickel
András Siegler, Maurizio Maggiore
and Hans-Christian Fickel

As the only carbon-free fuel, hydrogen releases no CO 2 during combustion. The Commission believes hydrogen can be used in adapted internal combustion engines in the near future, but today’s hydrogen engines, based on port injection, suffer from reduced power density.

Aimed at developing a clean and economical hydrogen fuelled automobile engine, HyICE looked at two new approaches. First, the project tried mixing cryogenic hydrogen gas with aspirated air, increasing energy content within the combustion chamber. Second, hydrogen was injected directly into the combustion chamber. Both approaches, say partners, produce a 15% increase in power output.

Additional subprojects delivered important and innovative supporting technologies, especially in the area of computational fluid dynamics (CFDs). Another significant aspect of the project was its international dimension. HyICE brought together a variety of players, including US partner Ford.

Power in partnership

HyICE exhibition
HyICE on display

“The transatlantic partnership allowed the exchange of valuable know-how,” said project coordinator Hans-Christian Fickel, “and, with the support of the EU, we have surpassed our own goals in terms of engine power and efficiency.”

Raymond Freymann, Head of BMW Group Research and Technology said, “This project has produced clear results in terms of achieving hydrogen-fuelled engines that are as efficient as current diesels and non-polluting. We are convinced that the hydrogen combustion engine will become an attractive method of transportation in the future.”

Meeting tough environmental targets

“The environment is one of our most fundamental challenges,” said Seigler. “Meeting our goals in terms of CO 2 reduction is a major task, and we all know that transport is a big part of that.

HyICE exhibition
HyICE exhibition

“The important thing with hydrogen is that we have to take a systemic approach. We have new engine concepts thanks to projects like HyICE, but we must also consider the production of hydrogen, how it will be stored and supplied. All of these processes can potentially represent a burden on the environment.” The upcoming Joint Technology Initiative (JTI) on hydrogen, Seigler said, will address the entire gamut of hydrogen and fuel cell-related issues.

“The HyICE project,” says EC Project Officer Maurizio Maggiore, “gives us a real opportunity to play a leading role in the emerging hydrogen and fuel cell economy, bridging the gap between today’s conventional vehicles and tomorrow’s fuel cell-based vehicles.”

HyICE results will now be taken further under the EU-funded HyFLEET: CUTE project, which covers the operation of 47 hydrogen-powered buses in regular public transport service in ten cities on three continents. Another HyICE successor project is expected to look at high-pressure direct injection in combination with spark ignition.

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Efficient high-performing hydrogen engines are a step closer, thanks to EU research funding

Researchers from Germany, Sweden, France and Austria, working together within an EU-funded research project and with US partners, have developed a new type of hydrogen technology that will lead to new and more efficient engines. The Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine (HyICE) project has tested ways to make hydrogen-fuelled engines that are as efficient as current diesel engines, yet non-polluting, and with little or no trade-off in terms of engine size and power.

HyICE hydrogen-fed engines offer clear advantages over current generation engines and promise to compete with other propulsion systems in terms of performance and cost. The project members from the automobile industry, supplier companies and universities developed innovative fuel-injection concepts for engines for passenger cars as well as for trucks and buses.

European hydrogen experts involved in HyICE regularly shared their findings with researchers from Department of Energy laboratories and universities in the US. This is a concrete example of cooperation between the European Commission and US Department of Energy for the promotion of research, and development of new visions for hydrogen energy and alternative power sources. The project results will be presented on 27 February 2007in Munich.

European Science and Research Commissioner, Janez Potočnik said: "The HyICE project clearly demonstrates the contribution EU research can make to reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. This is an example of successful EU investment in pre-competitive research, with a potential impact reaching way beyond Europe's borders. The results achieved with this hydrogen combustion engine should encourage industry to develop this form of mobility further. By developing such technology, we can preserve our environment and at the same time keep Europe at the forefront of global competition"

Bringing together a team of industry and academic players, including partners in the US, this 3-year project has produced compelling test results, paving the way for the next generation of hydrogen-fuelled engines. Very low-polluting, yet as efficient as current diesels and with little or no penalty in terms of engine size and power, this new type of engine effectively bridges the gap between today's conventional vehicles and tomorrow's fuel cell-based vehicles - a major step in the use of hydrogen as an alternative fuel.

The partners in HyICE are BMW Forschung und Technik (Germany), ANSYS (Germany), Irion Management Consulting (Germany), MECEL (Sweden), Universität der Bundeswehr (Germany), Technical University of Graz (Austria), MAN Nutzfahrzeuge (Germany), Institut Français du Pétrole (France), Ford Forschungszentrum (Germany), Volvo Technology Corporation (Sweden) and Hoerbiger Valve Tech (Austria). The project received €5 million from the 6th Framework Programme towards its total project costs of €7 million.

HyICE is one of the first EU Integrated Projects to be completed in the area of Sustainable Surface Transport. Introduced under the EU 6th Framework Programme for Research (FP6) and now extended into FP7, Integrated Projects (IPs) such as HyICE mobilise broad-based partnerships of research bodies, from big industrial interests to SMEs, and from academic institutions to research centres, in the EU and beyond, to deliver innovative results across several science and technology domains.

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‘EURO-TRANS’ hits the ground running

The EU-funded EURO-TRANS initiative is promoting and supporting the participation of small and medium size enterprises in European surface transport research projects. Partners met at a launch meeting in Brussels on 16 January 2007 to discuss actions and objectives.

Tunnel traffic
© Peter Gutierrez

Europe’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a vital role in fostering innovation, creating employment and maintaining economic competitiveness. Their active involvement in the EU research is considered crucial.

“Our aim is to help get SMEs involved in the Seventh Research Framework Programme [FP7],” said EURO-TRANS coordinator Robert Csukai of OSEO. “This means enhancing co-operation between SMEs, major European R&D players, and industrial stakeholders.”

EURO-TRANS project partners, he said, will deliver direct assistance to potential SME participants, and a web-based communication infrastructure will be developed, providing access to important information on EU integrated projects (IPs) and networks of excellence (NoEs), specific projects with innovation needs, SME funding programmes and a complete SME database.

New SME events announced

Specific EURO-TRANS actions are to include the organisation of two international workshops, explained Csukai. The first is now set to take place in Warsaw in October 2007 and the second in Paris in January/February 2008. Between 200 and 300 SMEs are being targeted to attend each workshop, with coaching services provided, including help in searching for partners, call topics and the preparation of proposals. A new help desk will also be set up.

EU EURO-TRANS project officer Susana Martins outlined the Commission’s expectations, stressing the importance of increasing SME participation in FP7. She also presented the new work programme for transport research, to be announced officially at the FP7 Transport Research Information Day in Brussels on 14 February 2007.

What makes an SME an SME?

As defined by the European Commission:

  • Micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises employ fewer than 250 people and have an annual turnover not exceeding €50 million, and/or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding €43 million.
  • A small enterprise employs fewer than 50 people and has an annual turnover and/or annual balance sheet total not exceeding €10 million.
  • A microenterprise employs fewer than 10 people and has an annual turnover and/or annual balance sheet total not exceeding €2 million.

Strong team effort

The EURO-TRANS consortium Advisory Group includes the European Technology Platforms (ETPs) ERRAC, ERTRAC, and WATER BORNE TP, as well as professional associations EARPA, CLEPA, UNIFE, EUCAR, COREDES and EMECRID. The ETPs will present their strategic research agendas and provide information on the running of future FP7 projects during the plenary sessions of the EURO-TRANS workshops.

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Automotive Chassis Development for 5-day Cars

The prime objective of AC-DC is to develop a concept, which radically enhances automotive manufacturing in order to achieve the high level of responsiveness required for a 5-day car according to customer specifications, and to validate/demonstrate the novel approach using the characteristic component lightweight chassis as a master.

Tags: Road


To date, a clear hierarchic structure dominates automotive manufacturing assuring a 100% delivery of components and systems just in time and just in sequence. However, new challenges emerge, such as:

  • a steep increase in modularisation and interdisciplinary technologies
  • a market pressure for variability and flexibility to customers
  • the cost pressure demands a reduction of stocks on the supply side
  • a highly flexible mastering of global production and delivery, which will mean a rapid development of an efficient ‘networked’ production scheme.

This calls for both a determined step forward in motor vehicle technology combined with a dynamic planning process involving the full supply chain. In order to break with the traditional hierarchic manufacturing, revolutionary concurrent elements must be introduced that reduce stocks and allow last minute configuration of new products in higher variations and quality and at lower costs.


The prime objective of AC-DC therefore is to develop a concept that radically enhances automotive manufacturing in order to achieve the high level of responsiveness required for a 5-day car process according to customer specifications, with the development and introduction of individual and highly reactive planning loops in the supply chain. The efficiency of this future system needs to be validated realistically by considering the emerging step-change in component technology (technology convergence of ‘Mechatronics’ for customer neutral modules of high parameterisation).

Description of work

Emphasis is placed on a vehicle system that promises maximum impact and reward regarding the transfer-suitability to other parts of the vehicle that can be achieved within the duration of the project:

  • technically, highly mechatronic and individualised automotive chassis modules hold considerable challenges to demonstrate the transfer of customer-neutral module design methodology to ample applications, including new drivetrains, electrical propulsion and new wheel systems. Technical progress in intelligent software and sensor-actuator technology combined in customer-neutral mechatronic chassis modules paves the way to the next generation of automotive chassis, which needs to be taken into account by new automotive production processes.
  • AC-DC develops the requisite ‘dynamic supply chain collaboration concept’ that promotes the conventional automotive terms of delivery to a highly reactive 5-day, capable system that cuts down inventories in the supply network while maintaining the 100% guarantee of delivery as an uncompromised constraint. Leaving hierarchic production concepts behind by building on multiple planning loops, the dynamic supply network management is paramount for the integration of both the requisite high-tech module technology and the appropriate process configuration features. All aspects of complementary concern, such as fail-safe real-time event management, collaborative demand prediction and planning consistency, modular production technology processes, as well as distributed quality control and testing form crucial building blocks to form the dynamic and reliable supply loops network.


AC-DC will develop a highly dynamic and robust supply loop concept, which is superior to the conventional hierarchic system in reactivity, reliability and costs while maintaining the 100% guarantee of delivery. From the proof-of-concept a characteristic next-generation automotive modular system will be developed, which will convert different technologies (in this case mechanics and electronics) into high-quality modules to reduce part count and cost (first cost and stocks) and to achieve a customer-neutral component/supply concept.

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Assessment and Rehabilitation of Central European Highway Structures

The overall goal of the proposed project is to develop ways of raising the standard of highway structures in the new Member States and Central and Eastern European Countries to the level necessary for their full economic integration into the EU and for the future development of the Union.

Tags: Road


Since 1 May 2004, the European Union road network, and accordingly the stock of highway structures, has increased significantly. Ten new Member States have brought nearly 924 500 kilometres of roads into the European network. These countries have huge numbers of highway structures, which, mainly due to their history, do not constitute a solid and trouble-free infrastructure. Structures have been affected by a lack of maintenance, regular overloading and even by the use of poor quality materials for construction. In the near future, the same structures have to face increasing volume and weight of traffic and will therefore have to be reliably assessed and, if necessary, improved or replaced. All these processes will take time and have to be realised in a sustainable way for the economy, for society and for the environment. No doubt the majority of European road infrastructures have reached an age where improvement costs (several billion euros annually) constitute a major part of infrastructure spending. This is hindering the development of the network by absorbing much-needed funds. This project will develop new construction concepts for conservation (assessment, improvement and preventative maintenance) of highway structures.


The overall goal of the project is to reduce the gap in the standard of highway infrastructure between Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC) – particularly new Member States – and the rest of the EU. This key problem will be addressed by a combined approach:

  • developing more appropriate tools and procedures to avoid unnecessary interventions (repairs/replacements) in structures and prevent the development of corrosion by simpler and less expensive techniques
  • implement faster, more cost-effective and longer lasting repair or strengthening techniques of sub-standard and unsafe bridges
  • aggressive dissemination of results and general best practice to the key stakeholders.
  • Another important objective of this project is to help society and politicians to understand the need for sustainable maintenance of their road networks, together with their engineering infrastructure, and to help managers of infrastructure to spend their resources in a more optimal way.

Description of work

To achieve its scientific and technological objectives, this project focuses on structural assessment and monitoring strategies to prevent deterioration and optimum improvement of highway structures by complementary techniques. It is organised in four technical work packages (WP), numbered 2-5, with the following conceptual approach:

WP2: optimise the use of existing infrastructure through better safety assessment and monitoring procedures which will avoid interventions, i.e. avoid unnecessarily replacing or improving structures that are in fact perfectly safe.

WP3: monitor and prevent corrosion of existing reinforcement and develop innovative new reinforcement materials that are highly resistant to corrosion.

WP4: strengthen the infrastructure of bridges by means of bonded reinforcements

WP5: harden highway structures with ultra high performance fibre-reinforced concretes applied in severely exposed zones to dramatically increase their durability.


There are currently great disparities in the transport infrastructure between the new Member States and Central and Eastern European Countries on the one side and the EU-15 on the other. A key part of addressing the economic imbalances within the enlarged Union consists of bringing the transport infrastructure in the new Member States up to a level that will improve durability of existing highway structures and accommodate higher traffic loads and densities without jeopardising their structural safety. Although replacement of the most severely deteriorated structures will still be necessary, ARCHES will provide the means to get more from existing bridges. The project will develop more efficient assessment techniques, new strategies to prevent/monitor the influence of overload, and new and improved repair techniques. As a result, the new Member States and Central and Eastern European Countries will obtain tools to spend their limited maintenance resources in a more optimal way. Better assessment and less disruptive repair techniques will prevent excessive and unnecessary repair or demolition of bridges. This will:

  • reduce energy consumption for cement production
  • reduce production of demolition waste
  • reduce traffic delays and, consequently, fuel consumption
  • reduce other adverse impacts on the environment (noise, air pollution).
  • In a practical sense, the end users will obtain several guidelines on damage assessment and the repair of structures.

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Development of Best Practices and Identification of Breakthrough Technologies in Automotive Engineering Simulation

The project will bring together major players from the automotive industry across Europe. They will discuss, debate and document various aspects related to the effective use of engineering simulation techniques such as finite element analysis, computational fluid dynamics and multi body simulation.

Tags: Road


Major organisations in the European automotive industry have seen substantial benefit from the integration of modelling and simulation into their design process. Today, there is a need for more widespread adoption of engineering simulation throughout the supply chain. At the same time, technology is being developed that offers the potential to reach a new generation of advanced applications.

A number of key issues are currently holding these developments back, including:

  • a shortage of sufficiently skilled personnel and inefficiencies in their use
  • smaller organisations not being ready or able to deploy the technology
  • limits to the confidence placed on the reliability of analytical results
  • suppliers using different procedures when supplying to different companies
  • researchers needing a coordinated industrial view on priorities for the development of breakthrough technologies.

AUTOSIM will establish an international team of leading experts representing much of the European automotive industry. They will develop a preliminary set of best practice guidelines, standard analytical procedures and research strategies. They will then consult with the wider automotive industry to gain feedback on the preliminary documents and establish credibility on the final documents.


The broad objectives of AUTOSIM are:

  • to improve the quality and robustness of modelling and simulation in the European automotive industry within an integrated design and product development environment
  • to facilitate the use of advanced simulation technologies (finite element analysis, computational fluid dynamics and related methods) within a multi-site, multi-organisational environment
  • to improve technology and knowledge transfer between engineering practitioners within the automotive industry
  • to identify potential breakthrough technologies which could have a profound effect on the use of simulation techniques for automotive applications
  • to identify technology gaps and areas where RTD activity is needed.

The detailed objectives are:

  1. to assemble and collate information which is focused on current practices in the application of modelling and simulation technology in the European automotive industry
  2. to define best practices and standard procedures for the use of modelling and simulation
  3. to identify barriers between current practices and best practices
  4. to issue guidelines to help overcome the barriers
  5. to ascertain areas in which breakthrough technologies could be of greatest use and prioritise their importance
  6. to establish the current state of the art and its readiness to become state of practice
  7. to promote RTD projects to address identified requirements
  8. to actively and widely disseminate information about all the aspects listed above within the European automotive industry.

Description of work

AUTOSIM will form a new network of experts that will act as a working group to directly confront the industrial and technical issues briefly aired above. Members of the working group will all be leading individuals in their field, drawn from a selection of organisations representing many sectors of the European automotive industry, highly respected research institutions and technology providers.

This project will collate the best available knowledge and distil it into a series of preliminary reports. To ensure that the work is representative of the needs and views of all of the European automotive industry, a process of wide consultation will be incorporated into the project, providing a vehicle whereby all aspects of the work can be thoroughly discussed and the relevant issues debated.

Through a series of technical workshops, the preliminary reports will be revisited and critically reviewed in the light of feedback obtained during the consultation process. A series of final reports will then be developed which will be actively disseminated to users of simulation technology in the European automotive industry at large. Material will be made available in a variety of formats according to need and subject area. Examples include state-of-the-art reviews (STARs), best practice guides (BPGs) and requirements for RTD.


This coordination action will deliver standard procedures for performing analysis. The impact of this will be to:

  1. increase the efficiency of teams of engineers who are currently performing analysis
  2. broaden the range of personnel who can make effective use of simulation technology, thereby helping to overcome future shortages of skilled personnel
  3. improve the efficiency of companies within the automotive supply chain. Instead of being required to work with a number of different procedures when supplying to different companies, they will be able to adopt one common set of procedures.
It will also provide a series of best practice guidelines. The adoption of these guidelines will lead to:
  1. an increase in the quality and robustness of the use of engineering simulation
  2. improved confidence in analytical results.

    The consequence of this will be an increase in the efficiency of the companies which adopt these best practices.

It will identify breakthrough technologies, which will be of maximum benefit to industry. This will allow:
  1. the coordination of RTD activities to focus on the areas which will be of most benefit to industry
  2. industry leaders to plan their implementation strategies for future simulation capabilities.
Through all of these, the project will strengthen the competitiveness of the European automotive industry.

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Low-cost and High-efficiency CO2 Mobile Air Conditioning System for Lower Segment Cars

The project aims at developing a new high-efficiency, low-cost air-conditioning system using CO2 as a refrigerant for small cars (A and B segments). Methods to assess performance, annual fuel consumption and environmental impact will be identified, constituting a preliminary step for new EU standards.

Tags: Road


In the Sixth Framework Programme, a specific call was published on “…highly efficient air conditioning systems with near zero greenhouse gas emissions and elimination of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) …”

This project addresses that call and its main objective focuses on the development of a new low-cost, high-efficiency mobile air conditioning system based on R744 (CO2) working fluid. This is because the application of these systems to the lower segment cars represents a real bottleneck due to the cost and energy consumption constraints. In fact, the state-of-the-art R744 systems are too expensive and sophisticated for the A, B and low priced C-car segments and light commercial vehicles.

For this reason, the system developed in the framework of the B-COOL project will be cost and energy effective so as to allow an easier and more rapid HFC replacement in the automotive sector.

The B-COOL project contributes to the objectives of the Kyoto protocol by:

  • the reduction of CO2 emissions resulting from high efficiency, in comparison to a non-optimised R744 system or the present R134a system
  • the elimination of CFC/HCFC/HFC refrigerants (100% reduction
  • the availability of a low-cost system to allow its diffusion on small and medium-sized cars (70% of the EU market).


The major objective of the project is the development of an innovative low-cost and high-efficiency mobile air conditioning system based on the CO2 (i.e. R744) vapour compressor cycle for low-cost vehicles, integrating the efforts made recently and addressed to higher class vehicles.

This target will be achieved with a systemic approach that starts with the identification of the most suitable system architecture and proceeds with the development of new components and their optimisation, their integration on the system and on the vehicle.

The development will be supported by the technological feasibility analysis that will lead to the realisation of results suitable for rapid exploitation.

Besides this main objective, methods to assess performance, annual fuel consumption and environmental impact will be identified and validated to constitute a preliminary step for new EU standards.

The B-COOL system (low-cost and high-efficiency R744 MAC) will support the EU efforts to reduce resistance to the HFC ban and allow a rapid diffusion of the new system with the related environmental benefits, thus making EU industries more competitive.

Description of work

The work programme is organised following the logical steps required to develop an automotive air-conditioning system. Firstly, the reference vehicle and major system requirements are identified: target performance, cost estimation and technological aspects.

Then common and agreed assessment methods and procedures will be identified, gathering all the partners’ competencies so as to make the system’s real characteristics evident and to be able to estimate the system’s true environmental impact and perceived performance.

The development of the system architecture and components represents the crucial phase of the project. Using advanced system modelling, the most suitable system architecture and component requirements will be defined, taking into account the constraint of the two reference vehicles. Innovative components matching the requirements will then be designed and realised, and the systems assembled and characterised. The compressors will be derived from the ongoing development of the responsible tier one suppliers, as new developments are not compatible with the timing and budget of the project.

Then the systems will be integrated in the demonstrators, tuned and tested following the procedure identified in the project.

The new systems will be compared with the reference systems and with other competitor technologies in terms of environmental impact and cost.


Two demonstration vehicles will be realised, one based on a Fiat Panda with an automatic climate control and one based on a Ford Ka with a manual air conditioning system.

Both vehicles will be equipped with a specific version of the B-COOL system.

The developed systems will have a target cost of about €30 more than the baseline, will be 10% more efficient and will be equivalent to the references for all the other features.

The following experimental and assessment procedures will be also identified in the framework of the project:

  • assess the system efficiency on a bench
  • assess the additional fuel consumption, the associated comfort level and the specification of the testing facility
  • an algorithm to estimate the mean annual fuel consumption due to air conditioning depending on the geographical area
  • estimate the environmental impact (production, usage and maintenance including direct and indirect effects, dismantling).
  • These procedures will be applied to the demonstrator vehicles and to the reference vehicles so as to create an initial database. They will contribute to the definition of the European Standard to assess the MAC system performance and environmental impact.

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Towards Advanced Road Transport for the Urban Environment

The objective of the CITYMOBIL project is to achieve a more effective organisation of urban transport. At three sites, Heathrow, Castellón and Rome, large-scale demonstrators will be set up to supply proof of concept of innovative automated transport systems integrated in the urban environment.

Tags: Road


Every major city suffers from the problems that are related to increasing mobility demands. Cities have to deal with pollution, congestion and safety problems caused by increasing traffic. Traditional transport systems are not sufficient anymore to cope with these increasing problems.

With the exception of some automatically operated metro systems (Paris, London and Lille) and some recently introduced automated buses and people-movers (Clermont-Ferrand, Eindhoven and Capelle aan de IJssel), transport systems in the present-day European city are mostly of a traditional type.

CITYMOBIL will contribute to innovative solutions that will allow increased mobility in a well-controlled manner, using technologies with low pollution, high safety levels and a much increased efficiency, using either a separate infrastructure or existing roads. In future mobility scenarios, such new transport systems will be part of the urban environment. These new transport systems will be the answer to the new mobility demands of the future society. In our vision, the urban mobility will be greatly supported by new transport system concepts, which are able to improve the efficiency of road transport in dense areas while at the same time help to reach the zero accident target and minimise nuisances.


CITYMOBIL’s ambitious goals are achieved by:

  • Developing advanced concepts for advanced road vehicles for passengers and goods. Most of the earlier projects addressed isolated aspects of the mobility problems of cities, whereas CITYMOBIL focuses on the overall urban transportation problem. However, CITYMOBIL will integrate the results of earlier projects in its deliverables.
  • Introducing new tools for managing urban transport. CITYMOBIL will develop tools that can help cities to cross the thresholds that are preventing them from introducing innovative systems. For instance, the absence of certification procedures and the lack of suitable business models will be addressed.
  • Taking away barriers that are in the way of large-scale introduction of automated systems. Some of these barriers are of a technological nature, some are of a legal or administrative nature: for example, the legal requirement for vehicles using public roads where the driver is responsible for the vehicle at all times, which effectively prohibits driverless vehicles from using public roads.
  • Validating and demonstrating the concepts, methods and tools developed in CITYMOBIL in three European cities. These demonstrations (Heathrow, Rome and Castellón) will be real implementations of innovative new concepts. In a number of other cities, studies will be carried out to show that an automated transport system is not only feasible, but will also contribute to a sustainable solution for the city’s mobility problems, now and in the future.
Advanced Buses / Cybercars
Advanced Buses / Cybercars

Description of work

CITYMOBIL is divided into sub-projects and each sub-project into work packages.

In Sub-Project 0: General management. Activities relating to the IP management and all dissemination and training activities are combined.

Sub-project 1: Demonstrations. This covers the CITYMOBIL activities related to the demonstrations. The demonstrations serve as a laboratory for developing and evaluating solutions and as a source for identifying problems that can be addressed in the project.

Sub-Project 2: Future scenarios. This will investigate how automated road transport systems fit into the expected scenarios for advanced urban transport in the future, in particular analysing how they will contribute to sustainability.

Sub-Project 3: Technological issues. This addresses the technological and HMI issues that are in the way of large-scale introduction of advanced urban transportation systems. In principle, it only addresses those issues that are typical for advanced transport.

