5G aid in automated mobility for elderly and people with disability
The purpose of this research program is to explore opportunities that 5G offers to improve the performance of CAV shuttles and their accessibility to elderly and people with disability.
A trial will be conducted testing 5G and use cases that are enabled by 5G that will enhance the accessibility of CAV for elderly and people with disability.
Autonomous shuttles hold a significant promise particularly for last mile fulfillment. 5G will be a key enabling technology for autonomous vehicles, however, the 5G network is only now being rolled out and there are limitations with the actual performance and capabilities of 5G.
In addition, recent reports have highlighted key challenges that need to be overcome before they can safely and reliably operate without an on-board ‘concierge’ in every vehicle, particular to elderly and people with disability.
5G can play a key role in resolving these challenges, allowing Automated Shuttle Vehicles (ASV) to operate safely and effectively without a person in every vehicle, providing improved services at a reduced cost. HMI will lead a project, a 5G Innovation Project, at a precinct that has public-grade 5G coverage, using 5G applications to enable the safe, efficient, and reliable operation of ASVs, to provide enhanced mobility for disabled and elderly passengers.
It will see the following 5G applications implemented:
- Low-latency real-time transmission of encrypted vehicle sensor and operational data, and high-resolution video from an ASV to a control room to support remote monitoring and control of the vehicle.
- Remotely control an ASV from a control room through the use of highly reliable and ultra-low latency communications to send encrypted movement commands and receive real-time status updates, including the content described in (1).
- High-speed low-latency transmission of encrypted sensor data to enable the real-time analysis and fusion of sensor data from multiple stations, including on-vehicle and roadside sensors, which will then be used to assist an ASV to negotiate difficult road and traffic scenarios, as depicted in the diagram below.
The location for the project will be the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) Sydney campus in Lucas Heights in southern Sydney. CTI Logistics will also be involved in the project, supporting the technical 5G testing and to work collaboratively with HMI to explore and test how the technology can be used to develop 5G and other solutions for elderly and people with disability.
The purpose of this research program is to explore opportunities that 5G offers to improve the performance of CAV shuttles and their accessibility to elderly and people with disability. A trial will be conducted testing 5G and use cases that are enabled by 5G that will enhance the accessibility of CAV for elderly and people with disability.
The objectives are:
- Create a standard manner to test 5G deployments and report performance Autonomous vehicles will be deployed in 5G environments, In order to conduct the tests efficiently, transparently, to create customer and public confidence, the objective of the work package is to develop a standard method and presentation of the testing.
- Design tests and report on the performance of 5G in the 3 operational and technical tests described above The objective of this work package is to ensure that the 5G innovation tests are conducted and evaluated in a robust and independent manner.
- Identify and test improvements to the accessibility and the product experience for the elderly and people with disability, in collaboration with that passenger community.
UPDATE February 2023
A new application is pointing to the future of automated public transport for people with disability
“Researchers from La Trobe University’s Centre for Technology Infusion (CTI) trialled the application in partnership with intelligent transport company HMI and iMOVE. Lead researcher and Deputy Director of CTI Mr Erik van Vulpen says the app is designed to give people with disabilities more control over their experience of autonomous transport.
Using the application passengers can for instance hail the bus at the designated stop, keep doors open when boarding the bus, and assure that the bus only departs after they are safely seated; things bus drivers normally look after in conventional buses. They can also life-stream in sign language with a remote operator and obtain much more detailed route information than is available in the shuttle.
Mr van Vulpen explains that bus drivers perform an important role for people with disabilities, and solutions like this app can help fill the voids in vehicles without a driver, to allow passengers to have maximum accessibility when using the bus.
“The way I would like to position accessibility is not as an afterthought, but as an area of innovation that can open new possibilities for transport that will benefit the wider community. I would hope that all governments start looking at innovations like this.”
Below is a short video of the app and the Autonobus in action at La Trobe University. Includes interviews with key staff working on the project, and passengers making use of the technologies.