Winner profile: the geofencing Oslo demo

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A Volvo car was used for the demonstration

In the fall of 2017 a demonstration was executed in the city of Oslo to demonstrate geofencing for lower emissions by direct interaction with plug-in hybrids to override drive mode. The project was led by the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA) who, with a small team of engineers, collaborated with engineers at 2394 Volvo Cars Corporation to develop the demonstration within approximately two months development time.

A geofence is a virtual perimeter for a real-world geographic area. Traffic management deals with optimising the flow of people and goods in geographical areas. Traditionally, these areas have been defined by physical infrastructure, such as tolling stations, traffic lights, signage, designated lanes and physical obstructions. Physical infrastructure tends to be expensive, production costs are just part of that equation; often, construction near roads can be equally costly, both in pure monetary and societal costs such as delays. There is also a safety risk associated with road works.

Today, alternative solutions are at our doorstep as the capabilities of vehicles increase and our society is becoming increasingly connected. If the car is connected via cellular coverage, why should the road authorities not communicate directly with it? Connectivity is the missing link to be able to make more dynamic and intelligent solutions for society. Instead of paying to pass a point, users can pay because they choose to pollute, or choose to drive during rush hour.

Continuing the vital collaboration with the car industry, and building upon existing digital infrastructure within the NPRA, it was shown that a geofence for zero emissions could be produced within a few weeks, at very low cost. The geofence was created in the NPRA production system for infrastructure management, the national Road Database (NRDB), and sent to the NordicWay Interchange, an AMQP-based service for sharing traffic-related messages between private and public parties in the Nordic countries. The geofence was then collected from the Interchange by Volvo Cars.

 Volvo Cars could then send information about geofences and required behaviour associated with them to the vehicle, when the vehicle was approaching a geofence. In the demo two plug-in hybrid vehicles were used for this purpose, and five consecutive demos performed. Each demo showed the creation of a new zero emission geofence in the NRDB and the successful delivery to the vehicle. The vehicle, in turn, was automatically made to change from its current drive mode to an all-electric drive mode. This would include calculations on the required battery capacity before entering the geofence, and even charging the batteries before entering the zone, if necessary.

This demo showcased the use of geofences; a full development of such a system would require a municipality or other relevant authority in the loop. Geofencing can be an enabler for more intelligent and adaptive traffic control, for example for reduced fees for environmentally friendly driving, such as lower emission of pollutants or noise, or speed adaption around vulnerable areas.

Mobility pricing explored at 8738 IRF Global 8722 R2T conference
Faced with growing problems posted by urban congestion and the associated emission of harmful pollutants, forward-looking municipalities across the world are turning to solutions to manage demand through access control and charging mechanisms.
Existing mobility pricing programs and the supporting policy and regulatory framework will be explored in multiple panels as part of the IRF Global R2T Conference in Las Vegas, on November 19th-22nd:
•  Future of Road User Charging (by invitation seminar)
•   Easing Urban Congestion
•   Road User Charging: from Vision to Application