Sub-Project 4: Operational issues. This will extend the current requirements, strategies and policies to the new advanced urban transport systems that CITYMOBIL is going to study. The challenge will be not only to achieve a level of service comparable to the one proposed by the current transport modes, but also to improve it.

Sub-Project 5: Evaluation aims at evaluating whether and under what conditions the project has been successful in meeting its objectives. Lines will be drawn for further development of road transport automation.


At the end of the CITYMOBIL project, there will be at least three sites where an actual automated transport system will have been installed and where the first results will have been evaluated. These will not just be demonstrations of technological possibilities, but fully fledged integrated solutions that will be operated and maintained in the long term. For a number of other cities, plans will have been made and concepts will have been developed that will help the relevant authorities to make decisions concerning the introduction of automated transport systems. Legal barriers will have been identified, and political and administrative strategies will have been defined to remove these barriers, so that they will no longer be delaying implementation decisions. Remaining technical problems will have been solved, or at least brought closer to a solution. In general, the advantages of automated transport systems will be much better known and it will be easier for the relevant decision-makers to choose such systems if they offer the most advantageous solutions for their particular mobility problems and requirements.

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Energy COnversion in Engines

ECO-ENGINES aims to set up a virtual research centre (VRC) on advanced engine combustion modes for road transport, giving special emphasis to the use of alternative and renewable fuels, and establishing it as a world reference in the domain.

Tags: Road


Research on energy conversion in engines in the last decade in Europe, Japan and the USA has shown the great potential of advanced combustion modes like CAI, HCCI or CCS in terms of efficiency gain and reduction of pollutant emissions.

They allow for a dramatic reduction in the emissions of NOx from combustion engines, to often less than 1% of those from engines running in standard modes. The complex deNOx after-treatment systems typical of today's cars could therefore largely be simplified, while at the same time complying with the most stringent emission standards.

To a lesser extent this also holds for the soot particle emissions from diesel engines running HCCI modes, which can be reduced by some 20-30% as compared with standard engines.

The definitive advantage is that these emission reductions are achieved while maintaining or even further increasing the high levels of efficiency of the most developed engines. This leads to good perspectives for further reducing the CO2 emissions from engines, achieving the ambitious goals set by the EC and other organisations like EUCAR.

These widely recognised advantages of advanced combustion modes has led to intense research in Europe, Japan and the USA aimed at making them usable in real engine applications.


The overall aim of the ECO-ENGINES is to set up a virtual research centre (VRC) on advanced engine combustion modes for road transport, with special emphasis on optimised alternative and renewable fuels. This VRC will be the result of an integration of the related research activities of major European institutions in the domain, and will include dedicated actions towards education and dissemination. The ambition is to be recognised as a worldwide leader of research on advanced engine combustion modes.

In order to enable ECO-ENGINES to make a definitive contribution to the development of low CO2 and near zero emission powertrains for cars, three research topics (RTs) will be addressed by the VRC, covering all aspects of research on advanced engine combustion:

RT1: Experimental techniques

including research on optical diagnostics to explore flow and combustion inside the combustion chamber of engines, as well as research on experimental techniques for measuring ultra low pollutant emissions.

RT2: Combustion simulation

including research on 3D numerical simulation of fuel injection, flow and combustion inside the combustion chamber of engines.

RT3: Fuel/engine emissions

including research on fuel test methods, procedures to evaluate the performance of fuel/engine couples in terms of CO2 emissions/efficiency and pollutants, and methods to characterise fuels.

Description of work

These overall objectives and ambitions will be realised by implementing a joint programme of activities (JPA) with the following detailed objectives to be achieved during the envisaged three-year funding by the EC:

  1. Create a common knowledge basis by setting up and regularly updating an extensive state-of-the-art survey on researching ECO-ENGINES’ topics;
  2. Define common standard procedures: The objective is to jointly define, use and constantly update basic standard procedures which are the basis of research work. The aim is to facilitate exchanging or comparing outcomes of research actions undertaken by different partners, thus facilitating an integrated planning of research.
  3. Jointly plan and organise new research on advanced combustion modes: The objective is to increase knowledge in Europe within the domain of advanced combustion in engines by triggering new research actions using the ECO-ENGINES resources and knowledge, but it is also open to outside collaborations.
  4. Set up a common education and training: The objective is to set up a common, integrated education and training programme in the domain of advanced engine combustion modes and to seek intense collaborations with partners outside the network and all over Europe.
  5. Actively disseminate knowledge and results: The objective is to ensure a wide dissemination of the knowledge and exploitation of results.


The following results have so far been achieved:

  1. extensive state-of-the-art survey on the three pre-competitive research topics
  2. work on best practice guidelines in the three research topics
  3. definition, planning and realisation of a first Advanced Engine Combustion Summer School commonly organised by network members
  4. Based on 1) and 2), the identification of gaps in research. Filling these gaps is of high European interest
  5. Based on 5), start of defined research projects undertaken by the network partners
  6. Creation of a public and restricted access website to advertise project activities and organise information exchange between the partners.

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Technology Platform for European Road Transport Research

ERTRAC II is the continuation of the Coordination Action ERTRAC (see synopses ERTRAC/506525). ERTRAC II aims at supporting the European tehnology platform, ERTRAC (European Road Transport Research Advisory Council). ERTRAC set up the basic structure for the technology platform and created the Vision and strategic research agenda (SRA), and ERTRAC II is focussing on updating the SRA and on its implementation.

Tags: Road


Over € 28 billion are spent each year on R&D in Europe’s road transport sector. This sector employs more than 9% of the entire EU workforce, generating a turnover that amounts to 20% of the Union’s GDP. Road transport supplies the majority of mobility services demanded by Europe’s citizens and businesses. It is responsible for over 75% of inland freight transport and, as such, plays a crucial role in all European industrial and commercial activities. The importance of road transport is also reflected in a number of high-level policy initiatives, aimed at strengthening the European automotive industry, for which research is a mainstay.

Today R&D activities are largely managed within individual stakeholder groups and Member States. It is apparent that a good alignment between European and national, as well as between private and public research activities, can provide major benefits in terms of economic efficiency, quality of results and reduced time to application of innovation.

In line with the European objectives for competitiveness and sustainability, ERTRAC involves all the main stakeholders in the road transport sector and fosters structured, optimised and integrated R&D efforts across European programmes.


The ERTRAC II Coordination Action will provide a platform to all relevant stakeholders for establishing a consensus on future road transport research directions, and the definition and promotion of European RTD activities such as joint technology initiatives. The objective is to provide the management and organisation, together with technical support, that is required to facilitate ERTRAC achieving its mission. In addition, the co-operation with the European Union services, Member States and other technology platforms will be ensured. Finally, the results of ERTRAC need to be extensively promoted and disseminated towards a large audience of research partners and the public.

Description of work

The coordination activities are structured in five work packages (WP):

WP1: Technology Platform Management: The main aim of this work package is the overall organisational management of the technology platform, including the secretariat.

WP2: Road Transport RTD Networking: The two main objectives of this WP are firstly to promote the coordination of European, national, regional and private R&D actions for road transport in order to increase efficiency and strengthen the European Research Area and secondly, to foster the networking with other technology platforms, as well as with the EC and national bodies in terms of SRA, RTD synergies, finance and governance.

WP3: Strategic Research Agenda: This WP deals with the update of the ERTRAC strategic research agenda, which was published for the first time in 2004. There will be a review of the structure and the content of the SRA.

WP4: SRA Implementation – Promoting Technology Initiatives: This WP is of utmost importance for ERTRAC to be in the ‘implementation phase’ of a technology platform. The SRA implementation has several objectives. The operational focus/promotion of concrete technology initiatives includes the commitment of stakeholders (industry, public authorities, financial community, etc.).

WP5: Dissemination Activities: A proper promotion and communication of the ERTRAC outcome and activities is key to the success of the technology platform.


The first result of the ERTRAC Research Framework (April 2006): This is based on Vision&Challenges and the strategic research agenda which were published in 2004. The ERTRAC Research Framework highlights road transport research priorities for the timeframe 2007-2015. ERTRAC believes that this research framework is useful for the planning of the Seventh Framework Programme as well as for planning national activities. The document is available from the ERTRAC website,

Further deliverables will be:

  • Annual work programmes and status reports.
  • An overview of national transport research activities across Europe.
  • An update of the strategic research agenda.
  • Support for Joint Road Transport Technology Initiatives.
  • Elaboration of finance and governance issues of European Technology Initiatives in road transport.
  • The co-organisation of the TRA conferences every two years and additional dissemination events.

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Green Heavy Duty Engine

In the GREEN project, European HD engine manufacturers join forces with suppliers, academia and leading engineering institutes. The common goal is to promote future advanced engine technologies to achieve lower emissions, lower fuel consumption and improved sustainability for future fuels.

Tags: Road


The development of HD engines is undergoing a rapid step in its evolution. Increased demand for fuel efficiency, emissions and global competition are driving forces. The HD (heavy-duty) engines operate under constraints much more severe than those of passenger cars, such as:

  • higher durability (> 600 000 km) of the engine and of the related after-treatment
  • higher mechanical and thermal stress of the engine (heavier load factor)
  • higher pressure on reliability (up-time), investment and fuel economy.

The above constraints characterise the HD engines for their more general applications: not only trucks and urban vehicles but also the rail traction and the inland waterway vessels of the directive 2002/765.

New technologies will help us in meeting future emission and fuel consumption targets by:

  • a new combustion process enabled by variable components
  • new control strategies
  • considering the engine and the exhaust after-treatment as one system
  • considering sustainable fuels.


The main objective of GREEN is to perform research, which will lead to sub-systems for a heavy-duty engine. The objectives should be achieved with strict boundary conditions for: i) a competitive cost base, and ii) the highest fuel conversion efficiency of the diesel cycle, to achieve near-zero real-world, including off-cycle, pollutant emissions and significant reductions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

The project puts emphasis on diesel engines for trucks and rail applications, and on natural gas engines for city transport applications. The combination of innovation and durability is strongly supported.

The research targets have been chosen to look beyond all legislation known today. Targeting possible sharpening after the year 2010 with a focus on near-zero real-world emissions (NOx 0.5 g/kWh, PM 0.002 g/kWh, ETC Cycle BSFC = 204 g/kWh for diesel and corresponding targets for natural gas) are set.

Description of work

The work in GREEN is divided into sub-project and crossover activities:

HD gas engine for urban areas: with the objective to reach low gaseous emissions and diesel-engine equivalent fuel consumption by variable valve management, cooled EGR for gas engines and close-to-valve multipoint port-gas injection, and comparing this with DI injection.

Enhanced flexible engine: with the objective to find the best combination and concept to reach emission limits beyond Euro 5, flexible engine components/sub-systems and exhaust after-treatment systems.

Innovative control and air utilisation: with the specific objective to develop the sub-systems for a new combustion process with complete air utilisation and to develop the models for a model-based closed-loop emission control, to regard engine and after-treatment as one system in the future.

High BMEP engine: with the specific objective to investigate the advantages and possibilities of a very high brake-mean effective pressure to reduce fuel consumption as much as possible.

The crossover activities link the subprojects further:

Future HD technology adaptation to rail diesel engines and to develop the rail diesel engine in 2012+

Basic investigations and comparison on fuels: diesel – biofuels – GTL

Further development of a comparable injection system for gas engines – electromagnetic operated control valve (EOCV) system.


The project will provide research results and new components that will enable future emission standards and put European HD manufacturers in a more competitive position.

The introduction of valve management and electronic controls for gas engines will make the NG engine competitive for both emissions and greenhouse gases.

The global conflict of fuel consumption and emissions will be targeted for HD diesel engines. New technologies for improving the fuel efficiency without sacrificing fuel economy look promising. Improved high-tech engine components, such as fuel injection systems, turbine-compressors, variable compression ratio, and many others, are now being electronically controlled and equipped for future engines. GREEN also secures compatibility with future sustainable diesel fuels.

The project targets improvement for both urban and long haulage applications. The rapid start and positive early results look promising for the future. The HD sector has previously been supported on a level that is far too low in relation to the impact on the economy and the environment. GREEN proves that a change will be efficiently governed.

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Advanced Protection Systems

The general objective of APROSYS is the development and introduction of critical technologies that will improve passive safety for all European road users in all relevant accident types and severities.

Tags: Road


The European Union is the largest car producing area in the world and has the largest car market. Research and technological development (R&TD) is essential for improving the impact motor vehicles have on our society and safety is one of the key issues in this respect. In the European Union, there are more than 40 000 reported deaths and 1.3 millions casualties as a result of road traffic accidents each year. The annual costs to the European Society due to these accidents are more than € 160 billion, which is twice the entire budget of the European Union. Significant growth in the demand for transport of people and goods is foreseen for the next decade: compared to 1998, experts predict that there will be an increase in passenger kilometres of 24% and in the transport of goods of 38% in the European Union by 2010.

The risk of being fatally injured varies significantly per road-user class. For car occupants, this is 0.8 fatalities per 100 million kms travelled, for pedestrians and cyclists about nine times higher (respectively 7.5 and 6.3 fatalities per 100 million kms) and for motorcyclists even 20 times higher.

More detailed accident data indicate that within the above classes of road users the following accident types are of particular importance (with the highest injury reduction potential):

  • Car-to-car front and side impacts, including impacts with infrastructure (taking into account compatibility issues)
  • Cars to trucks
  • Pedestrians and cyclists impacted by the front of a car
  • Pedestrian and cyclists impacted by trucks
  • Motor cycle accidents with cars and with infrastructure.


  • Development of new injury criteria and injury tolerance values for injuries with high societal relevance, including head and lower leg injuries, and injuries to children and the elderly.
  • Development of new mathematical models of the human body for both the crash and pre-crash phase accounting for arbitrary body sizes.
  • Development of a new worldwide-harmonised, mechanical model of the human body or crash dummy for representation of a small female car occupant in side impact collisions (prototype).
  • Development of knowledge and tools enabling the design, implementation and evaluation of intelligent safety systems, with special emphasis on new sensor and actuator technologies, and generic test methods for the evaluation of pre-crash sensing-based systems.
  • Enhancement of virtual testing (numerical simulation) technology for the design and evaluation of crash protection methods with special emphasis on reliability, efficiency, representation of real world accident conditions and implementation in a regulatory environment.
  • Development and validation of evaluation methods and development of advanced protection systems for injury reduction of pedestrians and bicyclists impacted by the front of passenger cars, with special emphasis on injuries to children and the elderly. Both the primary impact and the secondary impact will be studied.
  • Development and validation of evaluation methods and development of advanced protection systems, including compatibility strategies for injury reduction of car occupants for the most relevant car-to-car accident types, those of front and side impacts.
  • Development and validation of evaluation methods and the development of advanced protection systems for injury reduction in the most relevant type of accidents involving heavy trucks: 1) accidents involving vulnerable road users and 2) passenger cars striking the side of a truck.
  • Development and validation of evaluation methods and advanced protection systems for the reduction of the number and the severity of injuries to motor cyclists (test procedure for motorcycles against road infrastructure).

Description of work

To reach the general objective, the Integrated Project (IP) partners clearly realise that not all the possible and required work can be performed within this project. Therefore the emphasis is placed on the issues with the greatest fatalities/injuries reduction potential, as well as on issues not tackled by previous, current or already planned research activities.

Four sub-projects are related to accident scenarios, e.g. cars, trucks, pedestrians and cyclists, and motorcyclists. Four other sub-projects are related to technologies, e.g. biomechanics, advanced safety systems, virtual testing and accident analysis.


The benefit of the results or the research carried out in APROSYS will only become visible to a small extent before 2010. Much more will be introduced after 2010 and this is due to 1) the pre-competitive nature of the research proposed here and 2) the long lead-time which is typical for the introduction of new systems in the automotive market. Accordingly, the impact of this IP can be largely expected in the period after 2010. Forecasting the contribution of this RTD project to the casualty reduction in a period ten years ahead is a rather difficult and imprecise process. Estimates provided in the APROSYS proposal on a sub-project level, as well as data on the effect of passive safety measures realised in the past, led to the following figures: at least a reduction of 1 000 fatalities per year in the period 2010-2020 and at least a ten-times higher contribution to a reduction in other casualties. The largest effects are predicted for frontal impacts, namely a 50% fatality reduction due to new passive safety measures. This is due to, among others, to compatibility measures and the large-scale introduction of intelligent safety systems. For side impacts, a fatality reduction due to passive safety measures of 40% is predicted and for motorcycles and pedestrians, 25% and 30% respectively.

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Network of Excellence on Advanced Passive Safety

Following the mobilisation of critical R&D mass on vehicle passive safety in EU Thematic Network projects like PSN & EVPSN2, APSN is aiming at a durable integrated European vehicle passive safety research and implementation programme, and the creation of a virtual institute (VI).

Tags: Road


The growing demand for greater mobility in European society has made transportation an essential feature of modern living. However, the price paid for mobility in European society is far too high. Though the number of road accidents dropped significantly at the beginning of the 1990s, the trend has been less marked in recent years. In 2000, road accidents killed over 40 000 people in the EU and injured more than 1.7 million. The directly measurable cost of road accidents is in the order of € 45 billion.

The European Commission advocates a cost-benefit approach in the formulation of future road safety policy: there is economic justification for taking measures valued up to € 1 million in order to save one single life. The White Paper European transport policy for 2010: time to decide calls for a reduction by half in the numbers of deaths on the road in this decade. This reduction can be reached through vigorous research actions to reach socio-economic improvements, among others a European network of excellence on passive safety of vehicles and road infrastructure.

Another important objective is the strengthening of the European automotive industry competitiveness for the future. The integration of knowledge and resources to design and build cost-effective and safer vehicles will contribute to this goal.


The aim of this Network of Excellence (NoE) is to mobilise the European scientific and business expertise in vehicle passive safety to accelerate improvements in road safety in order to reduce the annual road victims in the European Union. The specific objectives of this NoE are:

  • to create a permanent organisation (virtual centre of excellence) in the field of passive safety
  • to further integrate research activities at European, national and regional level
  • to facilitate technology transfer in order to accelerate the dissemination of ongoing research activities
  • to provide a platform for ‘knowledge brokering’ where users and providers are brought together for knowledge transfer
  • to cluster Community funded and nationally funded projects in the field of passive safety
  • to establish links with initiatives in neighbouring fields of interest like active vehicle safety, road infrastructure, railway safety and aircraft safety
  • to identify ‘white spots’ and initiate new RTD projects in the areas of restraint systems, materials, biomechanics and computer simulation
  • to provide a platform for promoting the interests of the vehicle passive safety community with policy-makers and (inter)national legislative bodies
  • to accelerate the dissemination of results of passive safety research, as well as the implementation and harmonisation of new and proven passive safety measures throughout Europe.
NoE APSN Structure
NoE APSN Structure

Description of work

The focus of the APSN activities will be on those topics that will contribute to a progressive and durable integration. In particular:

  • develop and start a coordinated programme for the sharing of facilities and setting-up common research guidelines
  • analyse the financial, legal (including Intellectual Property Rights) and organisational issues regarding the set-up of an association or other type of legal entity, and formalise the collaboration
  • develop and start a coordinated programme for new knowledge generation and sharing
  • develop and start a clustered joint research agenda related to road (vehicles) (passive) safety in consultation and collaboration with other stakeholders in the field
  • develop and start a coordinated programme for the exchange and training of researchers
  • develop and demonstrate the new APSN/VI website portal, hosting the (completed) APSN databases, the encyclopaedia and other functionalities.


The results of the NoE will include:

  • Advanced Passive Safety Network website and portal
  • shared virtual testing capabilities
  • inventory of training courses and existing exchange programmes
  • programme for the exchange and training of researchers/students
  • clustered joint research programme
  • bi-monthly electronic bulletins with information on calls, proposed consortia, kick-off meetings, state of proposals, etc.
  • a durable structure to find and analyse technology trends and market needs
  • a structure to publish the results (e.g. commercial workshops)
  • possible establishment of the VI organisation/legal entity
  • research criteria and legal/financial/organisational guidelines for sharing facilities/tools
  • a permanent structure for setting-up and updating guidelines for biomechanical testing, including ethical issues.

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Central European Research in Road Infrastructure

CERTAIN is a CA that aims to facilitate integration of the new Member States and other Central European countries into the established research and development community of the EU. The project will provide the clustering environment for EC research projects on road infrastructure.

Tags: Road


In line with the European Research Area (ERA), there are two key pillars of the Lisbon Strategy that foster structured, optimised and integrated R&D efforts in the area of European road research. These are the two European technology platforms:

  • European Road Transport Research Advisory Council (ERTRAC), which gathers all relevant stakeholders of the road transport sector, and
  • European Construction Technology Platform (ECTP), which includes specific elements on transport and road infrastructure issues.

Partners from the new Member States, and even more so from the other Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC), have contributed very little to these activities. The main reasons were lack of experience in European co-operative research, financial constraints (difficulties in obtaining national contributions) and poor comprehension of English by the users of the results, which prevented the main results of the European research projects being properly implemented.

This has been happening despite road transport being the primary means of mobility for all European people and goods, including the new Member States and the CEEC. It is crucial for the economic and social development of the entire continent that the road network is in good condition throughout Europe. CERTAIN will assist in overcoming these difficulties and pave the way for more efficient incorporation of the new Member States and CEEC partners into the European research activities.


The main objectives of the CERTAIN Coordination Action are:

  1. To provide a platform for coordinated work and efficient dissemination of results of the two STREP proposals on road infrastructure, dedicated to the new Member States: SPENS (Sustainable Pavements for new Member States) on pavements and ARCHES (Assessment and Rehabilitation of Central European Highway Structures) on highway structures.
  2. To establish and reinforce links with stakeholder in the new Member States and CEEC by organising dedicated workshops and providing the key project deliverables in national languages.
  3. To set the route for more efficient incorporation of new Member States and Central and Eastern European countries partners in future European research by organising training courses for the research project managers from these countries.
The main topic of CERTAIN is road infrastructure
The main topic of CERTAIN is road infrastructure
Ales Znidaric

Description of work

The following tools will be applied to achieve these objectives:

  1. Formation of the CERTAIN cluster in order to:

    • establish and maintain efficient links between the new Member States’ projects and other relevant projects from the area of road infrastructure (Heavyroute, INTRO, NR2C, SILENCE, FORMAT, SAMARIS), and
    • register the end-users from the new Member States and CEEC, and organise their activities.
  2. One of the major reasons that the results of European research have limited effect in the new Member States and CEEC countries is the limited proficiency in English at the level of the end-users. This will be addressed through:

    • development of a multi-lingual web-based platform, to provide links with the end-users, and the means for consistent and efficient promotion of the results
    • organisation of regional workshops in national languages. The participation of end-users from the new Member States and CEEC at international conferences is far too low to allow for the efficient dissemination of European research results.
    • Translation of the key projects’ documents (executive summary reports) will bring the results closer to the end users and will facilitate their faster transition into practice.
  3. Organisation of project management training will recruit potential coordinators for major European research projects. At present, obtaining qualified people from the new Member States and CEEC for these positions in the area of road infrastructure is a serious challenge.


The expected CERTAIN deliverables are:

  1. Project brochure, website and posters.
  2. Multi-lingual web platform for the clustered projects, in order to bring their results closer to the end-users.
  3. Establishment and maintenance of the database of end-users from the new Member States and CEEC, in order to collect and maintain information about experts from these countries in the area of road infrastructure.
  4. Organisation of five national workshops in the languages of the organising countries.
  5. Organisation of training programmes for managers of the research projects, to qualify people for the management of the future European research projects.
  6. Translation of the key reports (executive summaries) of the clustered new Member States projects in up to five different languages of the new Member States and CEEC to be easily understood by the broadest end-users’ society.
  7. Joint dissemination materials for clustered projects to facilitate spreading the results of the clustered projects at different conferences and workshops.
  8. Presentation of cluster activities at the main European transport research events, such as the European Research Arenas in Gothenburg in 2006 and Ljubljana in 2008.

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Advanced technologies for highly efficient Clean Engines working with alternative fuels and lubes

CLEANENGINE is focused on developing modern clean internal combustion engines based on liquid biofuels coming from biomass (biodiesel and bioethanol) and environmentally friendly and ash-free lubes and/or lubrication concepts. The objective is to increase efficiency and minimise harmful emissions.

Tags: Road


In recent years, the main incentives towards biofuel technology were provided by the need to reduce the western world’s dependence on fossil fuels, the demand of the agricultural sector to be opened towards new products and markets, and the environmental need to face the increasing greenhouse effect. For these reasons biofuels represent an attractive alternative to conventional oil-derived energy sources as they can fuel the well-proven IC engines. Their extensive introduction on the market will be principally driven by the results of further studies on their technical performances, and by their cost competitiveness, sustainability and related legislation, regulation and standards.

This project mainly addresses two of these issues: the planned research activities will evaluate and optimise the effect of the combined usage of biofuels and biolubes in current IC engine performances, in terms of efficiency and emissions, and the environmental impact of renewable fuel and lube production and usage phases by the so-called ‘well-to-wheel’ analysis.


The main objective of CLEANENGINE is the optimisation of modern clean IC engines working with liquid biofuels coming from biomass and environmentally friendly and ash-free lubes.

