Over 30 participants attended the “Roads that Cars can Read” consultation meeting yesterday in Brussels, organised by EuroRAP, the European Road Assessment Programme and opened by Lina Konstantinopoulou, EuroRAP Secretary general.

Her speech followed a keynote speech by Paulo Variz (EC DG MOVE) which introduced the objectives of the Physical and Digital road infrastructure WG3 of the Cooperative, Connected, Automated and Autonomous Mobility (CCAM).

Mrs Lina Konstantinopoulou then presented the European Road Assessment Programme, an innovative programme of systematic risk assessment protocols which include among others the aiRAP and Autonomous Driving (AD) Star Rating and how these protocols are supporting currently the work of the CCAM platform. She has also presented the European Commission funded CEF project SLAIN which will perform a three-part study to demonstrate the readiness of Europe’s physical and digital infrastructure for automation. This will include verifying several physical road attributes including road marking and traffic signs, developing the automatic coding methodology for the European network for network wide assessment and producing AI algorithms for identifying and combining datasets of vehicle sensors.  Mr. Pier Paolo Catalano ANAS S.p.A. presented the SLAIN pilot site in Italy, and the road attributes that are needed for assessment for the readiness of the infrastructure.

The consultation meeting was then split between two different sessions (Physical and Digital Infrastructure). EuroRAP Director, EMEA Steve Lawson kicked off the sessions by presenting the Roads that Cars Can Read III (2018) position paper which came out with several recommendations on the requirements for AVs with respect to physical attributes (road markings and traffic signs).  The presentation gave an outline of a knowledge base of current conventional collision patterns and countermeasures and examined how these countermeasures might change with increasing numbers of AVs on the road.

The requirements for Physical Infrastructure and the update of Standards were presented in detail by Rik Nuyttens (3M) and Christian Kleine (HERE) joined on the requirements for digital infrastructure and outlined that accurate and dynamic information of the road infrastructure as well as cooperation with road authorities is needed to make maps reliable for automated driving.

A challenging and open discussion moderated by James Bradford (EuroRAP Product Development Director) followed about levels of automation, uptake of ADAS and the need to improve infrastructure ahead vehicle technologies. It was clear that machine vision technologies and HD Mapping will continue to improve road safety and need to be embedded in our RAP protocols.

The sessions also provided opportunity for exchange of best practices in Europe and with other parts of the world.

With special thanks to Anthony Germanchev, Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) and John Wall, Austroads – who presented the Infrastructure Changes to Support Automated Vehicles on Rural and Metropolitan Highways and Freeways in Australia and Risto Kulmala (Traficon) presented on the CEDR running project MANTRA that responds to the question ‘’How will automation change the core business of National Road Authorities’’.  Finally, the Open Roads Methodology for public authorities was presented by Pedro Barradas (ARMIS). OpenRoads is an innovative solution, incorporated into administration or regulation bodies, for efficient Management and Supervision of Contracts (concessions), enabling the definition and monitoring of indicators, service levels and management of associated information.

The outcomes of the meeting will be published in the EuroRAP position paper ‘’Road that Cars can read’’ IV in 2020. The consultation meeting outcomes will also feed the current work of CEF project SLAIN to demonstrate the readiness of Europe’s physical and digital infrastructure for automation in 4 Member states.