Diesel and gasoline engine configurations will be evaluated and compatible solutions in terms of materials (base materials and anti-corrosion, low-friction coatings), engine part geometry and after-treatment systems will be developed in order to:

  • increase engine efficiency (by reducing internal friction and improving combustion
  • reduce CO2 emissions at the source (taking into account the complete lifecycle of the biofuels)
  • reduce NOx, CO and PM emissions when using mixtures of oxygenated biofuels as bioethanol
  • improve the technological and industrial practice related to the use of alternative fuels in combination with environmentally friendly lubricants
  • increase the utilisation share of biofuels.

Description of work

To achieve the targets mentioned above, the following research areas will be covered:

  • Development of raw materials and additives
  • Evaluation and selection of the best alternative fuel mixtures and additive packages
  • Development of suitable low emission lubricants and lubrication systems
  • Evaluation of the engine materials’ compatibility with biofuels and lubes and the development of new tailored coatings
  • Simulation of injection and combustion phases, and optimisation of injection strategies and engine part geometry
  • Development of specific aftertreatment systems and optimisation of the catalytic converter and filter configurations
  • Lifecycle analysis of biofuels and alternative lubes in all phases from production to usage.

All these activities will be addressed and supported by the continuous feedback given by an extensive engine-testing programme that, in parallel, will evaluate and assess the proposed engine modifications.


The project will deliver optimised car, leisure boat and ship engines capable of running on high biofuel content blends and lubricated by optimized biolubricants, while achieving high efficiencies and very low emissions through specific aftertreatment systems.

CLEANENGINE fulfils an industrial and societal need while facing an environmental problem linked to a currently used mass product, the internal combustion engine. Its outcome will have a large impact and benefit on the quality and lifetime of the engine, the level of pollution and, finally, on increasing the employment deriving from the usage of alternative fuels and oils.

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Ecological and Economical Development of Innovative Strategy and Process for Clean Maintenance, Dismantling and Further Recycling of Vehicle Parts

This project is about the eco-conception of automobiles by using adhesive joining technologies, which include active systems providing for further easy dismantling of bonded parts, at the end of a vehicle’s life or at a maintenance stage, and finding the technologies for activating these systems.

Tags: Road


To achieve the objectives of the End of Life Vehicle directive (ELV), the automotive industry and its suppliers need to come together at the design stage of the next generation of vehicles, and develop innovative processes and methodologies that will be used for maintenance, dismantling and recycling of car elements.

Today, the automotive industry suffers from a lack of solutions that could combine cost-effectiveness, speed, low energy consumption and selectivity for maintenance with the dismantling and recycling of materials, such as plastic, composite, glazing, metals and aluminium parts, which are being used more and more.


The objective of the ECODISM project is to provide ecologic and economic processes to the automotive industry to overcome these difficulties and improve its competitiveness. This will be done through the integration of active systems within adhesives that are expandable when exposing them to an external energy source. To develop processes for debonding operations, the partners will focus their efforts on:

  • specifications of a wide range of active systems, type, temperature sensitivity range and coating preventing degradation
  • a range and type of suitable energy sources, infrared, UV and electrical
  • the technological results of the experiments and the best options for each interface
  • a computer mathematical model identifying the most suitable microspheres with the trigger options to match the adhesive and materials to be bonded and debonded
  • a computer mathematical model identifying the most suitable active systems with the trigger options for the application of curing to match the adhesive and the materials to be bonded
  • processes and methods to use these materials for debonding operations during maintenance and dismantling operations.
  • The consortium gathers 12 partners from six EU countries and Switzerland, and includes three high-tech SMEs. The consortium is representative of the European automotive industry (carmakers, suppliers for glazing, plastic composites, etc.).

Description of work

There are nine work packages merged into four main themes:


  • Materials to bond (for example: glazing to painted metal sheet, composites to composites, glazing to plastics, aluminium to aluminium)
  • Geometry
  • Application methods of adhesives
  • Dismantling specifications, dismantling protocols and life cycle assessment (LCA)

Adhesives and active systems:

  • Integration of active systems within adhesive (thermo-expandable microspheres, blowing agents, etc.)
  • Formulation of adhesives

Assembly line compatibility:

  • Application of adhesives on concrete examples
  • Tests on application methods
  • Ensuring bonding durability
  • Ensuring the durability of the debonding capability
  • Full-scale tests

Energy sources – optimisation and modelling:

  • Selection of adapted activation sources (IR, UV, microwave, etc.)
  • Computer modelling of delivering method energy
  • Computer modelling of the debonding process


The main achievements and deliverables are:

  • Specifications
  • First generation of adhesive active systems
  • Assembly methods
  • Computer model of the debonding process
  • Second generation of adhesive active systems
  • Final reports on bonding and debonding durability
  • Final Report on LCA
  • Dismantling protocol

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Economical and Sustainable Pavement Infrastructure for Surface Transport

Infrastructure for surface transport will be developed using slip forming techniques based on existing asphalt laying equipment and steel fibre reinforced concrete. The new construction concept will reduce construction costs, time and energy consumption, minimise maintenance and make use of waste materials.

Tags: Road


A massive and targeted investment is currently required for the rehabilitation and extension of the European surface transport infrastructure, to provide a system able to respond to the needs of the enlarged European Union (EU), for the benefit of the single market and economic and socio-economic integration. The attainment of these objectives can be facilitated if the construction and maintenance costs, as well as the production lead-times, of the surface infrastructure are minimised.

The main element of surface transport infrastructure is the pavement, which can be either asphalt or concrete. With increasing oil prices the future of asphalt pavements on deep foundations is less certain, due to cost as well as to political and environmental concerns, whereas concrete pavements appear to be more cost-effective than asphalt pavements, as they can reduce the foundation layers and decrease or eliminate the asphalt topping.

However, to provide a truly sustainable solution for concrete pavements, it is necessary to reduce the energy consumption during the production of concrete pavement. The main energy component of concrete pavements (from extraction of raw material through to the placement of the pavement) is the energy used for the manufacture of cement and steel reinforcement. The use of recycled materials appears to be a promising solution for reducing the energy consumption.


EcoLanes’ main objectives are to develop, test and validate steel fibre reinforced concrete (SFRC) pavements that will contribute towards the strategic objectives of the thematic priority area of Sustainable Surface Transport. EcoLanes aims to reduce construction costs in the range of 10-20%, reduce construction time by 15% and energy consumption by up to 40%.

EcoLanes also aims to address EU societal and policy objectives, such as to improve the environmental impact with regard to emissions and noise, and improve the safety of the surface transport infrastructure.

New EU Member States and Candidate Countries have probably the greatest need and potential for new surface infrastructure and, hence, EcoLanes will also target the environments of a new Member State (Cyprus) and two Candidate Countries (Romania and Turkey).

Accelerated load tests performed at the ALT-Lira facility of the Technical University of Iasi
Accelerated load tests performed at the ALT-Lira facility of the Technical University of Iasi
Technical University of Iasi

Description of work

EcoLanes aims to integrate simplicity and innovation to ensure the timely and cost-effective implementation of its findings into the construction and maintenance of surface transport infrastructure. Three key research areas will be addressed to reach the EcoLanes objectives.

  1. Tyre recycling: Techniques and equipment will be developed for post-processing steel fibres extracted from tyres, to arrive at fibres suitable for incorporation in concrete.
  2. Concrete engineering: Development of steel fibre reinforced concrete (SFRC) mixes suitable for slip forming and roller compaction, which have reduced energy requirements and use recycled materials. Both industrial fibre reinforcement and fibres from recycled tyres will be used, as well as low energy cements, pulverised-fly-ash and recycled aggregates.
  3. Transport engineering: The concept of the long lasting, rigid road pavement (LLRRP), made of low energy concrete reinforced with steel fibres, will be developed and technically validated on a circular accelerated testing facility. Numerical analyses and parametric studies will be carried out to develop design models for LLRRPs.


One of the expected results of EcoLanes is the development of fibre reinforcement obtained from waste tyres. This will have a positive effect on the European tyre recycling industry, which currently does not have a sustainable solution for the utilisation of the steel cord extracted from tyres.

Techniques and equipment will also be developed for mixing steel fibres into wet and dry concrete mixes. These will minimise the need for using conventional steel rebars and will therefore have a positive impact on the construction costs of concrete pavements.

The development of design models for LLRRP will effectively facilitate the utilisation of this new concept.

Furthermore, demonstration roads will be constructed in four European countries to validate the results of EcoLanes.

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European road transport research advisory council european road transport 2020 a vision and strategic research agenda

ERTRAC is the European Technology Platform on road transport research. This action is aiming at a better alignment of European, national and private research activities for more economic efficiency, quality of results and reduced time to applying innovation. It is ERTRAC’s mission to explore these opportunities and make specific recommendations for implementation. ERTRAC’s inclusion of all major road transport actors makes it unique and allows a truly holistic and integrated view of road transport issues.

Tags: Road


Over € 28 billion are spent each year on R&D in Europe’s road transport sector. This sector employs more than 9% of the entire EU workforce, generating a turnover that amounts to 20% of the Union’s GDP. Road transport supplies the majority of mobility services demanded by Europe’s citizens and businesses. It is responsible for over 75% of inland freight transport and, as such, plays a crucial role in all European industrial and commercial activities. The importance of road transport is also reflected in a number of high-level policy initiatives, aimed at strengthening the European automotive industry, for which research is a mainstay.

Today R&D activities are largely managed within individual stakeholder groups and the Member States. It is apparent that a good alignment between European and national, as well as between private and public research activities, can provide major benefits in terms of economic efficiency, quality of results and reduced time to application of innovation.

In line with the European objectives for competitiveness and sustainability, ERTRAC involves all the main stakeholders in the road transport sector and fosters structured, optimised and integrated R&D efforts across European programmes.


The ERTRAC approach is key to addressing Europe’s road transport challenges successfully and effectively, for both today and tomorrow.

ERTRAC’s objectives include:

  • providing a strategic vision of European road transport in 2020 and beyond, particularly with respect to R&D
  • defining priorities agreed by all stakeholders
  • aligning European and national research agendas and programmes
  • monitoring progress and adjusting research road maps accordingly
  • providing a platform for ongoing research alignment and co-operation
  • making specific recommendations for large cross-stakeholder research
  • identifying needs for international and global co-operation.

Description of work

The overall objective of the ERTRAC Coordination Action is to provide the management and organisational support together with administrative and technical input, which is required to facilitate ERTRAC in its assessment of European road transport research needs and the formulation of the strategic research agenda (SRA) and its implementation.

The ERTRAC documents are structured according to four main research areas supporting two fundamental aspects of the road sector. The first is the need to provide for free movement of people and the transport of goods, in line with the key objectives of the European Union, both at local and intra-regional levels. This is reflected in the sections for Mobility, Transport and Infrastructure, Safety and Security as well as Environment, Energy and Resources.

The second is the competitiveness of the European industry, addressed in the section Design and Production. The documents were developed through extensive and intense workshops and reviews throughout the sector, involving more than a hundred actors.


In November 2003, the Plenary agreed the basic structure of ERTRAC, which involves all the relevant stakeholders in European road transport. In June 2004, the Vision 2020 was published as a brochure and widely circulated, and in December 2004, the strategic research agenda was published. Both are available as a download from the website. In 2005, the main tasks were the discussion and elaboration of a research framework for 2007-2015, which is based on the Vision and the SRA. The objective is the provision of useful input for planning of the Seventh Framework Programme, as well as for planning national activities. It was published in April 2006 (see the synopses for ERTRAC II).

Furthermore, an overview of national road transport research activities in Europe was initiated, covering 17 countries.

All documents are available as free downloads from the ERTRAC website:

To conclude, ERTRAC could successfully establish a European platform with the leading stakeholders in road transport research and development.

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Intelligent Route Guidance for Heavy Vehicles

The objective of HeavyRoute is to develop an advanced route guidance system for deriving the safest and most cost-effective routes for road freight transport throughout Europe. The system will take into account road user needs, vehicle operating and environmental costs, but also maintenance costs due to the deterioration of roads and bridges.

Tags: Road


The increasing volume of freight transport, together with the increasing gross weights and the changing load configurations of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), has led to accelerated damage to bridges and pavement fatigue, as well as creating major traffic management problems to maintain safety and reduce congestion. For truck operators, there are the combined challenges of reducing ever-increasing fuel costs, maximising efficiency and profitability whilst maintaining safety.

In 2000, the total volume of road transport in the EU-25 was 1 482 billion tonne-kilometres and this is predicted to grow to more than 3 133 billion tonne-kilometres by 2030 (DG Transport and Energy - Trends to 2030). This will have asignificant influence on congestion and damage to the road infrastructure over that period. In addition, freight distribution is predicted to outpace passenger cars as the largest source of CO2 from transport over the period. Also the fatality risks when trucks are involved in an accident are significantly higher than those compared with passenger cars and other vehicles.

Clearly the growth in the volume of trucks, coupled with the increasing size and weight of trucks on the network, will create special problems. Finding the means to reduce the costs associated with the increasing traffic volumes is therefore a major challenge for the road research community, as well as the road authorities and operators.


The overall objectives are to improve road safety and capacity while reducing the negative impacts on the environment and the road and bridge maintenance costs (by reducing the rate of deterioration caused by heavy traffic). The route guidance system aimed for in this project will be built on available and implemented systems, and technologies such as fleet management and logistics systems, guidance/rerouting systems, traffic monitoring and management systems, dynamic map updating and various ITS solutions. The following needs, focusing on different stakeholder and user requirements, will be addressed in HeavyRoute when developing the HGV management and route guidance system:

  • Different routing solutions will be developed taking into account HGV constraints of the infrastructure (bridges, tunnels, roads, environmental zones, etc.), deriving ‘allowable’ routes and thereafter deriving ‘recommended’ routes based on arguments addressing the road safety, energy, environment, infrastructure costs and tolling.
  • An onboard system will support the driver during the journey with relevant local information such as speed limits and overtaking restrictions, as well as relevant changes, i.e. dynamic data on traffic flow, road and bridge conditions, etc. The system will also provide real-time driver warnings and recommended driving to maintain or improve vehicle safety, using vehicle and infrastructure data.
  • Real-time data on road, load and journey will be transferred from the onboard system for road, bridge and traffic management.

Description of work

The activities in HeavyRoute will be focused on the following objectives:

System conception and user requirements:

  • assessment of state of the art in fleet management and HGV guidance systems/services
  • identifying stakeholder and user requirements on an advanced HGV management and route guidance system
  • identifying factors that influence the ‘route optimisation’
  • deriving a system architecture concept

Databases and vehicle/infrastructure interaction models:

  • inventory of available static, periodic and dynamic road, bridge and traffic data in national databases
  • inventory of available effect models for deriving the ‘optimum’ route and reducing impacts on the infrastructures

Route guidance and driving support:

  • design and development of innovative route guidance and driver-support applications for HGVs based on database contents and effect models

Traffic simulation and effects of management strategies:

  • traffic simulation and assessment of possible effects and future scenarios from traffic management solutions implemented on a European scale using route guidance solutions, particularly taking into account critical sections
  • simulation of traffic flows due to different management strategies using economical incentives and legislative means.

Dissemination and clustering of results:

  • effective communication of the objectives and results of the project to road authorities and fleet operators. Road authorities will need to be convinced of the benefits to them – the business case – of providing their data (or collecting new data) which will be needed for the mapping functions.
  • The project will lead towards proposals for a full-scale pilot of the system functionality leading to widespread implementation.


The prototypical HGV guidance applications developed in HeavyRoute, together with the simulation results, will be used to exploit technology and expertise in three directions:

  • to provide an improved guidance application for the transport industry and to link these guidance approaches with fleet management, trip planning and navigation solutions. The main focus when developing the advanced heavy vehicle route guidance system is to be able to derive the fastest, safest and most efficient routes for HGV transport
  • to integrate HVG routing strategies in traffic management centres and guidance service providers
  • to enrich the map provision and EServer solutions by integrating HGV specific attributes in future releases.

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Highly Integrated Combustion Electric Propulsion System

HI-CEPS aims to develop highly integrated powertrains and related thermal-electric auxiliaries for hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) to be verified at bench and vehicle validation levels. The developed devices have to satisfy both the environmental and final-user requirements for the 2010-12 mass market.

Tags: Road


Past experience:

The ‘modern’ HEVs of the 1980s have been investigated to overcome the limits of battery electric vehicles in terms of allowable range and recharge time.

According to this approach, the solutions developed were mainly based on series-range extender hybrids and parallel architectures with extended pure electric (zero emission) range targets. Their high weight-to-volume battery packs made it impossible to apply these vehicles to the mass market.

Present scenario:

The current HEVs for the mass market have been designed by sacrificing the pure electric extended range and utilising newer generation, higher specific energy and lower cost batteries.

These powertrains can be regarded as co-operative hybrids or electrically-assisted ICEs (internal combustion engines). The electric contribution is aimed primarily at reducing the consumption of fossil fuels and CO2 emissions.

The related figures are reassuring as to gasoline engine HEVs, showing an increasing passenger car market in Japan and North America. In Europe, with its greater use of diesel vehicles, it is possible to achieve similar reductions at a lower purchase cost.

Next steps:

To continue with the reductions in regulated and CO2 emissions while developing new solutions with mass-market applicability in Europe.


  1. Develop three different, innovative, integrated series-parallel full hybrid thermal-electric powertrains utilising low-cost and standardised electric devices (e-motors, power electronics and batteries), vehicle auxiliaries and dedicated gasoline, diesel and natural gas engines with specific exhaust after-treatment systems. The adaptation to future fuels and combustion systems will also be taken into account.
  2. To achieve, at vehicle level, both the environmentally friendly requirements (fuel consumption, CO2 and regulated noxious emission reduction) and fun-to-drive characteristics (enhanced transient performance, driveability and comfort) at an acceptable purchasing/operation cost (perceived value).
In order to obtain these results the following three actions will be performed:
  1. Improve the power train efficiency to deliver a larger consumption reduction
  2. Reduce the extra costs through:

    • electric device improvements and standardisation (synergies with the running Hy-SYS IP and among the threee concepts)
    • powertrain component integration and simplification
  3. Act on the ‘final user functions’ (performance, driveability, comfort, etc.) increasing the perceived value.

Description of work

The project is structured into six subprojects (SPs). One SP is devoted to the project management (SP1000) while the other five are devoted to technical activities.

The five technical SPs are subdivided in three vertical and two horizontal SPs.

Vertical subprojects (one for each new hybrid power train):

  • SP3000 - ElectroMagnetic Split Hybrid: with CNG ICE, for passenger cars, up to vehicle validation level
  • SP4000 - Dual Mode Split Hybrid: with gasoline ICE, for passenger cars, up to vehicle validation level
  • SP5000 - Advanced Dual Clutch Combined Hybrid: with diesel ICE, for light delivery vehicles, up to test bench level.

Horizontal subprojects:

  • SP2000 covers the integration of thermal auxiliaries (electrical regeneration, thermal storage systems, air conditioning) and energy management to reduce fuel consumption and emissions, whilst maintaining high thermal comfort for complex hybrid powertrains
  • SP6000 focuses on the boundary condition and load cycle definition, and the final comparative performance and cost assessment of the investigated hybrid systems, taking into account the vehicle safety and powertrain integration needs.


The main expected results are:

  1. Hybrid powertrains assessment, comprehensive validation of the devices and their related control/management strategies for the different operating modes.
  2. Identification of best solutions and operating strategies for thermal and ICE auxiliaries to guarantee:

    • effective integration in the hybrid powertrain architectures
    • complete thermal and energy flow optimisation
    • efficient recovery of wasted energy
    • optimal thermal comfort in the vehicle, both for extremely low and high ambient temperature conditions
    • lower overall emissions and increased life cycle for ICE
    • simplification of exhaust gas after-treatment devices
    • constant emission levels during the vehicle’s lifetime.
The project results will have a useful impact in different application fields. The main ones are:

  • FC vehicles: accelerate the introduction (common electrical devices and management strategies)
  • ICE vehicles: speed up the introduction of new electrically supplied auxiliaries
  • other transportation sectors: synergies with environmental friendly traction systems for boats and/or auxiliaries (buses, etc.)
  • stationary pure electric power generation up to the Combined Heat and Power (CHP) (same electrical architecture and related energy and thermal management strategies) for emission reductions and integration of new functionalities.

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Optimisation of a Hydrogen Powered Internal Combustion Engine

The internal combustion engine is ideally suited for hydrogen application since it offers high-power density at relatively low cost. HyICE is an initiative for automotive hydrogen engine development, which will provide economically feasible and environmentally friendly solutions for the increasing mobility demand.

Tags: Road


To usher in a new era in global energy production, hydrogen can be produced using many kinds of renewable energy sources, including solar or geothermal power. As the only carbon-free fuel no CO2 is released during combustion and it can also be applied for various drivetrain systems.

Increasing interest to accelerate the introduction of hydrogen gave space for using existing technologies such as the internal combustion engine (ICE), which is the most feasible approach considering time, cost and available knowledge. Due to the possibility of bi-fuel operation, the ICE has the potential to stimulate the mid-term transition into a hydrogen-based mobility.


The goal of the project is to create the knowledge for building a highly efficient hydrogen engine with a better specific power than gasoline and diesel at competitive costs.

One key component is the system applied for mixture formation. For the two most promising concepts, direct injection (DI) and cryogenic port injection (CPI), the necessary knowledge concerning design and application has to be created.

As the first logical step, dedicated injectors capable of handling the new fuel with its specific characteristic have to be developed. The processes of mixture formation and combustion will be studied and optimised by the use of test engines as well as CFD calculations.

A third subproject is delivering the supporting technologies, necessary for both engine concepts. These are an ignition system, able to deal with the broad flammability limits of hydrogen, and CFD-models adapted to hydrogen application.

Within the fourth subproject, International Co-operation, an information exchange between automobile industry and researchers from Europe and the USA will extract the maximum benefit out of all efforts and investments made on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

BMW Forschung und Technik GmbH

Description of work

Subproject 1 – Direct Injection (DI):

Injectors for low-pressure as well as for high-pressure DI are developed by Hoerbiger Valve Tec.

The DI combustion system is developed at Graz Technical University (TUG).

The subproject Direct Injection, aims at a multi-cylinder engine, optimised by MAN and the simulation of a free piston energy converter, operated by Volvo Technology.

Subproject 2 – Cryogenic Port Injection (CPI):

The highest vehicle range can be achieved with liquid hydrogen. The properties of this cryogenic fuel fit very well to the requirements of the engine.

The related injectors have been developed and tested.

The optimisation of mixture formation and combustion takes place at BMW.

Subproject 3 – Supporting technologies:

Dedicated ignition system

Several generations of power modules (which integrate both ignition coil and electronics) have been developed by Mecel in Sweden.

CFD adaptation

CFD models have to be adapted to account for properties of hydrogen in both mixture formation and combustion. A URANS (Unsteady Reynolds Averaged Navier-Stokes) approach is the methodology adopted in the simulation work of HyICE. For calculating the combustion process, two models have been investigated. The first one is the ECFM (extended coherent flame model) developed by IFP, France and the second is a Flamelet-based model co-developed by the University of Armed Forces in Munich (UBW) and Ansys Germany.

Validation takes place at an optical chamber, built and operated by UBW, and at an optical engine of TUG.

Both combustion models will be integrated by Ansys Germany into the commercial flow solver CFX.

Subproject 4 – International Co-operation:

This subproject puts its emphasis on the technical co-operation in research activities between the European Community and the USA. The research work of Ford is conducted in Dearborn, Michigan. Additionally, Ford is also the US interface for work that is being carried out at the Sandia National Laboratories, Livermore, California and at the Argonne National Laboratory, Chicago. Furthermore, Ford is supporting H2DI spray penetration and mixing model development, and bench validation work at the ERC of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


The results of the project HyICE are the prerequisites for the further development of an optimised propulsion system including components and supporting technologies:

Subproject 1 – Direct Injection:

The feasibility of hydrogen DI injectors has been shown and the necessary design knowledge has been created.

Mixture formation and combustion are being optimised individually in several engines.

The H2 operation of a free piston energy converter has been simulated and relating design changes have been carried out.

Subproject 2 – Cryogenic Port Injection:

The injectors are working satisfactorily.

The engine tests show remarkable results in power as well as efficiency within the whole work envelope.

With the help of a specially developed simulation model, icing effects within the inlet manifold can be avoided.

Subproject 3 – Supporting technologies:

Dedicated ignition system

The work has been focused on a system that can provide a spark burning mainly in breakdown discharge mode, resulting in higher transfer efficiency to the gas and less electrode heating.

CFD Adaptation

Combustion models for diffusion flames as well as premixed and partially premixed combustion have been adapted to the special properties of hydrogen, validated by experiments on optical devices and engines. After approval, they will be inserted into the commercially available solver CFX provided by Ansys Germany.

Subproject 4 – International Co-operation:

An exchange between European and US research activities has been established, which has proved to be very fruitful for all involved parties.

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Hydrogen and Fuel-Cell Technologies for Road Transport

The overall objectives of HyTRAN are to advance the fuel-cell technology towards a commercially viable solution by developing components and a system. Two innovative integrated fuel-cell systems will be demonstrated:

Tags: Road
  • 80 kW direct hydrogen PEM fuel-cell system
  • 5 kW APU diesel reformed gas PEM fuel-cell system.


Local and global environment issues, as well as the consumption and supply of energy, are major challenges for the future. A fuel cell is an ideal device to generate electricity from either fossil or renewable fuels as it is clean and efficient. By using fuel-cell propulsion running on hydrogen, the vehicle has (local) zero emission. For a fuel cell with fuel-processing technology used for propulsion or auxiliary power units (APU), major air pollutants will be substantially reduced. Hydrogen fuel cells are therefore increasingly seen as a potential propulsion technology of the future for road transport. Additionally, fuel-cell APUs – possibly coupled with on-board fuel reformers – are also seen as a promising technology for both light- and heavy-duty vehicles. However, despite the potential of these technologies to reduce the environmental impact of road transport and to improve energy efficiency, both technical and economic barriers need to be overcome for them to be successfully introduced into mass markets. Issues to work on are the fuel-cell stack, components and main subsystems including the fuel processor and auxiliary components, the fuel-cell system and the vehicle integration, as well as the choice of fuel with its implications for technology and infrastructure.


The scope of the HyTRAN project is to advance the fuel-cell technology towards solutions that are commercially viable. This will be demonstrated in two fuel-cell systems. The components and sub-systems are considered as major bottlenecks for fuel cell-based vehicle systems. HyTRAN is therefore largely focused on the development of the necessary components and sub-systems to make them meet the actual requirements derived from the two applications.

The challenges deal with factors such as cost, durability, weight, volume and efficiency which all need to be improved. The project has compiled targets for all these factors, which have to be met for commercial products. Based on the commercial targets, project targets have been elaborated which would be a leap forward from today’s R&D status towards a commercial product. The plan to meet the project objectives leads to the development and innovation on both a component and system level. A multitude of components and subsystems will be developed and integrated into advanced systems, which will be tested and evaluated.

TP1: Fuel-cell vehicle
TP1: Fuel-cell vehicle

Description of work

The need for breakthroughs and innovations at the component level in order to meet the project objectives leads to the following developments within HyTRAN:

  • innovative 80 kW direct hydrogen stack with strong weight and volume reduction, increased efficiency, durability and start-up time, and with innovative MEAs
  • 5 kW reformate fuel-cell stack: work on innovative electro-catalyst and MEA elements, introducing novel catalysts and electrode structures
  • innovative humidification/dehumidification apparatus
  • heat exchanger and radiator customised for the application
  • micro-structured diesel steam reformer and gas purification units.

To validate the progress towards these objectives, two corresponding technical platforms (TP) will be developed and used for assessment:

  • TP1 – Powertrain: development of a compact system for traction power by an 80 kW direct hydrogen PEM fuel-cell system implemented in a passenger car
  • TP2 – APU: development of a compact 5 kW auxiliary power unit for both light-duty and heavy-duty vehicles, including micro-structured diesel oil steam reformer, clean-up reactors, reformate hydrogen stack and balance of plant components.


In general, the first three years of the project will be mainly devoted to the development of innovative components to widen the technology. The last two years will then focus on the integration of these components into subsystems, including tests and preparation for implementation into vehicles.

During the first year, the main events for developing the hydrogen fuel-cell platform were stack design, characterising tests, air supply, water and thermal management studies. This work focused on the definition of the specification that could make the realisation of a scalable FC system possible, considering the required characteristics of efficiency and compactness. These activities later resulted in many key issues being identified and ‘frozen’. Major efforts have been focused on testing the stack on sensitivity, cycles and durability.

Continued activities have been devoted to developing the key components and providing a viable system design for the diesel-fuelled FC APU system. During the second year, progressive development of the fuel processor, which is a vital part of the APU system, has been made. Catalysts are now available for each stage of the reforming and CO clean-up system, and have been matched to the operating conditions identified from the system modelling activities. Prototype micro-channel plate reactors and fuel and water vaporisers have been designed, constructed and successfully tested.

TP2: Fuel-cell APU
TP2: Fuel-cell APU

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Ionic Liquid-based Hybrid Power Supercapacitors

The ILHYPOS project aims at developing green, safe, powerful and high-energy hybrid supercapacitors for application as peak power smoothing and energy recuperation devices in fuel-cell (PEM) powered electric vehicles and in small energy production plants (such as CHPs).

Tags: Road


The demand for clean energy is rapidly expanding worldwide and one of the most promising solutions is non-polluting energy production by fuel cells. Supercapacitors (SCs), due to their capability to deliver high specific power in a few seconds, are considered as electrical energy storage devices for smoothing the short-time power burst required in transport and stationary applications of fuel cells. Commercial SCs are double-layer carbon SCs (DLCS) which make use of electrolyte solutions consisting of a salt dissolved in an organic solvent, which permits relatively high operating voltages (around 2.5 V). The main drawback with these SCs is that the organic solvents do not often fulfil the requirements of environmental compatibility and safety for vapour generation, flammability and explosions. This is the case for DLCSs with acetonitrile-based electrolytes, which are the most common high-voltage DLCSs on the market. The high vapour pressure of these electrolytes requires a careful and expensive thermal control. Temperatures above 40°C, normal in fuel-cell vehicles and CHP (combined heat and power) systems, may cause the degradation of present SCs in terms of performance and safety. The volatility of organic solvents increases sharply with temperature, making SCs potentially unsafe beyond 50-60°C and, generally, non-environmentally friendly with the presence of polluting chemicals.


The hybrid SCs to be developed in ILHYPOS are based on the use of ionic liquids as electrolytes and on a novel hybrid configuration using electronic conducting polymers (ECPs) as positive electrodes. Ionic liquids are excellent ionic conductors, virtually non-volatile and thermally stable up to 300°C, with a high working voltage (in excess of 5 V). These properties make ionic liquids excellent candidates as electrolytes in SCs with improved performances: specific energy and power of about 15 Wh/kg and 7 kW/kg can be reached.

The objectives identified to overcome the limitations of present SCs, by searching for materials suitable for ionic liquid-based SCs, are:

  1. synthesis of ionic liquids with improved properties (ionic conductivity, electrochemical, chemical and thermal stabilities) at low temperatures (down to -20°C), as well as at 60°C and above
  2. synthesis of ECPs optimised for the use as positive electrodes
  3. identification of high surface area carbons (e.g. activated and aerogel) optimised for the use as negative electrodes
  4. investigation of the electrochemical performance of current collectors. Surface treatments will be developed onto the Aluminium current collectors to decrease the series resistance.
Finally, ILHYPOS SCs do not contain polluting chemicals, largely used in present SC (organic electrolytes substituted by ‘green’ ionic liquids), thus making them highly innovative products.

Example of foil production equipment
Example of foil production equipment

Description of work

The project structure logically streamlines and cross-links all the activities related to material R&D, material and cell component scale-up preparation, and design and prototype construction up to final application-specific testing in order to integrate expertise and equipment better, and to reach the project objectives efficiently and timely.

During Phase 1 (Electrode Materials R&D), academic and basic research organisations work on the optimisation of the electrode and electrolyte materials, significantly improving on the overall technical performances of each single component with respect to the present state of the art. With Phase 2 (Development and Production of SC Materials), the focus will be on the scale-up processes for optimising the material production. In Phase 3 (Application Requirements and Full-scale Prototype Production), a specific application study will be performed by two end users in collaboration with a research organisation as a hybrid vehicle configuration investigator, and, based on these studies, hybrid SC components will be designed and assembled in the final prototypes. In Phase 4 (Application Testing), testing procedures will be developed and used to verify the performance of the prototype experimentally with the respect to the project targets, which are competitive with present SC performance.


The expected results and deliverables from the ILHYPOS project are manifold and various in natures: scientific, technological and market-oriented with social and economical impacts. To reach the planned targets, the ILHYPOS participants will:

  • prepare ionic liquids in large amounts, demonstrated at a level of 50/100 grams and extended to the level of at least 2 kg per batch
  • prepare ECPs in large amounts, demonstrated at a level of 50/80 grams and extended to the level of at least 2 kg per batch
  • prepare electrodes in large amounts, demonstrated at a level of 1-10 cm² and extended to the level of at least 1 m² per batch
  • develop the LAMCAP® technology (soft-packaged laminated SCs), which should improve the performance of the hybrid SCs greatly (specific energy and power)
  • compare the performances obtained with the requirements for fuel-cell vehicles and CHP applications.

The ILHYPOS achievements will favour:

  • the positioning of Europe as a leader in the new field of high voltage and environmentally safe SCs and leadership in the field of ionic liquids
  • the relief from more polluting chemicals largely used in present SCs (organic electrolytes substituted by ‘green’ ionic liquids)
  • a green future based on hydrogen and fuel cells, by favouring a larger and faster introduction of cleaner vehicles, and small and more efficient delocalised power generation systems.
Synthesis route of low-temperature ionic liquids
Synthesis route of low-temperature ionic liquids

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Infrared Microsystem for Polluting Emission Control on Cars 2

An in-vehicle sensor, detecting hydrocarbons (HCs), carbon monoxide (CO) and particles in the exhaust is to be developed using the spectroscopic narrow-band absorption technology in infrared. The fast response will make it possible to control emissions during transient operating conditions.

Tags: Road


In order to address the future near-zero emissions for transport vehicles, a fast response, onboard measurement system for exhaust gas components is an excellent tool for the control of internal combustion engines (ICE) and advanced exhaust after-treatment systems, as well as the specific vehicle emission performances (on board diagnostics, for example). This system is intended to achieve accurate and reliable exhaust gas emission measurements for the detection of several gas species, respecting competitive costs as well as the necessary required durability. To be able to fulfil these stringent requirements an onboard gas sensor, based on the infrared optical technology, has been developed. Narrow band emitters, based on a resonant micro-cavity design, have been realised for the respective absorption bands of the various gas constituents to be detected and measured with a single broad spectral band detector, also developed within the framework of this project.

This technology is applicable for a variety of transport modes: road and railway, marine propulsion sector, as well as the aircraft industry. The sensor system specifications have been defined to comply with those various fields of applications. Beside exhaust gas particles, fast sensor response times are targeted to transfer the advantage of fast optical measurements into in-situ internal combustion engine control strategies.


The sensor system specifications have been defined to comply with the various fields of applications. Fast sensor response times are targeted on one side to transfer the advantage of fast optical measurements into in-situ ICE control strategies. On the other side, accurate and absolute low-level exhaust gas concentration values are targeted for exhaust after-treatment control and diagnostics. The reference transparency measurements, necessary to correct for any opacity changes in the optical path, shall also be used to extract the information on the exhaust gas particle content. The sensor will comply with the typical automotive reliability requirements.

The entire sensor system was developed in respect of these technical boundary conditions but also to comply with the typical automotive environmental (packaging, temperature, vibrations, robustness, durability, etc.) specifications and the representative commercial targets.

Description of work

Narrow band emitters, based on a CdxHg1-xTe resonant micro-cavity design, have been realised for the respective absorption bands of the various gas constituents to be detected and measured. These emitters consist of a light-emitting active heterostructure layer and two multilayered Bragg mirrors of a thickness of about 5 um coupled directly onto a pumping laser diode. A low-cost detector, based on the bolometer technology and suitable to work with this sensor system, had been defined and realised in the frame of this project.

The sensor system integration into the engine exhaust system, together with the adequate electronics consisting of the emitter laser diode drivers, the detector amplifiers and the signal processing, have been developed.

A probing chamber containing the exhaust gases is inserted into the optical path between the narrow band emitters and the broadband detector. The exhaust gas is supplied to the probing chamber through a conditioning unit. The exhaust gas-conditioning unit controls pressure and temperature and prevents condensation, particularly in cold start conditions. Systems were developed to prevent particles from blinding the windows among which mechanical, aerodynamic or chemical systems.


In summary, the signal at around 170 nV/ppm was rather strong, but with high noise content. Even with the complex temperature control, the long-term stability and repeatability were poor.

For the detection of particles, opacity measurements with the selected optical and the related signal processing system are projected to detect particles in the required area for current and future engine technologies.

In the frame of this project, the following risks had been identified:

  • Sensor targeting tailpipe out application
    • requires high sensor sensitivity, accuracy and robustness
    • complex sensor temperature management required
    • Emitters (micro-cavity)
    • cross sensitivity to other gas species
    • relatively low optical power
    • increased requirements on sensor design (high sensitivity and accuracy), resulting in high system complexity
  • Bolometer detector currently performs > 20% below requirements
  • Data acquisition and signal processing
    • new sensor requirements (tailpipe out) and the current performances of the emitters and detectors are considerably driving up the requirements on the electronics, i.e. modulation, sampling, etc.
  • NOx measurements are not possible because of the interaction with water vapour (H2O) in the exhaust.

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Information Network on QUiet European road Surface Technology

The project aims at coordinating the dissemination of research on the use of low-noise road surfaces in European countries that have less access and experience in that field. A complementary objective is to promote European harmonisation in the field of road-surface noise classification.

Tags: Road


Recent estimates indicate that more than 30% of EU citizens are exposed to road traffic noise levels above that which is viewed acceptable by WHO, and that about 10% of the population report severe sleep disturbance because of transport noise at night (EEA, 2003). The application of road traffic noise mitigation measures to address the problem of road traffic noise is by no means fully developed. Several problems exist which interfere with the effective control of noise emission from roads. In the EU Green Paper on future noise policy published in 1996 (Commission of the European Communities, 1996), it is estimated that in Europe the external costs of traffic noise, which take account of such factors as quality-of-life costs and effects on health, are 0.2-2% of GNP. In total, therefore, a rather significant part of the economy of Member States is affected by noise impact and noise reduction policies. In the same Green Paper, the significant potential for road traffic noise reduction by the use of special low-noise road surfaces was mentioned as a major issue. An EU-funded project, SILVIA, completed in August 2005, has developed a Guidance Manual that aims to make it possible to derive the full benefit from this kind of noise control approach by using noise-reducing surfaces.


The general objective of the proposed project is to foster the use of low-noise road surfaces throughout Europe.

To that end, the first specific objective is to disseminate the knowledge, technology and guidelines developed by the SILVIA project as well as relevant aspects from other projects including SILENCE, ITARI, IPG and Leiser Strassenverkehr. This will be achieved by means of workshops for decision-makers, road authorities, contractors, road engineers and policy-makers in European countries that were not involved in SILVIA. Priority will be given to the new Member States, which, in general, have less experience in the field of traffic noise control.

The second specific objective is to set up a users’ network and operate the equipment and procedures developed by SILVIA for classifying and labelling low-noise materials and technologies, testing their conformity of production, and certifying the testing and measurement apparatus. The purpose is to encourage European harmonisation of equipment and procedures and interchangeability of the results with a view to providing a strong base for the future standardising work at CEN level.

The Guidance Manual produced by the SILVIA project
The Guidance Manual produced by the SILVIA project
FEHRL, Brussels, 2006

Description of work

The work is divided into three work packages (WP).

WP1 ‘Workshops’: the organisation of regional workshops in six countries, with an invitation to the 14 neighbouring countries that were not involved in the SILVIA project. The programme of these workshops will mainly consist of presenting the most recent knowledge about using low-noise road surfaces for traffic noise control. It will also give local stakeholders a chance to present the views of their country.

WP2 ‘Users Group’: setting up a users’ network for the classification system proposed by the SILVIA project. The system associates a labelling (or type approval) procedure and a conformity of production testing procedures. It also includes certification procedures for the equipment used in the classification activity. Expertise can also be exchanged and developed within the group so as to prepare the ground for future CEN standards.

WP3 ‘Management’: this covers the general management of the project.


The deliverables are:

D01 to D06: the six workshops and their proceedings

D07: the set up of the users group and the report of its initial meeting

D08: the final activity report of the project.

The impact of the project will be to develop the use of the principles and procedures of the SILVIA Guidance Manual as widely as possible across the EU. The project will provide road authorities with the necessary tools to procure low-noise road surfaces and raise the awareness of the decision-makers about the benefits of implementing low-noise road surfaces while encouraging, as a result of the users group, an effective implementation. Road authorities will be better informed and aware of the potential benefit of resorting to low-noise surfacing technology so that they will support the necessary standardisation work. Due to the knowledge disseminated through the workshops and to the initiation of a users group, they will be able to send competent, motivated experts in the appropriate standardisation and regulation groups at national, as well as European, level.

Acoustic classification, labelling and conformity of production procedures for road surfacing are currently on the agenda of standardisation organisations, namely ISO and CEN. In order to achieve a consensus on a standard, there are two basic prerequisites: namely that a majority of Member States have sufficient experience of the methods and equipment to be standardised and that those methods and equipment are already sufficiently similar and comparable. This is not yet the case. The project will stimulate the acquisition of measuring equipment and the use of procedures set up by SILVIA in those countries not already suitably equipped, and favour the harmonisation of those methods and equipment throughout Europe.

Thus the project will encourage the use of an effective instrument in the implementation of the EU Directive on Environmental Noise (particularly with regard to the action plans due by July 2008 and every five years thereafter).

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Modular Lightweight Sandwich Bus Concept

Multimaterial technology (sandwich and/or hybrid materials) is becoming increasingly important in new vehicle design. Public service vehicles (buses and coaches) are regarded as primary targets for application of sandwich construction and multimaterials, which play a major role in the transportation industry of both industrialised and developing countries. The proposed project will be focused on the development of a novel technology to manufacture bus/coach bodies using multimaterial sandwich panels.

Tags: Road


Bus manufacturing is a niche market compared with the car market. It is estimated that there are more than 500 000 buses in circulation in EU countries alone. The bus industry uses extensively welded fabrication, which is labour intensive in nature. In order to stay competitive and maintain employment, bus/rail manufacturers will have to produce more attractive products and reduce production costs, thus new concept designs, materials and assembly methods will have to be developed and applied. Currently there are no buses/coaches or rail rolling stock in the market using the design concepts and composite sandwich materials to be developed within this project.

The project aims to explore the potential benefits offered by integrated composite sandwich material in passenger buses/coaches as a case study for other potential applications in trains, ships, trucks, cars, vans, etc.

The new vehicle concept will be benchmarked with current steel vehicles through a life cycle analysis (LCA) in order to implement the new Integrated Product Policy (IPP) principles, leading to a more environmentally friendly vehicle.


The main overall objectives of the project are:

  • to solve the problem of reducing weight and production costs of land transport vehicles through the development of a technology of modular bus/coach construction, using ‘all composite’ multimaterial sandwich panels instead of a steel/aluminium spaceframe lined with sheets of different materials (metallic or non-metallic)
  • to devise design methodologies that decrease production lead time through reducing the number of components and functional integration, and allowing for dismantling, easy repair and recycling
  • to develop high quality urban transport
  • to contribute to the shifting of balance between modes of transport
  • to contribute to improved road safety
  • to contribute to improved quality in the road transport sector.

Description of work

The work plan is divided into several tasks that will cover the development of a novel modular architecture of a bus structure based on composite sandwich materials. The following aspects will be researched:

  • develop new vehicle architecture, based on modularity guidelines
  • study concepts of sandwich materials available in the market or produced in other EU-funded projects; compare their properties with requirements of stiffness, crashworthiness and manufacturability for bus and rail; study the possible processing methods and select the most applicable processes for large structural components
  • provide a validated and safe design technology for joining sandwich panels, fibre-reinforced composite sheets and metallic inserts
  • develop numerical models based on FEM to analyse the static, dynamic and modal behaviour of the body of the vehicle in order to guarantee that the ‘all composite body-in-white’ of the vehicle has the same flexural and torsional stiffness and modal behaviour of state-of-the-art metallic bodies
  • demonstrate the crashworthiness of the concept vehicle and ensure that the bus structure meets the requirements of the European Directives and regulations (rollover, seat and belt anchorages)
  • develop lifetime prediction techniques for the sandwich structural concepts developed in the project
  • produce a design which minimises the total whole-life cost of the vehicle
  • validate the concepts developed experimentally through the testing of a bodywork cell section.


The following results are expected at the end of the project:

  • novel concept of a vehicle structure based on composite sandwich materials with a higher functional integration
  • database of sandwich material properties and manufacturing processes, process simulation, material constitutive equations suitable for vehicle manufacturing
  • development and test of a fibre-optic health monitoring system
  • database on structural adhesive properties suitable for bonding composite sandwich structures and concepts for load introduction/transfer
  • collapse behaviour of the sandwich concept material and body-in-white
  • physical models of the static and dynamic behaviour of sandwich structures
  • analysis of life cycle costs.

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New Integrated Combustion System for Future Passenger Car Engines

The NICE Integrated Project was proposed by the European automotive industry, and given the highest responsibility level. The main objective of NICE is to develop a new integrated combustion system that, independent of the type of fuel, achieves the highest fuel conversion efficiency.

Tags: Road


The project clusters of the Fourth and Fifth Framework Programme developed advanced technologies for Otto-cycle engines (in ADIGA and GET-CO2) and diesel-cycle engines for passenger cars (in ADDI and D-ULEV). These combustion systems present opposite problems: the Otto-cycle has a high fuel consumption but with low emission levels, while the diesel-cycle shows very low fuel consumption but with substantial problems in meeting low emission levels. In the 2002 annual review of Valencia, a combined combustion system able to join the advantages of the two cycles was imagined for the first time and this is now being considered by NICE. The approach will also support, as an intermediate stage, the definition of innovative diesel- and Otto-cycle engines, to be considered as by-products of the research. The network will establish a reference legislative frame and linkages with other research projects. Particular care will be devoted to favour the integration process of the NICE sub-projects.


The main objective of NICE is to develop a new integrated combustion system that, independent of the type of fuel (i.e. neutral fuel), is able to achieve today’s highest fuel conversion efficiency of the DI diesel engine (43%), while complying with a zero-impact emission level. As a result of the gained knowledge and realised technologies of such an integrated combustion system, innovative diesel- and Otto-cycle engines, to be considered as by-products of the NICE research, will be developed. These by-products will allow Europe to maintain the leadership in the production of internal combustion engines in the years 2010-2015, while allowing the completion of the integrated combustion system in an innovative powertrain, which will take us to 2020. The fully flexible powertrain will be characterised by very high fuel conversion efficiency, mainly using newly designed bio and/or alternative fuels and gas, in the given emission constraints.

Description of work

The NICE IP is divided into four sub-projects:

  1. enlarged HCCI-diesel/CAI-Otto combustion process under transient operation
  2. compressed/spark ignited variable engine: based on gasoline or diesel engines combining the advantages into a new combustion system, with high EGR, supercharged and adapted to bio-fuels
  3. future gas internal combustion engines with diesel equivalent fuel consumption
  4. improved CFD tools and modelling: the main R&D objectives are:
    • sensible increase of HCCI/CAI region in the engine map
    • bio-fuel specifications addressed to the new combustion system
    • the combination of different electronic control units (ECU) to define new advanced systems including ECU-algorithms, real-time models and software tools for automatic validation, hardware-in-the-loop tests and calibration
    • advanced control systems for mixture preparation and combustion, required to adapt the injection and combustion strategy to the recognised fuel composition
    • a predictive, affordable and ‘useful in practice’ numerical tool describing new low emission highly efficient combustion processes.


The focus of months 13 to 24, regarding sub-projects A1, A2 and A3, was to finalise the procurement and production of test samples and advanced sub-systems, to assemble single cylinder and multi-cylinder engines, and to start the test bench investigations. The main task for the sub-project B1 was to use CFD models to assist the sub-projects A1, A2 and A3 as well as improve or generate new models.

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New Road Construction Concept

What will the European road system look like in 2040? How can innovation deliver solutions to the challenges of the future? These are the two questions which NR2C aims to answer. NR2C provides a long-term vision of road infrastructure, based on new concepts, and develops specific innovations to support this vision in three areas: urban, interurban and bridges.

Tags: Road


European civil infrastructure systems represent huge public investments and they are expected to provide service for very long periods of time. This means that future developments in the transport of goods and people must be assessed and planned well in advance. Looking ahead to the future and considering the probable developments in society requires a search for proper solutions.

Furthermore, the enlargement of the European Union has heightened the acute need for a sustainable integrated European surface transport network. Even if there are different starting points for deciding on the future, between Eastern and Central Europe on the one hand and Western Europe on the other, the future for the various regions of Europe will not differ. Freedom of travel and communication, as well as freedom of exchanging information and technology will contribute to the creation of a similar basic level of needs and demands all over Europe. The national and regional cultures, the economic situation and the political leanings of the authorities will determine the priority and speed of implementing trends and developments, but the main differences will become equalised in the year 2040. All the countries are or will be confronted by a shortage of clean environment, energy and space, with an increasing demand for mobility.


NR2C is a quest for conceptual and technical answers to the mobility and transport demands of the future. It aims to generate future-oriented initiatives for accessibility problems and issues related to road infrastructure. It will develop long-term perspectives, concrete pilot studies and research recommendations, linking long-term visions and ideas to short-term actions.

The vision can be considered as a focal point for policy-makers and engineers in taking the right decisions concerning use, design, construction and maintenance of infrastructure.

Innovations developed in each of the three areas – urban, interurban and bridges – are in accordance with concepts identified in the vision (reliable, smart and safe, green, and human).

In urban areas, the development of design models for multi-modal platforms and the development of eco-infrastructure which mitigates road traffic pollution answer to the human and green objectives.

In interurban areas, two studies aim at reducing consumption of rare resources and supporting the recycling of material or using waste. Another one limits the disturbance to the road users by improving the maintenance process.

With bridges, the needs are for durability, a facility to build and a move towards using light and prefabricated structures made with new materials.

1: Road of the future 2: Eco-infrastructure - Traffic road nuisance mitigation (noise, vibration, air and water pollution)
1: Road of the future 2: Eco-infrastructure - Traffic road nuisance mitigation (noise, vibration, air and water pollution)

Description of work

Based on large surveys carried out on road stakeholders, NR2C will identify safe and environmentally friendly infrastructure construction and maintenance concepts. Innovative concepts will be ranked and the most promising developed for further studies, aimed at establishing feasibility and clarifying unsolved problems.

NR2C is divided into work packages (WP): WP0 – vision, WP1 – urban and suburban infrastructure, WP2 – interurban infrastructure, WP3 – bridges. Special care will be taken with dissemination and clustering in WP4.

NR2C will be carried out in three phases:

Phase 1 – survey and analysis: this phase is designed to clearly identify future user needs and expectations. It consists of enquiries, surveys, focus workshops and brainstorming sessions to build the vision. In parallel, state-of-the-art reports on innovations in urban and interurban areas and concerning bridges are provided.

Phase 2 – assessment and selection: during this phase, innovations, feasibility studies and preliminary models are carefully assessed and the most promising ones selected for further development.

Phase 3 – testing and recommendations: innovations selected in Phase 2 will undergo detailed design, laboratory or pilot tests, which will lead to specific recommendations.

This work will culminate with the mid-term workshop and the final seminar.


NR2C will provide 24 deliverables.

NR2C Vision is based on four key concepts – reliable, green, smart and safe, and human – converted to ideas for solutions and future research areas.

In urban areas, the two innovations studied are:

  • development of design models that can be used as a tool to assess urban projects
  • eco-technic infrastructure, which combines the most innovative technologies to mitigate road nuisance: noise, vibration, air and water pollution. The most original work is relevant to air pollution with the development of a prototype able to abate pollution rates.

In interurban areas, four innovations are studied:

  • high-performance underlayers with low-cost materials and high percentages of re-uses: layers with a different ratio of reclaimed asphalt are submitted to durability and fatigue tests
  • crack-free semi-rigid pavement: the aim is to demonstrate the feasibility
  • optimisation of maintenance process: based on rating trees by analysing the influence of bad climatic conditions, the aim is to provide effective solutions
  • roadway perception using infrared technology: it demonstrates how infrared characteristics of a road environment scene can be used to improve a driver’s vision under bad conditions

In the bridge section, elements of slab will be designed with new materials, which can be used alone for small bridges or be supported by structural elements for greater spans.

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Powered Two-wheeler Integrated Safety

The aim of this project is to develop and use new technologies to provide integrated safety systems for a range of powered two-wheelers, which will greatly improve primary safety. PISa will contribute to the general EU target of 50% reduction in road accident fatalities.

Tags: Road


Currently, almost 40 000 people are killed every year on EU roads. About 6 500 of them are drivers and passengers of powered two-wheelers (PTWs) (i.e. motorcycles and mopeds). Motorcycle or moped travel carries a risk of death per kilometre travelled that is 20 times higher than that for car travel. PTW accidents now represent a major subject for road safety in Europe. The safety of vulnerable road users, including motorcycle and moped riders, is one of the priorities of the European Community.

Developing countries have a much lower level of motorisation and the road usage pattern is significantly different from those of developed ones. The proportion of PTWs in these countries is extremely high and the traffic usage patterns are very complex. In India, for instance, PTWs account for about 80% of the domestic automotive sales. This means that these countries are exposed to a much higher level of road accident risk. Typically about 39% of the annual 336 000 road traffic deaths in South East Asia are PTW users. India’s automotive policy (2002-2010) has given a major thrust to improving the road infrastructure, which is abysmally poor in comparison to the growth of traffic (7-10% per annum). While this will largely help in decongesting the roads and reducing the probability of accident occurrence, the motor vehicle rules are being continuously improved to enhance the design of vehicles for safety.


The objective for the PISa project is to combine sensors and actuators to:

  1. avoid 50% of accidents where a collision was not inevitable
  2. reduce the impact speed, and hence reduce the injury severity by one MAIS integer for 50% of accidents where a collision was unavoidable
  3. prevent 50% of the single vehicle loss-of-control accidents.
The PISa main scientific and technical objective can be summarised by:
  1. Identify the most frequent causes – precipitating factors and contributory factors – of PTW accidents and how the rider interacted with the PTW during the pre-crash phase
  2. Examine rider and PTW interaction when riding along known accident sites
  3. Assess and measure rider behaviour in dangerous manoeuvres identified from the accident analysis and instrumented PTW by using computer models
  4. Assess and measure the PTW behaviour and response in dangerous manoeuvres, identify potential areas for improvement by use of triggered control mechanisms on, for instance, the suspension, brakes, steering
  5. Identify existing technologies and assess their usability in PTWs.
  6. Develop a PTW safety system that integrates sensors, warning devices, and actuators that will reduce the incidence and severity of PTW accidents
  7. Assess the costs of the PTW safety system and the benefits in terms of reduction in accidents and injuries
  8. Fit the prototype integrated safety system to at least two PTWs and evaluate them on a test track and road using different riders
  9. Invite various dignitaries to observe the behaviour and hence the benefits of the integrated system during track and road tests.

PTW integrated safety concept
PTW integrated safety concept

Description of work

The PISa project will develop advanced integrated safety systems similar to those fitted to cars. It will comprise sensors to detect a potential emergency, an advanced braking and suspension system that will respond to inputs from the sensors and warning devices to assist the rider. The system will take human reactions to information, warning and support systems into account. The (pre-crash) sensors could be linked to a black box that fires an airbag or other passive safety devices when the system has decided that crash avoidance is not possible, thus creating a genuine integrated safety system.

Specific sensors and actuators integrated into an operational safety system for PTWs will be developed to allow for driver warning and assistance; improving braking and stability is innovative and beyond the current state of the art. The aim is for the system to reduce the incidence and severity of up to 50% of PTW accidents.


PISa will produce 36 deliverables. Of these the most important are:

  • a report summarising the accident scenarios and causations in which integrated safety systems are considered likely to make a positive contribution from the statistical accident data
  • estimate of the impact of integrated safety devices on the fatalities/injuries
  • integrated system – sensors (including a configuration suitable for the motorcycle state observer), logic control, warning devices, intelligent brake and suspension component for motorcycle(s)
  • evaluation of collision mitigation and avoidance strategies
  • prototypes of the selected safety devices and laboratory test results
  • a motorcycle fitted with a second phase prototype system(s) that can be used to demonstrate the performance and benefit.

PISa will decrease the number of PTW accidents and their consequences, thus reducing the societal cost, including medical costs.

Forecasting the contribution of PISa to the casualty reduction in a period ten years ahead is a rather difficult and imprecise process. In the APSN Roadmap of future Automotive passive safety technology development, 2004, a reduction of 25% in motorcycle fatalities by 2030 due to passive safety measures alone is predicted. A higher percentage is expected for PISa based on the integrated approach, i.e. avoidance in 50% of accidents where a collision was not inevitable, reduction in impact speed and preventing 50% of the single vehicle loss-of-control accidents.

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Realizing Enhanced Safety and Efficiency in European Road Transport

POMEROL intends to develop high-powered, low-cost and intrinsically safe lithium-ion batteries by using a breakthrough in materials. The materials and batteries will be used for fuel-cell hybrid and conventional hybrid drivetrain automotive applications.

Tags: Road


The technology to be addressed in POMEROL is on Li-ion batteries for hybrid vehicles, primarily for fuel-cell hybrid vehicles (FCHEV). Several years of intensive worldwide R&D efforts have been dedicated to solving the problems of lithium metal cycling efficiency in rechargeable lithium batteries. In the early 1990s, metallic lithium was replaced by a carbon anode able to form intercalation compounds, so-called Li-ion. The potential use of this battery technology for the ICE-HEV automotive applications and fuel cells under development is clearly a highly important issue and is responsible for a major part of the size, weight and cost challenges facing all organisations in the attempt to reach a true market position for these applications.

With an adequate choice of materials, a very long life cycle can be achieved. However, cost, abuse tolerance and power remain major issues for the technology development in hybrid drivetrains.


The challenging objective is to develop new materials, which will greatly reduce the cost of high-power lithium-ion batteries to €25/kW, one of the very critical issues for a widespread development of this technology for fuel-cell hybrids. This objective will be achieved, along with two others, to provide a high-power battery with a long life and an intrinsically safe electrochemistry. Technical and cost specifications are targeted for the battery, the cell and each new material to be developed in order to reach these goals.

POMEROL will provide a technological breakthrough ahead of the state of the art for adapted materials for Li-ion batteries in the following required domains:

  • low cost, high-power materials for positive and negative electrodes
  • highly stable positive electrode materials with adequate power levels
  • stable non-reactive electrolytes.

Description of work

We propose innovative solutions through the development of speciality materials (LiFePO4, lithiated metal fluorinated oxides, non-flammable ionic liquid-based electrolytes and high-performance graphitised carbons), which will respond to the very ambitious challenge of adequate low cost, safety and life. POMEROL combines the complementary skills of seven industrial partners and specialised subcontractors, all having proven expertise in the research, development and production of materials and batteries. Having automotive end-users, material suppliers and a battery maker in the Consortium will allow for a rapid validation of the results, saving time and resources.


The aim of POMEROL is to develop high-power Li-ion batteries as core breakthrough technology for hydrogen, fuel cell hybrid systems and ICE-HEV for automotive applications.

The deliverables of the project include deliveries of the new materials scaled-up during the contract, the design of clean and efficient processes to use these materials inside Li-ion batteries, the assembly and test of Li-ion cells/modules using these new products.

The work will contribute to EC priorities through beneficial effects on the cost, environment (reduced fuel consumption and exhaust emissions of urban transport) and more efficient energy use and storage thanks to high efficiency batteries.

When successful the batteries developed in Pomerol will contribute to Li-ion batteries being increasingly recognised as a generic clean battery technology that will apply to all fields of energy storage including:

  • automotive applications, as the main target, with the aim to achieve fuel savings >25% over the next 10 years. Emissions of CO2/pollutants will be reduced accordingly.
  • a large number of standby and stationary applications including association to renewable energy based power systems (DER and RES).
  • LEO or GEO satellites.
  • portable applications, where it has become the reference technology

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Safety In Motion

SIM project deals with the development of an innovative concept vehicle with new safety devices that will result in a decrease in the number of powered two-wheelers (PTW) accidents and related consequences for riders. An integrated (matrix) approach to solve safety issues for PTWs will be implemented.

Tags: Road


Over 6 000 of the 40 000 fatalities on European roads in 2001 were related to powered two-wheelers (PTWs). Compared to the overall number of victims on the roads, this figure represents 15% of this dreadful aspect of our society. The European Commission has launched the third Road Safety Action Plan with the ambitious goal of reducing the fatalities by 50% in 2010. With this goal, the SIM project will play a key role in the reduction of PTW riders’ fatalities and injuries by identifying a suitable safety strategy and providing an integral safety solution. According to the matrix relationship between the three main factors or pillars for safety (motorbike, motorcyclist and infrastructure) and the different aspects related to accident dynamics, from the a priori-event to the crash event (dealing with preventive, active and passive safety), the Safety In Motion project focuses on the vehicle safety aspects. These will include the human-machine-interaction through the enhancement of vehicle stability and control (active safety), development of inflatable protections (passive safety) and innovative human-machine-interface (preventive safety). The most relevant element in SIM is the ambitious objective of developing a comprehensive safety strategy for motorcycles, structuring co-operation with existing research projects in order to cover all the different fields of application.


The SIM project will focus on active and passive safety aspects, mainly from a PTW point-of-view. Preventive safety will also be covered, especially considering human-vehicle interaction. Focusing on vehicle peculiarities, it should be stressed that riding a PTW is a complex task because the balance conditions can only be obtained in a dynamic way and path change is more complex than for a four-wheeler (by actions involving the whole rider-plus-vehicle system). As PTW riders are one of the most vulnerable road users, the main objectives of SIM are:

  • to identify a suitable safety strategy for PTWs
  • to enhance preventive and active safety acting on electronic vehicle management and improving human-machine-interaction (HMI)
  • to focus on integral passive safety devices.

The objective of active safety devices onboard is to substantially improve each of the elements contributing to vehicle stability and balance in all riding conditions. Even if the main aim of SIM is to avoid accidents, passive safety systems are essential to mitigate consequences in case of inevitable precipitating events. SIM will also implement and evaluate human-machine interaction systems, based on ADAS (advanced driver assistance system) technology.

Preventive, active and passive safety aspects will be integrated into the same prototype in order to develop and validate a comprehensive safety strategy for PTWs.

Description of work

The SIM project consists of six work packages (WP). WP3, 4 and 5 are focused on technological development activities.

WP1 deals with the overall coordination of the project, ensuring the management of the activities dealing with financial and technical administration.

WP2 aims to identify accident scenarios and evaluate technical solutions and potential improvements. Moreover, activities carried out in this WP will be devoted to links and collaboration with other current R&D projects focusing on PTW safety.

The main activities of WP3 are the definition of active and preventive safety, vehicle dynamic systems, electronic control of active system implementation, HMI and comfort, and active and preventive safety systems integration.

The work in WP4 is focused on the development of highly effective passive safety systems for motorcycles that will act if a crash event occurs.

In WP5, the feasibility of integrated safety concepts applied on motorcycles will be established by definition of the technical tests to be run, the technical assessment of the overall integrated system and the HMI strategies, evaluating in terms of potential reduction of accident events and potential mitigation of their consequences.

WP6 is responsible for correct and widespread dissemination of information and results generated with regard to integrated safety on motorcycles.


SIM’s aim is the development and implementation of a new concept vehicle that intrinsically enhances PTW safety, merging the handling of classic PTW and the stability of passenger cars, by developing and implementing active, preventive and passive safety devices. The expected results are:

  • development of electronic active devices (e.g. enhanced anti-lock braking system, traction control and brake-by-wire) for powered two-wheelers
  • development of a passive safety algorithm to activate passive safety devices
  • adaptation of protective devices located on the rider (garment) and on the vehicle (inflatable leg protections).

A new generation of the anti-lock braking system is considered, with a better behaviour in cornering and steering, and adaptable on wet road surface conditions. Electronically controlled suspensions for the optimisation of load-shift in acceleration/braking will be implemented, together with a traction control system. A tailor-made integrated passive system for PTWs will be developed and tested with algorithms, sensors and actuators for the activation of the passive system. Protective devices on the rider and on the vehicle will be adapted. Special focus will be devoted to the innovative dashboard designed to optimise the information flow to the rider via the helmet. All the devices and systems will be integrated to generate a prototype as an integral safety solution.

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Strengthening Road Transport Research Co-operation between Europe and Emerging International Markets

SIMBA aims to increase road transport research co-operation between Europe and the emerging markets of China, India, Brazil and South Africa by establishing a collaboration network that will bring together the key stakeholders in the field of intelligent transport systems (ITS), road infrastructures and automotive developments.

Tags: Road


Every year more than 1.17 million people die and over 10 million are crippled in road accidents around the world. Road accidents cost about 1% to 3% of a country’s annual GDP, which amounts to approximately €110 billion every year for developing countries, almost twice as much as the total development assistance they receive. These losses undoubtedly inhibit the economic and social development of these countries. Improvements in safety applications or support systems in vehicles can make a significant contribution to crash reduction and so limit the high number of casualties.

Congestion is also closely linked with road safety. It affects the flow of goods and people, and both business and leisure travel. In both rural areas and intercity corridors, traffic is disrupted by incidents, maintenance operations, detours and many other problems. To the traveller, congestion means lost time, missed opportunities, frustration, and a waste of personal resources. To the employer, it means lost worker productivity, delivery delays and increased costs. Speed, reliability and the cost of urban and intercity freight movements are increasingly affected by congestion and the cost of congestion in OECD countries is estimated at around €670 billion.


The main objectives of the project are to increase road safety, improve mobility and enhance transport efficiency.

In order to achieve this, the SIMBA project will:

  • prepare, support and facilitate the rapid adoption and transfer of technologies and research results
  • define R&D priorities and future co-operation areas
  • make recommendations for new innovative road research activities to be launched locally and in the EU
  • increase the visibility of the European industry and support the industry to respond to emerging business opportunities.

This will be done through the following three enablers: an intelligent transport system (ITS), automotive technological development and road infrastructure.

The main activities of SIMBA will be to organise events in the EU and emerging markets that will serve as a means for fostering closer ties between all the countries in the road transport sector and exchanging knowledge in the fields of ITS, road infrastructure and automotive technological development. The main outcome will be trans-national networks of key road transport stakeholders that can help define the priorities, research needs and future co-operation areas for road transport.

SIMBA Project
SIMBA Project

Description of work

The aim is to create a co-operation network between Europe and the emerging markets that can be used to disseminate the state of the art of national research activities and to map out future research co-operation opportunities.

The project’s work packages represent the four main areas of activity necessary in order to achieve SIMBA’s objectives:

  • Project management
  • Definition of research priorities and strategies
  • National activities
  • Dissemination

Due to the geographical spread of the project, national coordinators have been chosen for all the countries/regions involved in the project (Europe, China, India, Brazil and South Africa). This will facilitate the project coordinator’s management of the project, particularly in terms of defining national priorities and preparing the project events. It will also ensure that the right stakeholders are involved at the local level.


SIMBA will bring together European intelligent transport systems (ITS), road infrastructures, vehicle manufacturers and technology providers with their counterparts in China, India, Brazil and South Africa in order to establish a co-operation network that will discuss how to increase road safety, mobility and transport efficiency in these countries through the exchange of technological expertise and closer co-operation. The project will map the national and regional RTD activities, policies and future requirements, and propose demonstration cases to the regional stakeholders, organise seminars, business meetings, and industry visits in order to maintain a close contact between the key players.

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Sustainable Production Technologies of Emission-reduced Lightweight Car Concepts

SLC pools the expertise and resources of 38 organisations to develop new lightweight vehicle concepts up to 50% lighter than present high-volume cars. SLC will address present limitations on advanced material processing, multi-material joining technologies and simulation tools (crash, fatigue, cost and sustainability).

Tags: Road


The European Commission estimates in its White Paper, European Transport Policy for 2010: time to decide, that the demand for passenger transport in the EU will rise by 24% between 1998 and 2010, with an expansion of the car fleet by 3 million vehicles a year. This, together with the fulfilment of the EC directive on end-of-life vehicle recycling of 95% recycling rate, is a key challenge for the European transport industry if it is to enable a sustainable mobility in Europe.

As 28% of the emissions of CO2 are related to transport (of which 84% are by road transport), reduction of CO2 emissions in road transport is crucial to achieve the targets agreed in the Kyoto Protocol. Weight saving is one of the most effective ways to reduce fuel consumption and thus CO2 emissions of road transport. An example for the potential environmental impact of weight saving in SLC is described in the figure below.

Addressing these challenges while maintaining a vehicle’s safety performance is crucial for the competitiveness of the European automotive industry, which employs over 12 million EU citizens. Only by maintaining the knowledge-intensity of automotive manufacturing at a maximum level can the EU avoid massive transfers of car production to lower wage regions in the world, so it is imperative to preserve and increase the high-quality employment.


Today it is possible to construct vehicles with considerable weight reductions in expensive small/medium volume series. SLC focuses on drastically reducing the weight of mass-produced vehicle structures (e.g. Golf, Astra, Megane, Punto, etc.) and addresses specific challenges such as a low acceptance rate of risk and quality variance, short production cycle times, low manufacturing costs, short time-to-market and recyclability.

SLC’s main objective is to develop the integrated knowledge and technological capabilities required to design, engineer and manufacture multi-material car bodies at mass volumes (1 000/day) with a substantial weight reduction of up to 50% of body-in-white (BIW), combined with reduced raw material consumption of up to 30%. This will compare to series vehicles at manufacturing and assembly costs that do not significantly exceed those of state-of-the-art series cars of the same class (i.e. average costs of up to €5/kg weight savings).

To overcome these challenges, knowledge and technological capabilities will be developed in three main areas:

  • concepts and design (for parts, modules and BIW)
  • forming and joining technologies (including surface quality)
  • tools and enabling technologies (design, simulation and multi-parameter optimisation tools).
Potential reduction of C02 emissions of a compact class car
Potential reduction of C02 emissions of a compact class car
Volkswagen AG

Description of work

The multi-material concepts development approach avoids any mono-material-driven design methodology. It puts the overall vehicle’s functionalities first, and then deploys them to sub-modules/parts, making the optimal material choice on a part-by-part basis based on overall vehicle performance. This is the driving force steering the research in other areas, favouring functional requirements-based competition among different materials and technologies.

In parallel to concept development, SLC will research on advanced material processing (FRP, light weight alloys, advanced steel, etc.), multi-material joining technologies (e.g. welding, brazing, adhesive bonding, mechanical joining and others), design/simulation tools needed for multi-material vehicles/parts (crash and fatigue behaviour, LCA and costing) and recycling technology applicability. Finally, the SLC front structure demonstrator will be built up, and virtually and physically tested.

SLC is structured around four technical subprojects covering the following domains:

  • vehicle design and engineering
  • forming and joining technologies
  • design, simulation tools and other enabling technologies
  • the actual development of a front-end structure demonstrator and virtual car body.

The exploitation of the research results will be supported to ensure that the first high volume series cars can be on the road in 2012.


The main result of SLC will be a virtually designed multi-material lightweight affordable car-body concept (including a front structure demonstrator for results validation) fitting in with the scenario of up to 1 000 cars/day offering 30% reduction in weight compared to the 2004 benchmark cars on the market. SLC experiences will also result in a library of multi-material architectures.

SLC will deliver forming technologies with reduced manufacturing cost and/or cycle times. Other forming technologies shaping high performance external panels (while providing A-class surface quality) and new joining technologies for cost-efficient high-volume multi-material assembly will also be delivered. The body assembling sequence will be optimised. Moreover, SLC will analyse their applicability in less stringent mid-volume vehicle classes as well as in other transport modes (including rail).

Finally, SLC will provide the tools and technologies required for multi-material concept design under industrial conditions. These will be shaped as databases and toolboxes integrated in simulation software for crash, fatigue, static, costs, LCA, and offering robust and accurate predictions for multi-material designs developed in SLC.

Through a large participation of the automotive industry and through coordination of R&D exploitation by EUCAR, the SLC results will find their way to the engineering departments and production sites.

Preliminary lightweight body concept
Preliminary lightweight body concept
SuperLIGHT-Car project

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Sustainable Pavements for EU New Member States

The aim of the project is to develop appropriate tools and procedures for the rapid rehabilitation of road pavements using materials that would:

Tags: Road
  • behave satisfactorily in a typical climate
  • have an acceptable environmental impact
  • be easy to incorporate within existing technologies
  • be cost-effective and easy to maintain.


The standard of road infrastructure differs throughout the European Union Member States. In general, the means of transportation are of a lower standard in the new Member States, but the present volume of heavy road transport requires a sustainable road infrastructure immediately.

There is a constant need for new resistant pavement materials that should comply with EU regulations. Due to the priority of motorway construction, the standard of maintenance of other roads has been lowered, resulting in an increased need for effective road maintenance and improvement over the years to come. The materials and technologies now used in the new Member States differ from those adopted in common practice in the EU-15.

SPENS will focus on developing procedures for producing and implementing improved materials for road construction, taking into account the local tradition, the availability of materials and construction techniques, as well as the specifics of roads that have already been constructed.

The research work will concentrate on the assessment of existing road conditions and maintenance planning, on pavement renewal and the upgrading of roads, and on the environmental impacts of roads.


The overall objective of the SPENS project is to generate knowledge to enable a more rapid rise in the standard of the road infrastructure, by developing appropriate tools and procedures for the long-lasting and more cost-effective improvement of roads.

Efficient and economic rehabilitation of the existing road network can be attained if reliable and scientifically based information is available on both present pavement conditions and current actions about pavements. A new systematic decision-making methodology about pavement rehabilitation and upgrading will contribute to sustainable surface transport.

The proper use of new techniques, such as the reinforcing of pavements, can bring economical and ecological benefits. Guidelines will indicate the best practice on how to use these methods and materials.

The development of new techniques, which allow for the incorporation of recycled waste materials of different origins into building materials for roads, will contribute to savings in natural raw material resources.

An uneven and rough road surface gives rise to higher fuel consumption, exhaust emissions, costs for vehicle wear and road traffic noise. The research will contribute towards the implementation of pavement types with high durability. Instructions for the selection of pavement types with low noise emissions can reduce the cost for noise abatement measures, which are a growing cost factor in the construction of new roads.

Example of an under-designed pavement
Example of an under-designed pavement

Description of work

The research work will be organised into four technical work packages, and will address the specific problems of the new Member States.

Since financial resources for road maintenance and rehabilitation are very limited, sophisticated pavement management systems can provide results upon which long-term optimum decisions can be made. The research of one work package will focus on techniques for gathering the proper input parameters and the development of a systematic methodology analysis of the deterioration caused by traffic.

The research work outlined in the work package ‘Improvement of pavement structures’ will show the potential of new techniques for the improvement of new and existing flexible road pavements. For example, the efficiency of different kinds of reinforcement for road widening and rehabilitation will be established, and a practical model for the optimisation of an asphalt mixture design will be tested. Within this work package the benefits and limits of waste and by-product materials, including recycled materials, for road construction will be studied.

Evaluation of materials and pavement layers appropriate for road upgrading will be analysed in a separate work package, which will be focused on modified bitumen as asphalt binders, high modulus asphalt mixtures, and their actual field performance. Laboratory work will be concerned with a number of mixtures, the most promising of which will be tested in the field, taking into account the specific climate and traffic loads.

The work package ‘Assessment of the impact of roads on the environment’ will focus on the characterisation of different types of road pavements with regard to environmental features and traffic noise emission, taking into account the typical compositions and pavements used in the new Member States.

The research work will gain from clustering with other on-going research projects, but will be oriented towards implementation, and will focus on the issues which are the most important for end-users such as road administrations and contractors.


Sustainable road infrastructure improves mobility, has an important economic effect and also improves quality of life.

The project aims to develop new construction concepts for sustainable and cost-effective road surfaces through the use of materials and technologies commonly available in the new Member States, paying special attention to environmental impacts.

SPENS will produce publicly available practical guidelines for the topics addressed within the research. An extensive effort will be made to ensure the wide and rapid dissemination of outcomes to the key stakeholders and for the exploitation of the results, especially in the new Member States. A project brochure and a website, as well as a multi-lingual web platform within the CERTAIN coordination action, will be prepared in order to bring the results closer to end-users.

Recording of surface and road parameters
Recording of surface and road parameters

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The project is focused on the selection and assessment of an integrated active after-treatment system, compliant with Euro V regulations and beyond and capable of superior performances pursued via the generation of activated chemical agents via two alternative ways, a catalytic and an energy-based approach.

Tags: Road


Despite the diesel engines environmental impact, there has not been an application for any after-treatment technology for a long time. In the last few years, diesel emissions have had to face increasing worldwide public pressure, which has led to more and more severe emission regulations. Although catalyst-equipped Otto-engines are nowadays cleaner than diesels, as far as soot and NOx production are concerned, diesel engines are preferred in almost all heavy-duty applications.

Since the first diesel engine emission regulations were issued, several engine modifications have been developed to reduce pollutant species production. While CO and HC emissions are manageable through the use of an oxidation catalyst, NOx and particulates are a harder task to handle and abate. Optimisation of the engine’s combustion towards low NOx emission and soot emission has to face a trade-off. The necessary compromise between NOx and particulate emissions make advanced after-treatment technologies a must to meet the current and future regulations; Euro IV regulations, at present in force, have been met by all car manufacturers thanks to the extensive use of after-treatment devices, in close synergy with engine management strategy. Anyhow the future emission limits will force the use of innovative after-treatment components/systems capable to contemporary reduce both NOx and soot emissions.


The specific objective of the proposal is to develop, procure and test the needed components and integrated systems, in order to achieve the following targets:

  • EuroV (and beyond) emission levels for passenger cars, particularly in terms of NOx emission
  • low fuel/energy penalty (< 2 %)
  • compatibility with the engine and vehicle systems
  • system operation and maintenance that is fully transparent to the vehicle user
  • cost-competitive system with a complete state-of-the-art after-treatment system.

From the outset, system integration is the leitmotiv of the project. The system will have to be an automotive one, and this will be ensured by a partnership strongly focused on automotive exhaust technology development, manufacturing and application. Efforts will be made to improve each single component of the pursued integrated technology. A scientific and rigorous approach will be followed:

  • lab-scale testing of single devices and of pre-prototype assemble systems
  • scale-up testing of both systems on the engine bench
  • vehicle testing in real conditions for final assessment of the most promising technology.

Such a development process will follow the guidelines of a typical automotive development: this will ease the technology transfer for industrial exploitation of the results.

Description of work

Specifications and boundary conditions will be the first indispensable step to make the achievement of quantifiable results in terms of efficient after-treatment devices. The core part of the project is divided into two work lines:

  • catalyst-based approach and energy-based approach to the generation and exploitation of activated agents
  • developing dedicated after-treatment equipment, required to exploit the output of the activated agents’ production devices.

The two work lines will produce lab-scale integrated systems, which will be extensively tested; also, a system simulation tool will be developed within the project, which will support the industrial application of the technologies under investigation. Providing a tool for activated agents’ production and exploitation simulation will allow the integration of existing software and so facilitate a quick industrial exploitation of results.

The application engineering will transfer the developed systems from lab-scale to full-scale on the test bench for implementation onto a state-of-the-art engine exhaust line. This step provides the basic understanding of the technological capabilities in real working conditions. From the two approaches, the most promising technology will be selected for the implementation of a state-of-the-art vehicle for the final assessment.


The mains project deliverables will be:

  • Development of a complete software package for the simulation of catalyst and energy-based after-treatment systems and assessment based on experimental dataset.
  • Scale-up of the catalytic and energy-based systems for the engine test bench experimental campaigns to asses the system functionality, assess it in different engine working conditions, assess the compatibility with engine systems, the emission abatement efficiency assessment in terms of exhaust pollutant removal efficiency and counter pressure/compatibility with engine systems.

This will allow performing an objective and straightforward comparison whose output will be the final project deliverable:

  • Selection of the most promising technological route for the final assessment on a vehicle.

    The system that results in being the most promising between the two explored technological routes will be finally assembled on a vehicle for the evaluation of the system capabilities in real driving conditions and in standard driving cycles. The positive environmental impact of the project is clearly visible, considering the increasing number of vehicles equipped with diesel engines and their emissions mainly consisting of NOx and fine particulate matter. The proposed project intends to provide an alternative solution to these problems by applying novel concepts to exhaust after-treatment engineering.

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Integrated System for driver TRaining and Assessment using Interactive education tools and New training curricula for ALL modes of road transport

TRAIN-ALL aims to develop a computer-based training system for the training and assessment of different land-based driver cohorts (motorcycle riders, novices, emergency drivers and truck drivers) that integrates multimedia software, driving simulator, virtual driving simulator and onboard vehicle sensors into a single modular platform.

Tags: Road


Over 80% of all traffic accidents can be directly attributed to the human factor so emphasis must be given to driver operator training. Traffic participants range from car and motorcycle to truck drivers and all need to be trained in a specific way. Indicatively:

  • novice drivers of passenger cars have no possibility of enhancing risk awareness and need training in other higher order skills.
  • motorcycle drivers have no experience on using safety equipment and low experience on driving different types of motorcycles.
  • heavy vehicle drivers get most of their experience on the road and are often involved in specific accident types.
  • drivers of emergency vehicles only get a few possibilities to practise on the complexities of interaction with other traffic participants.

There is a pan-European consensus on the fact that driver training needs to expand away from its current focus on controlling the vehicle in traffic, so as to cover ‘higher level’ strategic factors. TRAIN-ALL will improve initial and continuous driving training in order to stimulate road users towards a more responsible behaviour. In this way the project will contribute to the European Road Safety Action Programme’s goal of halving the number of road fatalities in 2010.


The main objectives are to:

  • prioritise a set of training scenarios for each driver type
  • develop a common and concise ontological framework for computer-based training (CBT) tools, functionalities and scenarios
  • develop a cost-efficient and valid methodology to assess simulator reliability and fidelity
  • employ intelligent agent technology in order to develop CBT with AmI-based traffic participants
  • develop co-operative training scheme and co-driver training (for emergency vehicle co-pilots) scenarios and tools
  • develop the appropriate P2P tools to allow CBT networking and even real-time collaboration
  • develop a virtual instructor module that will allow autonomous and cost-effective multi-user training by CBT.
  • develop and test the method of adaptive training
  • develop appropriate training schemes and scenarios for CBT in the use of new driver assistance and information systems
  • use an existing motorcycle simulator and adapt it accordingly
  • develop cost-effective, high fidelity, low dizziness and modular driving simulator tools for passenger cars and trucks, and a virtual driving simulator for passenger cars
  • develop new, improved training and assessment curricula for drivers
  • evaluate the viability, usability and usefulness of the developed tools and curricula in ten pilots
  • estimate the potential road safety enhancement due to the developed tools and curricula
  • produce detailed exploitation and business plans for the developed tools.
The TRAIN-ALL cube: target groups in relation to the training media and the training dimensions that are considered within the project
The TRAIN-ALL cube: target groups in relation to the training media and the training dimensions that are considered within the project

Description of work

Work starts with benchmarking and classification activities on CBT tools and curricula for driver training and assessment, to lead to a common CBT and assessment model and prioritisation of training requirements.

The development encompasses building a common system architecture for distributed interoperable driving simulators (ontology-based), and a knowledge management tool to collect and process centrally the trainee performance data from different simulators, as well as a simulator validity assessment methodology.

Enabling technologies will be built, including an ambient intelligence framework, co-operative driving and group training module, an immersive simulation platform for virtual reality (VR)-based training, CBT tools connecting internet network supporting scenario sharing, a virtual instructor and debriefing module, simulation sickness aversion principles and guidelines, enhanced reality and adaptive training module.

The new modules are integrated into different simulator prototypes (motorcycle, passenger car, truck, immersive (VR) simulator and modular/integrated driving simulator).

Developed prototypes will be tested in ten pilots, leading to an impact analysis on the usefulness and value of the use of driving simulators for driver training and assessment.

An information dissemination framework, cost benefit analysis, cost effectiveness analysis and exploitation plans, application guidelines, proposals towards adequate standards, CBT-based training and assessment certification and accreditation schemes complement the work plan.


Key Deliverables:

D1.1 Benchmarking and classification of CBT tools for driver training

D1.2 Training needs and scenario definition

D2.1 Common system architecture for driving simulators based on interoperable federates

D2.2 Knowledge management tool

D2.3 Driving simulator functional validity assessment methodology

D3.1 Ambient intelligence module

D3.2 Co-driving, co-operative and group training modules

D3.3 Immersive simulation platform

D3.4 i3-based tool for networked learning and remote control of simulators

D3.5 Virtual instructor and debriefing modules

D3.6 Dynamic scenario management module

D3.7 ADAS/IVICS simulation module

D3.10 Enhanced reality module

D3.11 Module for controlling adaptive training sequences

D4.1 Adapted motorcycle simulator prototype

D4.2 Adapted truck simulator prototype

D4.3 Adapted car simulator prototype for emergency vehicle drivers

D4.4 Adapted car simulator prototype for novice drivers

D4.5 Adapted VR simulator prototype

D4.6 Multi-purpose driving simulator prototype

D5.3 Proposal for an integrated training curriculum and impact analysis

D6.2 Demonstration pilot results consolidation

D7.3 Cost benefit and cost effectiveness analysis

D7.4 Exploitation and business plans

The CRF virtual reality driving simulator
The CRF virtual reality driving simulator

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Vehicular Information System Interface for Open Network Services

The objective of the project is to enable information exchange between onboard truck information systems and external information systems, through standard and open information interfaces.

Tags: Road


The VISIONS project aims at implementing the following scenario. A truck, at the moment in which it enters a road infrastructure (e.g. a tunnel, a container terminal or a highway, etc.), exchanges data and documents with the information system of that infrastructure to inform it about the status of the vehicle and the cargo via a wireless network. Based on such data, the infrastructure can decide on whether to allow or deny access to the infrastructure in real-time, and also on how to assist the truck in case of accident, thus maximising efficiency and safety.

The enabling component for this scenario is an interface, called VISIONS interface, that integrates

  1. the controller area network (CAN-BUS) of the truck to extract the vehicle status parameters,
  2. a set of sensors installed in the trailer and interconnected via short-range wireless links to extract the cargo status,
  3. the infrastructure information systems interconnected via wireless local area network to exchange data, and
  4. a number of remote office information systems (transport company, administrations, etc.) to send appropriate information (e.g. fuel consumption, position, etc.) regardless of the brand of trucks, trailers, etc. The VISIONS interface is the focus of the VISIONS project.


The objectives of the VISIONS project are

  • to define an open (not proprietary) interface for the data and document exchange between the trucks and the ground information systems through different kinds of wireless networks (Wi-Fi, GPRS, UMTS, etc.)
  • to set up a demonstration system implementing the VISIONS interface capable of showing the feasibility and effectiveness of this interface, in a pair of mission-critical applications
  • to undertake a set of political actions, such as encouraging the European Commission to support this interface with appropriate recommendations (e.g. the Euro-x standards for environmental pollution), submitting to a standardisation committee (e.g., IETF, ISO, etc.) and aggregating the consensus of end-users about the appropriateness of the interface.
Hardware onboard system specifically developed for VISIONS pilots
Hardware onboard system specifically developed for VISIONS pilots
IRIS s.r.l.

Description of work

Analysis of the state-of-the-art technology: The main contribution to this analysis is the awareness that the information and the communication technologies available today are suitable for supporting the VISIONS system functionalities. In particular:

  1. Identification of data and documents to be exchanged through the VISIONS system: The core contribution of this analysis is the awareness that there exists a set of information items, that, properly transferred (i.e. at the appropriate time and location) from the vehicle to other information systems and vice-versa, would increase the safety, the efficiency and the quality of the processes managed by end-user partners, i.e. tunnel administrations, transport companies, container terminals, etc.
  2. Definition of the VISIONS architecture: The result of this activity is the definition of the VISIONS system architecture. The most innovative features of the architecture are:

    • the dynamic registry of available services: when the truck enters a VISIONS-enabled area, the onboard system registers to the infrastructure ground station and automatically exposes its services to the management station
    • the profiles of service security: the system grants access to different sets of services provided by the vehicle information system, according to the privileges of the requesting entities
    • the export of services to third parties: the services provided by the vehicle information system are made available to other actors through a business community mechanism based on a service oriented architecture.
    • the seamless integration of the communication channel: the services provided by the vehicle information system can be supported by different types of wireless infrastructure (i.e. Wi-Fi, GPRS, UMTS), which are dynamically selected and transparent to the service users.
  3. Implementation of the onboard linux based computer, on low-power dedicated hardware developed specifically for the VISIONS system.


The results of the project include:

  • analysis of the state-of-the-art technology with experiments for local and long-distance data transfer
  • analysis of the truck-related processes of container terminal, transport companies and tunnel administration
  • specifications and design of the VISIONS system
  • implementation of the VISIONS onboard system for local information exchange in the Mont Blanc tunnel:
    1. hardware prototype for data collection and long-distance communication
    2. Pilot 1: a truck sends more than 30 pieces of control data to the Mont Blanc tunnel information system every two seconds for 1km while driving inside the tunnel at 70km/h
    3. Pilot 2: several trucks send information on containers carrying dangerous goods to a transport company information system
    4. Pilot 3: several oil tankers send information on the status of the cargo to different platforms continuously.
The architecture of the VISIONS system pilot on tankers
The architecture of the VISIONS system pilot on tankers
Praoil s.p.a

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High Density Power Electronics for FC- and ICE-Hybrid Electric Vehicle Powertrains

In order to increase the fuel economy of vehicles, efficient electric drivetrains are needed for conventional or fuel cell-based hybrid cars. Affordable high-density power electronics are a precondition. HOPE has two approaches: a low-cost solution and a more advanced high-temperature solution without liquid cooling.

Tags: Road


Since the invention of cars, urban traffic has grown exponentially, and one of its main consequences is pollution. In the past internal combustion engines were improved by e.g. exhaust gas treatment and optimised combustion. To get to even lower emissions levels, other concepts are needed: e.g. fuel cell and hybrid electric cars. These cars include an electric drive which improves the overall efficiency and reduces CO2. Several Japanese car manufacturers have brought HEV to the markets. In order to bring European hybrid technology successfully to the market, two elements are crucial beside the fuel cell: High performance batteries and highly efficient and reliable power electronics. HOPE addresses the power electronics challenge, with the aim of reducing costs and increasing power density, while ensuring reliability and driving performance.

The results of HOPE are relevant from a business perspective because they improve the competitiveness of European products. On the other hand they help in meeting the environmental targets and therefore HOPE is relevant for the whole European society.


The general objectives of HOPE are:

  • cost reduction
  • meeting reliability requirements
  • reduction of volume and weight.

These are a necessity to make the FC- and ICE-hybrid vehicles a success.

The overall target is to reduce fuel consumption because it will then correlate with CO2 emissions. The ultimate solution is the fuel cell (FC) which requires only hydrogen. But FC cars will not be in large-scale series production before 2015. In the meantime, ICE- (internal combustion engine) hybrid cars will emerge like the various Toyota, Honda, Lexus and Ford models.

It is obvious that there is a need for different power ratings because of the great variety of

cars and their level of electrification. If one assumed that there would be an individual power electronics for every car manufacturer and model, it is obvious that this would lead to high costs. Therefore a standardisation is needed that is based on ‘power electronics building blocks’ (PEBB) with a certain rated power, shape and terminal geometry. These PEBBs will then be a mass product, which can be manufactured at a reasonably low price.

Description of work

Work Package (WP) 1 defines common OEM specifications for FC- and ICE-hybrid vehicle drive systems; identifies common key parameters (power, voltage, size) that allows consequent standardisation; developes a scalability matrix for PEBBs. The power ranges will be much higher than those of, for example, considered in the HIMRATE project and will go beyond 100 kW electric power.

WP2 develops one reference mission profile which will be taken as the basis for the very extensive reliability tests that are planned.

WP3 investigates key technologies for PEBBs in every respect: materials, components (active Si- and SiC switches, passive devices and sensors), new solders and alternative joinings, cooling and EMI shielding.

In WP4, two PEBBs are developed: an IML (power mechatronics module), which is based on a lead-frame technology and a SiC-PEBB inverter.

WP5 develops a control unit for high-temperature control electronics for the SiC-PEBBs.

Finally WP6 works on integrating the new technologies invented in HOPE into powertrain systems and carries out benchmark tests.

It is clear from the start that many innovations are necessary to meet the overall goals of HOPE. An IP management group will be formed as well as a reliability-testing group and standardisation group, which will make contact with different organisations. Contact will be made with the EU project HYSYS concerning the integration.


The project has the following deliverables:

  • Common specifications from OEMs including key parameter ranges for FC-hybrid and ICE-hybrid vehicles drive system
  • Scalability matrix (assessment of OEMs needs covered by the technologies developed)
  • Reference mission profile for FC- and ICE-hybrid electric vehicles
  • Load patterns and lifetime requirements defined by OEMs for three different power ratings
  • Applicable test procedures for power electronic systems
  • Results of APCT, AMPCT and subsystem tests
  • Synthesis of the reliability testing at high temperatures: failure modes and lifetime prognosis
  • WP2 requirements; power partitioning for power modules
  • Sensor evaluation
  • HT-joining technologies
  • Cooling concepts and verification
  • Results of environmental and reliability tests
  • Design of the first mechatronic test vehicles
  • Final assessment on the new IML mechatronic power technology for automotive applications, including its compliance for scalability, comparison of different joining technologies and comparison of the performances of Si- and SiC-based power modules
  • Low parasitic commutation cell concepts for extremely fast switching SiC devices
  • First prototype SiC-driver and demonstrators/subsystems
  • Requirements for SiC inverter control board
  • SiC-control board
  • HT – SiC-control board
  • Specification of FC-hybrid/ICE-hybrid powertrain units
  • Specification of modelling and simulation of powertrain units
  • Impacts of implemented technologies on inverter integration
  • Benchmark study

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High-Performance (Cost Competitive, Long Life and Low Maintenance) Composite Bridges for Rapid Infrastructure Renewal

The overall objective of the project is the development of a high-performance and cost-effective construction concept for bridges based on the application of fibre-reinforced polymers (FRP) for rapid infrastructure renewal in the new Member States (NMS) and beyond.

Tags: Road


Over the last 50 years, the EU’s transport networks infrastructure expenditure related to its GDP has declined by almost 50%. This has resulted in an aged infrastructure, much of which has been built with the technologies and systems developed in the late 19th or early 20th centuries. The consequences are clearly visible through social and economical impacts: traffic delays, congestion, deficient bridges and structures, deteriorating roads and motorways.

To achieve economical, environmental and social objectives, the infrastructure renewal must be done in a rapid, cost-effective, high-quality and sustainable way by reducing production lead-time, manufacturing and maintenance costs, and the environmental impact by lowering energy consumption, waste production and recyclability, and at the same time by enhancing new business models and specialised jobs. The bridges are important elements in these networks, in strategic and logistical terms as well as in economical terms. To avoid the bridges becoming bottlenecks during the upgrading of these infrastructures, cost-effective, quick and sustainable construction concepts and technologies are needed.


The overall objective of the project is the development of a new high-performance and cost-effective construction concept for bridges based on the application of fibre-reinforced polymers (FRP) for rapid renewal, providing a longer lasting repair for these infrastructures in the new Member States.

The essential technical elements of the new concept are:

  • deck and beams of hybrid FRP (carbon-glass/thermoset-thermoplastic) composites and pillars of hybrid FRP concrete. The deck concept by itself will be a solution for the renovation of existing deteriorated infrastructures.
  • multi-objective material optimisation for the intended design.
  • Multivariable optimisation criteria that essentially attempt to compromise design objectives.
  • performance-based simultaneous engineering and manufacturing
  • on-site industrialisation
  • flexible design and manufacturing for the one-off, small series and mass customisation
  • development of mobile manufacturing lines
  • new hybrid material combinations for improved fire and high-temperature resistance and recyclability.

Cost effectiveness will be reached by optimising material and design, reducing manufacturing costs and lead-times. High performance will be achieved by performance-based design and manufacturing, and new materials. Energy efficiency will be improved and environmental impact reduced in the whole life cycle of the bridge by the reduction of energy consumption in the on-site manufacturing process and transport of materials, and by improving recyclability through new thermoplastic resins.

Acciona's previous experience - the first carbon-fibre bridge constructed in Spain
Acciona's previous experience - the first carbon-fibre bridge constructed in Spain

Description of work

The HP FUTURE-Bridge project involves research to be carried out to be able to achieve our main objective: competing against bridges made of conventional material through the use of advanced composite materials.

First of all, and in order to be competitive, a life cycle cost model has to be done that will evaluate the sustainability of fibre-reinforced polymer bridge decks. This study, however, will seek to create an even more inclusive analysis by expanding the definition of costs to include social costs, particularly those that are usually ignored in cost analysis studies.

The requirements for new Member States (and others), with their specific cultural, social and environmental idiosyncrasies, will be taken into account to guarantee the viability of this technical solution. In order to achieve this purpose, aspects such as sustainability and life cycle costs will be managed.

The new concept has to be developed, dealing with the overall aspects (components and innovation necessities) of this idea in composite bridges. In order to compare the new concept solution versus the traditional one (concrete and steel), some critical and independent parameters will be used, and to find the best solution, multi-criteria decision-making (MCDM) tools will be used. The HP FUTURE-Bridge concept goes together with the development of a performance-based design, which deals with design methodology, modelling, dynamic behaviours and design versus manufacturing interactions, and a performance-based manufacturing, defining a new manufacturing methodology in order to be effective in reducing manufacturing costs and production lead-times. As well as design and manufacturing, advanced materials have to be developed and optimised to find a cost-competitive design. We will also do research to provide suitable solutions to fire problems through suitable fire-protective coatings.


The extensive research programme will be finally assessed through the construction of pilot bridge solutions. These will demonstrate HP FUTURE-Bridge to be a high-performance and cost-competitive solution for infrastructure renewal and new bridge constructions, and this will allow us to expand the idea and create a real business opportunity for HP FUTURE-Bridge through a competitive concept that will face the challenges of the future. Two pilot bridges solutions, one in Slovenia and one in Spain, will be constructed and monitored in order to assess the feasibility and potential in the market of the HP FUTURE-Bridge project and the HP FUTURE-Bridge solution.

HP FUTURE-Bridge logo
HP FUTURE-Bridge logo

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Optimisation of Hydrogen-powered Internal Combustion Engines

The overall goal of HyHEELS is to provide an UltraCap energy storage system for the use in hybrid- and fuel-cell vehicles, which satisfies all the properties necessary to make an integrative component.

Tags: Road


While the deployment of fuel-cell cars in the European fleet will take decades (it normally takes more than 20 years for standard functions to reach a 90% fleet penetration), CO2 problems are present and demanding; the automotive industry favours solutions offering future potential when coupled with innovative powertrains as well as with the possible realisation of short-term benefits in combination with state-of-the-art powertrain technology.

In this regard, it is necessary to stress the fact that automotive technology has grown to be more and more complex in recent years by the addition of an increasing number of functionalities. OEMs addressed this challenge by decreasing the production of in-house parts and by the supply of black box-like system components, the integration of which still constitutes a big challenge in terms of handling complexity. This is why the HyHEELS consortium considered it to be appropriate to focus on providing an UltraCap storage function comprising all the properties necessary to make it an integrative component. This is the unanimous view of both the supplier and the OEM regarding manageable interfaces.


The detailed scientific and technical objectives are the result of a thorough analysis of the challenges in the energy supply architecture of hybrid and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles. A hydrogen fuel cell has to be provided with power and energy during the start-up phase as well as continuously during operation. High power is needed for the acceleration of the vehicle and for high power auxiliary fuel cell loads like the compressor. A powerful and reliable energy supply is crucial to fulfil the requirements of the future passenger car generation, which will be powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

These could have high-power charge and discharge conditions as well as operating at low temperature, e.g. -20°C. UltraCaps could fill the power gap. The approved UltraCap storage technology is available but needs to be adapted to future automotive hybrid and hydrogen applications, satisfying the demands on cost efficiency, safety and reliability.

Description of work

The aim of the development is to provide an improved cost-efficient energy supply concept for hybrid vehicles based on an advanced, powerful UltraCap. This will be achieved by:

  • increasing the maximum operating voltage of UltraCaps from 2.5V to 2.7V. High-cell voltage requires an electrochemical stability of the electrode, the electrolyte and the packaging materials
  • cost reduction of the electrodes by new production technologies
  • cost reduction of cells and modules by industrialisation
  • advanced UltraCap component electrode and packaging. All the materials need to have a high electrochemical stability in order to operate the components at a higher voltage over a longer period of time. The component packaging weight must be minimised. Special attention must be paid to the packaging tightness and to the mechanical resistance
  • advanced UltraCap module packaging with optimised thermal behaviour, weight and cost
  • development of an UltraCap controller, including a single cell voltage measurement and cell balancing, providing extended UltraCap information to the fuel-cell system supervisor.

The final goal of the project is the installation of an advanced, reliable and cost-efficient UltraCap module, providing all necessary information, which enables the integration into the fuel-cell vehicle architecture.


The contribution of HyHEELs to societal and policy objectives cannot be regarded in isolation but have to be seen in combination with the vehicle for which it delivers the energy supply. HyHEELs-developed Ultracaps are a necessary prerequisite for the development and validation of a hybrid vehicle with a vision to achieve

  1. ‘well to wheel’ energy efficiency exceeding 35% on the extended European urban drive cycle,
  2. ‘tank to wheel’ CO2 emissions not exceeding 80g/km when fuelled by hydrogen derived from fossil-based fuels and
  3. near zero CO2 and pollutant emissions when fuelled by hydrogen produced from renewable sources.

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Fuel-Cell Hybrid Vehicle System Component Development

The objective of the project is the research on low-cost components for fuel-cell (FC) systems and electric drive systems, which can be used in future hybridised FC vehicles (a medium-term objective) and ICE vehicles. The components will be integrated and validated in two vehicles.

Tags: Road


Fuel-cell drivetrains for road transport applications are seen as the most promising technology for a sustainable mobility, especially when fuelled with hydrogen. Until now, intensive research and development has led to significant improvements of FC technology. However, market introduction of fuel-cell vehicles (FCV) has not yet been achieved due to several reasons. One very important point is the availability of reliable series components which can be mass-produced at low cost. This is a prerequisite for competitive fuel-cell vehicles. On the other hand, hybridisation of cars with internal combustion engines (ICE) is also a viable option for future transport. Hybrid (ICE) electric vehicles (HEV) could help to bridge the gap until hydrogen FCVs are available on the general market. FCVs and HEVs both need low cost e-drive components. Thus there is a need to achieve synergies between these two technologies in order to use scale effects for cost reduction of e-drive components. With this background, the project aims at the development of low-cost components for FCV hybrids and ICE hybrids in Europe. Automotive industries, suppliers, universities and research institutes are co-operating in a common effort to make the necessary steps forward.


The goals of the project are:

  • the improvement of fuel-cell system components for market readiness
  • the improvement of electric drivetrain components (synergies between FC and ICE hybrids) for market readiness
  • the optimisation of a system architecture for low-energy consumption, high performance, high durability and reliability
  • the optimisation of energy management
  • the development of low-cost components for mass production
  • the validation of component and system performance on FC vehicles.

The concrete targets of the project are:

  • low-cost automotive electrical turbochargers for air supply with high efficiency and high dynamics
  • low-cost humidifiers with high packaging density
  • low-cost hydrogen sensors for automotive use
  • effective low-cost hydrogen supply lines
  • highly efficient, high-powered density drivetrain
  • low-cost, high-powered Li-Ion batteries
  • enhanced FC drivetrain efficiency.
Example of an FC system (NuCellSYS HY-80) for an automotive drivetrain
Example of an FC system (NuCellSYS HY-80) for an automotive drivetrain

Description of work

The focus of the project is on components that have a high potential of significant cost reduction by decreasing the complexity and/or choosing innovative approaches to support a future mass production. The project is structured in four technical subprojects, plus one covering project management. In the subproject for the FC system components, the key components that are investigated are an innovative air supply based on electrical turbochargers, novel humidification subsystems, new hydrogen sensors and innovative hydrogen injection system components. In the subproject for the electric drive system we focus on highly integrated drivetrains (converters, inverters and electrical motors) and high-energy-density battery systems based on innovative Li-Ion technology, which has been developed in other EU-funded projects (EV-lift, Lionheart). All the component work is accompanied by a subproject covering work on vehicle requirements, subsystems and components (including standardisation and identification of synergies between FC and ICE hybrids), safety aspects, a comparative investigation of different electrical storage systems (battery/supercap) and the respective e-storage management. In the system level subproject, not only will the components be integrated and tested in the two validator vehicles, but work will also be performed on optimised vehicle control strategies, energy-management and the development of modular system control software.


The main results of the project will be improved FC-system components and improved components for the e-drive and fuel-cell systems as well as the hydrogen supply, with full specifications for these components and the systems. Components standardisation and synergies between FCVs and HEVs will also be an outcome of the project. Finally, the developed components will be integrated in two vehicles with widely different hybrid architectures, although both oriented to the light good delivery sector which is likely to constitute an early market for FCV vehicles in fleet applications. The first will be a larger, full hybrid delivery van, while the second will be a smaller vehicle with a range extender architecture.

Results from testing the two vehicles will show to which extent the same components and principles can be applied for different vehicle concepts. Components developed in the project are intended to form the basis for series components which could be produced from European suppliers for future vehicle drive trains. Integrating these in fuel-cell vehicles and (ICE) hybrid electric vehicles will thus allow the development of competitive products for the European and world markets.

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Intelligent Roads

The INTRO project aims to address the problems of road safety and capacity by combining sensing technologies and local databases with real-time networking technologies. This will improve both road safety and capacity by providing rapid feedback on emerging problems to maintenance authorities and road users.

Tags: Road


Over 42 000 road users are killed in European Union countries annually and around 3.5 million are injured. This accounts for annual costs of over €160 billion, not counting the pain and suffering of victims and their relatives.

Recent studies in one EU Member State show that, since 1980, crash safety improvements have reduced causalities by 15%, drink/driving measures by 11% and road safety engineering improvements by 6.5%. There is clearly considerable untapped potential for a much greater reduction in casualties through adding intelligence to road infrastructure.

Even without safety improvements, European countries are experiencing ever-increasing maintenance costs to keep the road network in a good and safe condition. The reasons for this are increased traffic volume combined with accelerated damage to pavements due to increased gross weights and evolution of load configurations of heavy goods vehicles. With the demand for increased freight transport increasing substantially, this situation will get worse instead of better unless new approaches can be found to increase the capacity and improve the maintenance through added intelligence to existing roads rather than building new roads.

In these circumstances, the target set by the EC of a 50% reduction in road deaths by 2010 is ambitious and a major challenge for the road research community, as well as the road authorities and operators.

An innovative integration of existing sensor and communication technologies with road infrastructure is one way of reaching the twin goals of increased safety and increased capacity. For a relatively small cost, significant ‘added value’ can be obtained from existing infrastructure, achieving a cost-effective solution to the problem.


The INTRO project will focus on the following main objectives:

  • applying and combining existing and new sensor technologies in a holistic way in order to increase capacity and safety significantly, as well as improving the well-being of road users
  • make combined use of real-time network technologies, road databases and sensor technologies in order to create timely and localised information of the infrastructure, improving both road safety and capacity
  • aggregate and visualise information in order to optimise the road user’s needs as well those of the road operator and road authorities.

A challenging and promising fact is that a large amount of sensor/data input is already available: road surface databases, in situ sensors in road pavements and bridges (WIM, strain gauges, optical-fibre technologies, etc) as well as an increased number of in-vehicle sensors developed by the car industry.

INTRO aims to provide driver and road operator ofaccurate, real-time information of road safety and traffic conditions, using traffic data as well as pavement and vehicle sensors. The figure illustrates a possible warning system for sudden onset of slippery road sections due to adverse weather condition
INTRO aims to provide driver and road operator ofaccurate, real-time information of road safety and traffic conditions, using traffic data as well as pavement and vehicle sensors. The figure illustrates a possible warning system for sudden onset of slippery road sections due to adverse weather condition

Description of work

Three technical strands of research will be conducted:

  • Surface safety monitoring:

    • integration and testing of real-time warning systems at network level to achieve a significant decrease in the number of accidents due to ‘surprise effects’ from sudden local changes in weather resulting in low friction and hence skidding
    • increasing drivers’ attention to low road friction by only a few percent may result in significantly higher reduction of accident rates due to its non-linear relationship
    • Europe’s most advanced driving simulator will be used to optimise driver responses to new types of information.
  • Traffic and safety monitoring:

    • combination of different sensor data will enable the estimations of entirely new real-time safety parameters and performance indicators to be used in traffic monitoring and early warning systems.
  • Intelligent pavement and intelligent vehicles:

    • innovative use and a combination of new and existing sensor technologies in pavements, bridges and vehicles in order to prevent accidents, enhance traffic flows and significantly extend the lifetimes of existing infrastructure
    • a prolonged lifetime of high capacity roads could thus be obtained using novel methods for early warning detection of deterioration and damage to road surfaces.



  • Consolidated state of the art focused on the scope of INTRO and focused needs across Europe
  • Report on scenarios, structure and potential short-term trends
  • Report on implementation strategies
  • Model for estimating expectable stopping distances
  • Report on the simulator study, including evaluation of impact on safety and drivers
  • Data model for road safety-related data
  • Report on technical implementation and users’ feedback
  • Demonstration of methods for the measurement of condition using probe vehicles
  • Report on the assessment of methods to identify pavement conditions using current and novel in situ sensors
  • Report on the use of combined probe vehicle and in situ measurements. Proposals for best practice implementation
  • Traffic indicator needs: single source and data fusion estimation models
  • Integration of weather effects for traffic indicators forecasting
  • Safety indicators needs: simulation-based and field-based models
  • Creation of a website
  • Report on the launch workshop held in June 2005
  • Report: A Vision of Intelligent Roads

    • Final summary report
    • Project quality assurance plan
    • Project mid-term report
    • Project final report

Exploitable product(s) or measure(s:

  • guidelines and recommendations for ITS deployment use in future standards
  • implemented data model combining static and dynamic skid warnings
  • new use of in situ sensors and probe cars
  • new methods for data fusion and travel time estimations


  • road authorities
  • ITS service providers
  • traffic management

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Innovative Particle Trap System for Future Diesel Combustion Concepts

Future diesel car engines will have ‘conventional’ combustion at high and full loads, and partial homogeneous combustion at low loads with different emissions. This makes necessary to develop new cleaning devices. To ensure soot regeneration at the resulting low NO/NO2 and exhaust temperature levels, the research will develop a compact porous media design for the trap, with tuneable particle collection and multifunction catalytic nanostructured materials together with the needed control strategies.

Tags: Road


Advanced diesel combustion processes for passenger car diesel engines, such as homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI), or partial homogeneous combustion, are developed for their potential to achieve near zero particulate and NOx emissions. One of the drawbacks of this technology is the difficult combustion control at medium and high loads and consequently a limited operating range where NOx and particulate emissions are at a very low level. For this purpose, novel exhaust cleaning devices are necessary to process the different loading areas with its specific emissions well below the Euro V emission level. To ensure soot regeneration for the needed particulate trap at the low NO/NO2 and exhaust temperature levels resulting from efficient combustion, the project focuses on a novel design of porous media and novel catalytic nanostructured materials in a compact unit, with tuneable soot particle collection that will accommodate multifunctional catalytic coatings.


The objectives will be a global filtration efficiency, even on ultra fine particulates above 95% with a nearly constant fuel consumption at slightly increased back pressure and advanced regeneration strategies in the range of 580°C in an acceptable time, therefore the focus lies on particulate and not only on CO and HC. In detail that means:

  • PM< 0.001 g/km NEDC
  • NOx: 0.06 g/km NEDC
  • applicability to passenger cars as well as adaptability to truck engines
  • fuel consumption equivalent to the Euro IV calibration including regeneration
  • ability to run in all driving conditions.

One of the main pillars of the project is to design, develop, construct and test an innovative multifunctional filter/reactor (MFR) for treating the particulate and gaseous pollutants from the exhaust streams of a HCCI, partial homogeneity and conventional combustion process of a diesel engine in the complete engine map. The other main pillar is the development of advanced regeneration strategies to minimise active regeneration cases to avoid the risk of increasing the fuel consumption.

IPSY structure
IPSY structure
FEV Motorentechnik GmbH

Description of work

There will be different key activities in the project:

  1. Development and construction of the multifunctional reactor divided in two tasks.

    Task 1A – MFR development:

    • catalyst synthesis and deposition on small-scale filters
    • construction of the MFR subunits
    • MFR prototype assembly and initial assessment
    • production of two fully-instrumented MFR prototypes for functional tests

    Task 1B – MFR evaluation with engine tests for loading and regeneration:

    • testing the MFR on a conventional multi-cylinder engine on steady-state and transient operation (NEDC)
    • testing the system with the HCCI engine under steady-state conditions
    • testing the system with applied control algorithms
  2. Physical modelling of particulate morphology on particulate trapping and the setting-up of a 3D CFD simulation model including all necessary boundary conditions. Due to the fact that the thermo-mechanical interactions in the system must be taken into account, the model must include a gas phase as well as a solid wall structure of the DPF (conjugate heat transfer).

    Following this activity, an algorithms for the powertrain control unit using the 3D simulation real-time model of the complete exhaust system and different filter characteristics will be developed. This will take into account thermal behaviour, coating, loading and soot oxidation for the new filter, as well as the engine out emissions and exhaust temperature of the HCCI diesel engine to integrate the real behaviour of the trap system in the entire vehicle environment.


  1. Development of a MFR (multifunctional reactor) concept with:
    • novel catalysts (material, porosity, etc.) to cope with the higher CO, HC emissions and lower exhaust temperature
    • new DPF substrates to ensure passive regeneration and high filtration efficiency according to the soot characteristics produced by these future engines along with a low exhaust back pressure and high ash tolerance
    • adapted exhaust line designs to improve DPF global performance with the specific constraints of HCCI engines (high EGR rate with possible impact of exhaust gas composition on EGR valve and cooler, low exhaust temperature, etc.).
  2. Development of advanced control strategy concepts for exhaust gas after-treatment systems for diesel engines for the management of DPF regeneration based on experimental and simulation investigations, at first with the goal to widen passive regeneration zone and then for a forced regeneration by minimising extra fuel consumption and avoiding excessive thermal shock for a better DPF durability.
  3. Overall time and cost reduction in developing exhaust gas after-treatment systems for diesel engines by improved simulation methods.

All these expected results are necessary to improve the exhaust emissions well below the expected Euro V level to cope with the future challenges of achieving environmentally-friendly vehicles for the EU citizens.

Modelling and controlling
Modelling and controlling
FEV Motorentechnik GmbH

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Integrated communicating solid-state light engine for use in automotive forward lighting and information exchange between vehicles and infrastructure

This proposal aims to develop an innovative manufacturing technology to produce a new generation of headlamps for vehicles, which will be the basis for a future car-to-car or car-to-infrastructure communication system. To achieve this, a new production process needs to be developed, combining LED chips into a packaging which already forms the beam, with minimised losses. This proposal aims at simplifying the production process of headlamps by:

Tags: Road
  • reducing the number of production steps
  • reducing the number of components (electric bulb, reflector and housing) to just one injection-moulded component
  • reducing the production time and thus reducing the manufacturing costs.


The state of the art in lighting is an electric bulb. But these bulbs cannot be modulated, so they are of no use for communication. White LEDs are in existence today and could serve for both purposes. A standard incandescent bulb achieves 20 lumens per watt (lm/W) while automotive xenon lamp technology provides 90 lm/W. Solid-state technology currently achieves up to 40 lm/W in laboratory quantities and about 20 lm/W in series production. New records are established every three months. The theoretical limit of 200 lm/W means the solid-state source achieves greater efficiency than the best existing light source. More efficient lighting systems would mean an enhanced brightness on the road while reducing fossil fuel emissions through lower power consumption.


The main objective is to define the ability of an LED system to provide communication modes for other vehicles or traffic safety devices – measured by the new ability to communicate during different driving conditions. This will be achieved by:

  • validating the chip-on-board LED array with a primary optic moulded over the LED array, measured by an automotive qualification schedule
  • researching the best methods for converting multiple blue chip array into white chip array, measured by meeting colour temperature and rendering requirements
  • defining the best colour temperature and rendering for automotive driving
  • creating the most efficient optical system while understanding system trade-offs, measured by optical simulations and photometric measurements
  • defining the best method to electrically drive an LED system and integrate electronics in a vehicle format with respect to the modulation of the LED-array for communication
  • developing over-moulding technology for chip-on-board modules to produce a complete lamp within one injection-moulding shot
  • creating a system integration for the ISLE project in an automotive environment, measured by cost studies and automotive qualification schedule.

Description of work

In the first phase, the consortium concentrated on finding convertible concepts, which meet both the individual excellence of each partner and the overall project goal. The central elements were:

  • the LED architecture with respect to the requirements of the beam pattern forming optical elements
  • finding a suitable possibility to perform communication without any losses in light
  • definition of the required components
  • efforts in making LED headlamps legal.

The work was organised and the interfaces defined, the best suitable concepts were selected and implemented accordingly. From the first results optimisation loops have begun.


Results achieved so far:

  • first samples of white LED have been manufactured performing with a correlated colour temperature below 4 500°K
  • the communication concept has been implemented and its feasibility was approved in the laboratory
  • the integrated optical concept, which is based on the coupling between refractive and reflective optical components, was turned into a first sample for a high beam module and the low beam is on the way
  • a novel concept of laminating high-reflective coating on plastic optics was developed to substitute Al-coating
  • an electronic driver circuit on a lower scale integration with all the necessary functionality was developed
  • a liquid cooling system for the thermal management inside the headlamp was developed.

Expected end results

At the end, the consortium will present a fully functional headlamp device using LED as a light source, performing a high and low beam. The out coming light will be able to be modulated in order to communicate information to the infrastructure. The device will provide outline dimensions in accordance with the space generally available in today’s cars. It will be capable of being mounted on a test rack in front of a vehicle.

It is expected that the additional knowledge built up during the project will enable each partner to have further commercial benefits or, in case of public bodies, reputation and contacts with industry.

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Integrated Tyre and Road Interaction

Road traffic is steadily increasing. The objective here is to provide tools to investigate new road surfaces, which will lower noise emission, lower fuel consumption and meet safety requirements. It will demonstrate the implementation of virtually prototyped road surfaces.

Tags: Road


Road traffic with its conventional heat-engine vehicles, whose energy efficiency is far from optimal, is one of the main sources of urban pollution from greenhouse gases, and it also contributes to the European Union’s excessive energy consumption. With the increasing efficiency of engines, secondary effects such as rolling resistance will play a dominant role when aiming for further reductions in fuel consumption.

Noise pollution from road traffic is another major environmental problem. A major component of road traffic noise is tyre/road noise. To achieve the proposed reduction targets it is necessary to reduce tyre/road noise.

Safety is the crucial demand on road surfaces, so the design of new, low-noise textures or textures with low rolling resistance must not risk the grip potential (especially under wet conditions). Currently more than 40 000 people are killed on EU roads every year. The strategic objective is to cut this number by 50% within the next eight years and 75% by 2025. The aim here is to design highly sophisticated road surfaces to provide an optimum grip. However high-grip surfaces considered alone may not necessarily be saving fuel or absorbing noise.

Models are needed to assist in the design of road surfaces and to predict their essential properties.


The main scientific and technical objectives of ITARI will consist of three main categories: design tools, measurement methods and a demonstration of production techniques.

The objective for the set of design tools is to allow for virtual design of road surfaces and their essential properties. This will include tools for designing:

  • low noise surfaces based on a hybrid simulation model for tyre/road noise
  • a prediction tool for rolling resistance as a function of surface properties
  • a prediction tool for wet grip.

Measurement tools will be provided for the description of surface properties, especially concerning:

  • absorption characteristics of road surfaces
  • flow resistance of surfaces
  • mechanical impedance of road surfaces.

While the development of models and tools takes place mainly during the first two years, year 3 is specifically dedicated to the review and assessment of the project results. The main activities at this point are demonstrating and validating the results by:

  • suggesting optimised innovative road surfaces with an improved overall performance, based on the models developed for the prediction of noise, rolling resistance and wet grip.
  • building such virtually designed surfaces by applying new and innovative road surface technology
  • validating the results by measurements.
Noise created by compression of air in the contact between tyre and road
Noise created by compression of air in the contact between tyre and road

Description of work

The main key for the design of surfaces is understanding the interaction between tyre and road surface, this interaction being responsible for contact forces acting between the two. The contact forces are, at the same time, a starting point for the prediction of noise generation, rolling resistance and wet grip.

The main part of the work is based on the tyre/road noise model developed in the European project RATIN. Models have been developed to predict noise and rolling resistance, which also support the development of prediction tools for wet grip performance.

Despite the complexity of the models, it is essential that the tools can be applied in engineering applications. Therefore one or several surfaces are selected for a paving experiment. These experiments will be made on the full scale paving test site of RWTH Aachen. The demonstration allows for creating desired texture features without the restrictions incurred by the usual material selection or manufacturing process.

In order to verify tools and models, theoretical results are compared with measured performance of the manufactured road surface.


Several parameters determine the environmental friendliness of road transport. A major parameter is the road texture influencing noise generation, rolling resistance and safety.

The project will help to find optimal tyre/road combinations, which minimise the total energy loss due to the rolling resistance and will lead to a reduction of the fuel consumption and thereby the emission of greenhouse gasses.

Highly sophisticated road surfaces designed to provide an optimum of grip will help to achieve improved safety.

The reduction of road traffic noise (i.e. mainly tyre/road noise) needs high priority. Previous studies show that the noise reduction potential is expected to be 6 dB for passenger car tyres on dense road surfaces (referenced to stone mastic asphalt 0/8 or 0/11). Combining these low noise textures with sound absorbing and/or flexible constructions should give a reduction of at least 4 or 5 more decibels – independently from the tyres and the speed.

In addition to this, ITARI will demonstrate the implementation of virtually prototyped road surfaces in the production process. This is an essential step to create acceptance for innovative surfaces by decision-makers, infrastructure planners or road manufacturers. It will also demonstrate an alternative to expensive trial and error full-scale experiments as applied today in the development of new road surfaces.

Friction model for the determination of grip
Friction model for the determination of grip

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Monitor Integrated Safety System

MISS aims to develop an innovative platform to dynamically sense and predict natural and infrastructure conditions. This project wants to increase the safety of both citizens and operators by enabling a just-in-time intelligent computation of an open dynamic road surveillance network.

Tags: Road


The MISS project aims at fulfilling an objective of the Sustainable Surface Transport Priority – “Objective 4: Increasing road, rail and waterborne safety and avoiding traffic congestion”. More specifically it focuses on the Road Safety Strategies issue. Currently, more than 40 000 people are killed every year on EU roads and under 1 000 in other modes of transport. The short-term strategic objective of the Community is to halve the number of fatalities by 2010. The medium-term objective for MISS is to cut the number of persons killed or severely injured by around 50% by 2010. To be effective, road safety policy and the supporting research must target the human, the vehicle and the infrastructure environment. In addition, the interaction between these elements must be considered, as well as the acceptability and cost-effectiveness of the proposed measures in a wider socio-economic context. Research should devise the economic mechanisms necessary to reward the introduction of advanced technologies with a view to their overall safety benefits, instead of the defensive approach taken today to avert possible liability risks.


The main objective of the MISS project is building a Unified Operative Centre (UOC), aimed at improving vehicle safety and mobility. This Unified Operative Centre has to support and integrate the activities of different structures at provincial level. It will manage the road monitoring activity of these organisations: the urban police, the civil protection and the road services. We estimate that each entity will improve its efficiency, starting from these operational points:

  • defining some guidelines to coordinate the institutional working activities
  • integrating the communication and effort among the operators and vehicles of the three entities.

By building on these points within the UOC we will:

  • tie together the three entities, improving their administrative and operational processes
  • guarantee efficiency and effectiveness when managing events
  • satisfy the optimisation needs of resources on the ground and inside the operative centre
  • extend the road safety among citizens and throughout the area.

The UOC will support the operational, planning and policy decisions to extend road knowledge, using information technology tools to store and extract all the information needed. It will also support the prevention and forewarnings of the events, analysing all the basic aspects.

Description of work

The MISS project is being developed along two main parallel but co-related lines:

  • establishing and demonstrating an innovative and co-operative platform aimed at controlling road infrastructures and transport operations
  • setting the basis for effective demonstration and exploitation.

Work Package (WP) 2 will fully identify the user requirements and the potential service scenario provided by test users with the support of UNIUD, CERTH, AUTH, CTL and CRF.

WP3 and WP4 are cascaded work packages aiming at establishing the system infrastructure design and develop the components and the services needed to improve the efficiency of transport operations.

In WP5, the user feedback, gained from collecting extensive data, will be mastered by the coordinator (PROBO). Meanwhile the validation outcome will be gathered and analysed by the other two public partners (SAAR and BVG together with BLIC), so that value and strength are added to the efficiency of our adopted solution.

In WP6, industrial exploitation will play a role in selecting the market and the appropriate distribution channels. The legal framework will play a fundamental role for the exploitation stages later on.

WP7 will include participating in public events, taking input from the results of WP5 and WP6. For details, please refer to the dissemination plan. It will be mainly managed by SRM, COI and CTL.


The Monitor Integrated Safety System (MISS) is an integrated platform of sensing, communication, and algorithmic designs that can collect, process and disseminate information on roadway hazards. Specifically, the MISS platform will consist of:

  1. Innovative onboard vehicle-based detection kit (MSCU).
  2. Existing communication technologies (via a GPRS or TETRA network) to transmit the detected information to a UOC; the same network will be used by the vehicles to receive information.
  3. A geo-reference database to store this information as raw data on a geo-coded network.
  4. Advanced algorithms to fuse the detected real-time data gathered by several organisations with static infrastructure and historical traffic and control information, In addition, dynamic route planning algorithms will be developed specifically for emergency vehicles (police, fire department, emergency medical services, hazardous materials response, towing services, etc.) to and/or from the scene of an incident.
  5. Intelligent communication schemes to allow targeted information dissemination to clerical staff and drivers, based on their location and projected route (they will be informed if they are likely to use the problematic area), thus avoiding problems with information overloading.

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An Optical Fibre-based Sensor Intelligent System for Monitoring and Control of Exhaust Emissions from Road Vehicles

OPTO-EMI-SENSE involves the research and development of novel optical fibre-based sensors for monitoring exhaust gas emissions and temperature in modern road vehicles. Novel sensors will be deployed on board the vehicle to provide monitoring and control in order to minimise atmospheric pollution.

Tags: Road


The problem of pollution of the environment by road vehicles is well known to vehicle manufacturers and legislative bodies in Europe and the rest of the world. Successive legislations in Europe have required ongoing reductions in the levels of the pollutant gases NO, NO2, SO2, CO as well as hydrocarbons (HCs) and particulates in vehicle exhaust systems. Instrumentation and test procedures have been developed to measure these emissions, but these are currently conducted offline and at irregular intervals, e.g. once every one or two years. The OPTO-EMI-SENSE project is concerned with monitoring these emissions online and therefore sensors have been developed that can be mounted on the vehicle to continuously monitor the emissions. Sensors for detecting these pollutants have not previously been available and a major part of the novelty of this project has been the development of all optical (optical fibre) sensors for the detection of the above pollutants to Euro IV concentration detection limits and below, as well as monitoring the hot gas temperature (up to 1 000ºC) using optical fibre temperature sensors.

The use of novel and state-of-the-art sensing technology provides a promising solution to the problem of onboard monitoring of vehicle pollution, which will ultimately enable this pollution to be minimised and allow European car manufactures to deliver the objective of environmentally clean cars whilst maintaining a commercial advantage in a globally competitive market.


The main objective of OPTO-EMI-SENSE is to develop novel optical fibre-based sensors for monitoring vehicle exhaust emissions on board the vehicle with a view to controlling and reducing them.

The project’s specific technical objectives are summarised as follows:

  • to isolate and identify the optical signals arising from contaminants present in the complex mixtures of exhaust systems of a wide range of vehicles using advanced and novel optical fibre-based spectroscopic interrogation techniques
  • to measure optically the temperature of the gases in the vehicle’s exhaust system
  • to develop novel optical fibre sensors that are miniature and robust in their construction and may be fitted and/or retro-fitted to the exhaust systems of a wide range of vehicles
  • to interface and fully integrate the novel sensor systems into the existing data network of the vehicle, thus providing the driver and/or the engine control system with clear and unambiguous in-car information on contaminant levels of exhaust emissions.

The consortium’s research activities are therefore designed to optimise their existing resources in a focused and precisely configured work plan in order to meet the technical objectives and hence address the issue of atmospheric pollution from road vehicles. Once developed, this technology will be highly portable to other vehicles, including rail and maritime.

The optical fibre gas sensor
The optical fibre gas sensor

Description of work

The project is concerned with investigating novel optical fibre-based sensing techniques for addressing the problem of environmental pollution in the surface transport area. Optical fibre sensors are used to measure the concentration of pollutant gases to a minimum level of about 10 ppm and temperatures up to 1 000ºC in the exhaust of road vehicles. The methodologies employed for the respective measurement techniques are direct optical absorption (with spectral resolution) for the gas sensors and Fibre Bragg Gratings for the temperature sensors.

The use of optical methods for gas sensing means that the response time of the sensor is rapid in comparison to other techniques currently being investigated, which are typically in the order of one second. As the spectroscopic absorption characteristics of the gases in the exhaust system are unique, they are not susceptible to cross interference from each other and other gases when in mixture. The sensors can also be made robust and cheap by using low-cost mass produced components (e.g. LEDs and photodiodes).

Signal analysis of the parameters is performed using standard techniques (e.g. direct calculation of the concentration from the absorption data) and advanced techniques (e.g. pattern recognition of spectra in mixtures). These will be mounted on a DSP or microcontroller and interfaced to the CANBUS of the car.


The main deliverables from OPTO-EMI-SENSE are the sensors and associated systems for measuring temperature and gas concentration. These will contribute to the capability of online monitoring of gas pollutants from road vehicles within the European Union, as well as internationally. This capability will result in the means for reducing emissions through the appropriate closed loop control of the combustion process in the vehicle. The impact on society from the successful implementation of the sensor systems will be reduced harmful emissions to the atmosphere and hence a cleaner environment.

The sensor systems are assembled from conventional components and can therefore be fitted and retrofitted to a wide range of road vehicles. Development of policy through increasingly stringent legislation will drive the market for this type of sensor. The manufacturing of these systems is currently within the remit of many hi-tech SMEs within the EU and this would lead to the generation of employment within the hi-tech sector.

Measured time-resolved absorption spectra of exhaust gases
Measured time-resolved absorption spectra of exhaust gases

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Post-treAtment for the next Generation Of Diesel Engines

The aim of this project is to provide a comprehensive, system-oriented view on potentially new after-treatment processes that will be required for the next HCCI (homogeneous charge compression ignition) combustion systems, taking into account the next fuel generation.

Tags: Road


Diesel innovation and leadership in core technological and scientific competencies are the key drivers for European competitiveness. In this context, diesel engine improvements towards more efficient and less polluting vehicles play a critical role in the competitiveness of the European car industry and in the long-term sustainable growth and job preservation in Europe, along with the necessary improvement of air quality and reduction of health effects. In the next ten years, it is anticipated that a smooth transition from conventional engines to new diesel technologies will happen (from conventional to partially homogeneous and then to finally homogenous over a wide range of operating points). Diesel homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) combustion processes are seen as a promising way to meet the future environmental challenges, which will have to achieve both significantly lower pollutant emissions and fuel consumption. With these concepts, NOx and PM emissions are simultaneously drastically reduced avoiding the installation of a complex and costly NOx specific after treatment. The main drawback of this concept is that the level of low-temperature related emissions, i.e. CO and HC, can increase by several orders of magnitude. This implies that conventional oxidation catalysts’ technologies, currently used on Euro IV compliant vehicles, are no more able to convert these harmful emissions because of the saturation of the active catalytic sites. As a result, such increased CO and HC emissions have to be reduced to safe levels using innovative catalysts or emergent technologies, which have to be characterised by a different reaction kinetic, so are less dependant on the pollutants’ concentration. It is also admitted that such innovative combustion processes will merge with an increasingly wider diffusion of new fuel properties and renewable formulations, so that will be helpful to enlarge the engine running range (EUCAR RENEW project). The impact of these new fuel formulations on next-generation after-treatment processes will also have to be investigated.


The aim of this project is to provide a comprehensive, system-oriented view on potentially new after-treatment processes that will be required for the next HCCI combustion systems taking into account the next fuel generation.

The scientific objectives of this project are:

  • to understand the complex kinetic mechanisms and chemical principles of CO/HC low temperature oxidation for the next generation diesel engines exhaust environment
  • to develop a robust, efficient, and accurate computational models to analyse, simulate and improve the performance of next generation catalytic converters: a transient one-dimensional model and a single spatial dimension will be developed as a first step, and then 2D and 3D calculations will be investigated and integrated.

The technological objectives are:

  • to formulate, develop, test and optimise advanced new catalyst formulation for CO/HC low temperature oxidation
  • to design, develop and test emerging flexible low temperature oxidation technologies based on plasma concepts
  • to perform a powertrain system synthesis and evaluate, for the next generation powertrains, the requirements and boundary conditions needed to implement the advanced after-treatment processes in diesel engines.

Description of work


At the time of submitting this content, the PAGODE project had not started.

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Realising Enhanced Safety and Efficiency in European Road Transport

The REACT project represents a breakthrough towards the long-term vision of significantly reducing traffic deaths and improving the transport infrastructure’s efficiency. REACT will sense natural and infrastructure conditions within and near each equipped vehicle. By using mobile vehicle sensors, REACT will ultimately cover all roads, and not just interurban routes where existing traffic management systems tend to be located.

Tags: Road


Transport by road is considered the most dangerous and costly of all modes of transport, in terms of human lives. Approximately 49 000 people die every year on the roads of European Union countries.

Moreover, the different growth speed of European cars and trucks compared to road infrastructure development (nearly always insufficient and inadequate), and the increasing need for passenger and freight mobility, result in a complex traffic congestion problem, more pronounced in high population areas. The efficiency decrease produced by road transportation congestion represents 11 billion hours of delay for European Union motorists.

Today, some urban and interurban areas have traffic management and advice systems that collect data from stationary sensors, analyse them, and post notices about road conditions ahead with recommended speed limits on display signs located at various points along specific routes. However, many other urban and interurban areas do not have such traffic management systems, and they are virtually non-existent on rural routes. With rural road crashes accounting for more than 60% of all road fatalities in OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries, the need for a system that can cover rural roads is compelling if a significant reduction in traffic deaths is to be achievable.


REACT will equip vehicles with sensors to give information on natural and infrastructure conditions. ‘Natural’ refers to weather and atmospheric conditions affecting travel, and can include the natural condition of the driver. ‘Infrastructure’ conditions refer to vehicle speed, road congestion, road surface condition, etc. The goal is to monitor natural and infrastructure condition variables that are believed or statistically proven to influence safety and efficiency. By using mobile rather than stationary sensors, the information can be collected for all relevant routes, subject to the capacity of the communications system – and not just those where the stationary sensors happen to be located. Also, while the stationary sensors now measure traffic conditions, REACT’s mobile sensors would include important natural and infrastructure conditions that are clearly quite influential on safety: visibility, road friction, traffic flow and vehicle speed. Over time, other natural conditions such as temperature and precipitation, and other driver measures, such as unusual steering wheel movements, could be added.

The analysis of the traffic conditions and safety risks of different routes can only be done in a central server that collects and analyses data coming from a large number of geographically distributed vehicles.

Description of work

REACT has key advantages over current systems:

  • it has mobile rather than stationary sensors, which cover all routes where vehicles travel
  • it measures relevant natural as well as infrastructure conditions
  • it gives customised, model-based recommendations transmitted to individual vehicles.

Where a regional traffic management system is operating, REACT will be coordinated with the regional system and come under its control. On rural roads and other routes where a regional traffic management system is not present, REACT’s central server will control messages sent to individual vehicles.

Improvements will address a number of indicators, the most important of which will be related to traffic safety and efficiency. With regard to safety, it is well known that the number of accidents cannot deliver statistically significant results if demonstrations are planned to run for a few months only. This difficulty will be circumvented via the intended development of risk indicators and models that may be fed with real traffic data. The risk indicators measure the likelihood of an incident occurrence and they may therefore be used as a quantitative measure of success, even without actual accident occurrence. Targeted measurable improvements with regard to risk indicators will be defined during the project’s lifetime, after the development and validation of such indicators.


By acting on the key elements of the safety and efficiency architecture, REACT will be suitably positioned to respond to the ambitious European Commission objectives:

  • Vehicle: REACT will improve vehicle safety through the development, installation and integration of advanced devices in the vehicle such as visibility sensors, road friction sensors, traffic sensors and speed information.
  • Driver: REACT will act on driver behaviour by displaying secure and personalised human machine interface (HMI) alerts concerning safety (risk of black ice, speed warnings, etc) and efficiency (route and traffic condition messages)
  • Infrastructures: REACT’s central server will merge infrastructure sensor information to monitor and enhance road safety and congestion information to be delivered to drivers when available
  • Public Administration: it is the basic pillar to impulse the system (by regulation, funding, bring interests together, etc.)

The REACT project has the potential of reducing traffic fatalities, increasing road transport efficiency, and contributing to greater standardisation and harmonisation throughout Europe with:

  • economic and societal impact: reducing traffic fatalities, improving transportation efficiency, etc.
  • technological impact: integrating mobile sensors with a central analytic and decision-making system, and utilising effective communications.


REACT operating principles
REACT operating principles
© REACT consortia

REACT work breakdown
REACT work breakdown
© REACT consortia

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Sustainable Electrical and Electronic System for the Automotive Sector

The SEES project aims to develop sustainable, clean, cost- and eco-effective electrical and electronic system (EES) prototypes and end-of-life processes. SEES follows a life-cycle approach considering all life-cycle steps, including design, pre-production at suppliers, production, assembly, use and end-of-life of automotive EES.

Tags: Road


The share of electrical and electronic systems (EES) in vehicles is steadily growing, in terms of both material utilisation and value. These systems offer benefits for safety, comfort and environmental performance. The European Directive on end-of-life vehicles (2000/53/EC) sets requirements for the end-of-life treatment and the design of vehicles, which thereby also includes automotive EES.

In this context, the SEES project aims to improve the present design of automotive EES and to analyse innovative end-of-life processes, contributing towards the overarching goal of sustainability. EES materials include electronics containing copper and precious metals as well as regulated substances (e.g. lead in solder) and different kinds of plastics which have a potential value for recycling/recovery. In the present situation the EES remains in the car when it enters the shredding process and then is separated afterwards by hand. Alternative end-of-life options to be studied include disassembly of EES components for reuse/recycling and advanced post-shredder recycling of the shredding residues. Optimum end-of-life scenarios for automotive EES (as well as for the whole car) have to take into account the whole life cycle of the product without shifting problems from the end-of-life phase to other life-cycle phases.


The main objective of the SEES project is to develop sustainable, clean, cost- and eco-effective electrical and electronic system (EES) prototypes and dismantling/recycling processes to increase the vehicle recovery/reuse rate. SEES studies focus on the EES materials to identify sustainable end-of-life scenarios and to develop new EES design concepts to contribute towards sustainability. Innovative EES and plastic recycling schemes are to be developed considering economic and environmental aspects over the whole life cycle. The new EES design concept will include prototyping specific functions or parts. The new design concept is not limited to improve end-of-life aspects because use phase and production proved to be much more relevant from a life-cycle perspective.

During the project, results from environmental and dismantling studies demonstrated the limited improvement potential by focusing on dismantling and end-of-life aspects of EES. Therefore, the focus of the objectives has switched slightly from a focus on end-of-life related actions to a more holistic approach covering the whole life cycle as described above.

Schematic illustration of the automotive electrical and electronic system (EES)
Schematic illustration of the automotive electrical and electronic system (EES)

Description of work

The project activities include the following technical work packages:

  1. Integrated assessment of EES in cars: characterisation and classification of types of EES components considering legal, environmental and economic aspects
  2. Assembly study: study of EES assembly and future trends
  3. Disassembly study: studying EES disassembly from new and end-of-life vehicles to identifying influences on disassembly time, cost and improvement potential
  4. EES recycling: development of mechanical and chemical recycling EES processes
  5. Plastic recycling: development of plastic recycling processes for disassembled EES as well as for shredding residues
  6. Shredding study: study the contribution of the EES in the shredder output fractions and their recycling/recovery potential
  7. Environmental and economic studies: life-cycle assessment and costing case studies to define optimum design options and end-of-life scenarios, development of methods to evaluate recyclability/recoverability potential of EES and to simulate end-of-life scenarios
  8. Eco-design guidelines: development of guidelines to improve the environmental profile of EES considering the whole life cycle
  9. Development of a new EES concept: application of the eco-design guidelines and prototyping of specific parts and functions for a new EES concept, and study of intelligent materials to facilitate disassembly
  10. Product test: testing and validation of the new EES concept
  11. Software development: development of software tools to support EES designers and recyclers in evaluating different designs and end-of-life scenarios.


The main SEES deliverables will be:

  • Integrated end-of-life assessment of automotive EES
  • Economic and environmental assessment including different design options and end-of-life scenarios
  • Software prototype to support decisions on EES designs and recycling scenarios
  • Eco-design guidelines to improve future designs of automotive EES
  • Dismantling and shredding manuals for automotive EES
  • Demonstration and application of new end-of-life technologies for EES
  • New EES design concept and prototypes to be developed, tested and validated
  • Dissemination and exploitation of all SEES results

The project supports the objectives of the Sustainable Surface Transport Priority providing strategies and processes to clean dismantling and recycling of vehicles. SEES improves the competitiveness of the recycling value chain (from collectors, shredders, dismantlers to EES/plastics/metal recyclers), most of them SMEs. It also increases the competitiveness of EES manufacturers due to the benefit of the ‘recyclable’ product and reduces the costs associated with end-of-life car treatment. SEES helps to minimise life cycle impacts, raw material consumption and waste disposal (landfill/incineration). Findings will be communicated inside and outside the project consortium to improve the skills of the involved stakeholders. SEES also contributes to standardisation activities on dismantling, eco-design and life-cycle costing on international, European and company level.

SEES project approach with main activities and products
SEES project approach with main activities and products
SEES consortium

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Thermally Operated Mobile Air Conditioning Systems

The goal of the project is to develop mobile air conditioning systems (MACS) with a reduced impact on the environment. The systems will be considered for two vehicle applications: passenger cars and trucks.

Tags: Road


The state of the art of the MACS is represented by vapour compression cycles that use R134a as a refrigerant, which is a greenhouse gas with a high global warming potential (GWP, equal to 1 300). Due to the refrigerant leakages during usage, it has been estimated that in Europe, every year, between 750 and 2 500 tons of R134a are emitted in the atmosphere. Taking into account the GWP, this is equivalent to up to 3 millions of tons of CO2.

Europe is making a huge effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The development of highly efficient air conditioning systems with a near-zero greenhouse gas emission and eliminating hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) have been considered a priority. According to the new EC regulation, by 2011, no refrigerant having a GWP higher than 150 can be used on MACS.

At present two gases are being considered as options to replace the R134a. CO2 has a low GWP (equal to 1), but as it works at high pressure, it needs the development of new components. Moreover, its performance could be critical at high ambient air temperatures. The other option is R152a, which is still a HFC but with a GWP below 140. The drawback is its slight flammability.


The project aims at:

  • eliminating the environmental impact from refrigerant leakages. The refrigerants used (water, ammonia or hydrogen) are in agreement with new regulations.
  • reducing indirect emissions. The MAC system’s impact on fuel consumption will be minimised since the primary energy source will be waste heat, while the electric compressor-driven metal hydride system can have a COP of up to 3.4.
  • decoupling the MAC systems from the engine. The availability of a low-consumption electrical powered cooling system could be the ideal solution for a vehicle with electrical traction architectures (stop&start vehicles, hybrid vehicles or fuel cells). These vehicle types risk serious commercial problems, and elimination of their environmental advantages, if a high efficiency solution for thermal comfort is not available.
  • developing an auxiliary heating system. Since these systems are capable of a heat pumping operation, they can be a solution for the lack of waste heat of highly efficient diesel engines and also for vehicles not powered by an internal combustion engine.
  • developing additional functions like pre-conditioning. The potential of these systems to provide energy storage or the presence of an APU, will allow pre-warming and pre-cooling, for which the car market demand is growing and it is considered all important in the truck.
  • downsizing the system. To have pre-conditioning systems is also beneficial from an energy point of view, allowing a system design with lower peak power.

Description of work

The following system requirement definitions need to be determined:

  1. specifications for systems in trucks and cars (weight, size, operating temperatures, vibrations, noise, etc)
  2. target performance expected from the systems, (refrigerant power, efficiency, thermal comfort, quality of the air)
  3. reference truck and car on which the performances will be verified and the corresponding assessment method defined.
Overall Systems Model: lumped parameter models of the truck and car that include all the sub-systems having an interaction with the MAC system need to be developed. The models will allow the simulation of:

  • thermal performances (power and perceived comfort)
  • energy consumption.

Development of a metal hydride system: investigations will be carried out with either waste heat (from the engine or APU) or electric energy (for hydrogen compression) as the primary energy source. A test bench prototype will be set up and the performance evaluated.

Development of sorption cooling system: the design, construction and testing of lab-scale solid sorption air conditioner and cold storage systems for automotive applications.

A second-generation prototype will be installed onboard the car/truck and tested.

An evaluation of the environmental benefits and cost analysis will be carried out.


An assessment methodology will be developed to evaluate both the fuel over-consumption due to the MACS and the thermal comfort. This methodology could be a useful base for a procedure proposal about the measurement of the over-consumption/emission due to MACS.

An overall model of the truck and car and the subsystems will allow a simulation of the thermal performance and predict the energy consumption of the systems.

There will be four test bench prototypes (three of sorption, one of metal hydride).

A prototype car and truck, equipped with the best innovative systems, will be developed. The prototypes will be compatible with the incoming EU regulations on fluids, and will also allow a lower impact of the MACS during the phase of use, lowering the additional fuel consumption generated by MACS. The MAC systems can be decoupled from the engine, offering a solution for vehicles powered by non-conventional powertrains and for truck air conditioning in parking conditions.

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The Future Propulsion as ONE System

The aim is to construct a platform for exchanging information and strategic planning of RTD projects on an internal combustion powertrain running on new fuels. This CA will identify links and favour integration by targeting pollutant/CO2 reduction and energy supply security.

Tags: Road


Twelve years coordination of RTD projects was carried out by a Third Framework Programme (FP3) cluster, and during FP4 and FP5 by two thematic networks, PREMTECH I (Advanced propulsion systems and emission reduction technologies) and PREMTECH II (Efficient and low emitting propulsion technologies).

FP5 has generated engine control technologies, such as multi-injection of fuel, variable valve actuation, variable compression ratio, etc., capable of high flexibility. The challenge now is to pass from the single technology in FP5 to a controlled sub-system made up of more than one technology in FP6. The sub-systems composed of highly flexible technologies should converge on the design of a flexible propulsion system running on future fuels able to meet significant pollutant and CO2 reduction. The breakthrough is represented by an ensemble of the technology sub-systems. Other activities had not been covered, such as after-treatment and the use of new synthetic fuels that together with an integrated control and gearbox would be required to treat the overall propulsion system.

ULYSSES will contribute to EU policies suggesting what is the state of the art and its future evolution via the road map of the propulsion system technologies, also taking into account the engine/after-treatment requirements in terms of the fuel type/quality, thus giving a substantial contribution to the European Research Area (ERA).


The altered conditions of the FP6 and FP7 research, with respect to FP4 and FP5, is accounted by building this Coordination Action (CA) on two pillars:

  • Content: the aim is the full implementation of the potential of the internal combustion (IC) engine and hybrid technologies developed in previous and current projects by considering the three elements – fuel, powertrain (engine and gear box) and after-treatment – as ONE system able to combine the two conflicting requirements of low emissions and high efficiency with future fuel characteristics.
  • Partnership: the consortium enables a 360° coverage of technology innovation and fuel processing. Linkages with EUCAR, EARPA, CONCAWE and AECC (Association for Emissions Control by Catalyst) are established to design future research strategy.

The CA objective is to construct a platform for exchanging information and strategic planning of EC-funded research projects dealing with new propulsion technologies/concepts based on IC engines running on an ameliorated fuel, including alternative and renewable fuels for on-road vehicles. Extension to rail and waterborne propulsion is also considered.

The integral approach regarding fuel, powertrain and after-treatment as ONE system
The integral approach regarding fuel, powertrain and after-treatment as ONE system

Description of work

The propulsion concept, based on IC engines for on-road vehicles, is organised according to a matrix structure with the following:

  • Three vertical developmental areas coordinated by META:

    1. fuel led by VW and OMV
    2. powertrain system including engine, gearbox and hybrids lead by Centro Richerche Fiat and DaimlerChrysler (DC)
    3. after-treatment led by DC.
  • Four horizontal work packages (WP) to perform a