The X-By-Wire Technology Demonstration Vehicle was developed by the VRC as a test and demonstration platform for vetronics technologies. Features include complete drive by wire control, glass cockpit crew stations and vehicle management system, real-time telemetry and video streaming. Technologies used to support these applications include TTP, MilCAN, Ethernet, and WLAN.
In the last decade there has been an increasing effort to apply X-by-Wire technology in modern vehicles. The adoption of this technology enables the replacement of mechanical linkages associated with vehicle controls such as throttle, steering, braking, shifting and clutch, by network enabled sub-systems comprising devices such as sensors and actuators.
The increase in emerging technologies within the car means that the driver has to interpret and act on data from several systems simultaneously. The dashboard and centre console displays information to the driver in multiple formats, all of which demand attention and adds to the drivers’ cognitive load.
Complex mobile platforms require a number of tasks to be performed during operation, with the need of multiple control stations. This increase the complexity and cost of the platform design and also require multiple people to operate the platform. In addition, the complex tasks increase the cognitive and mental load to the operator effectively in time reducing the productivity and increasing the possibility of human operational errors.
Modern military battlefield scenarios take place in complex environments which pose many challenges to the military operatives working in them. To address this, future military vetronics systems will generate complex data which can be used to provide a degree of situational awareness (SA) to vehicle crews. As a human's cognitive resources are limited, not all of the SA information derived from this data will be needed by crews all of the time. To ensure the right information is provided to crew members at the right time, there is a need for automatic and intelligent data management in vehicle crew stations.
Openness and modularity are increasingly important design principles of modern Electronic Architectures (EA) that can increase flexibility by allowing a system to be more readily adapted to meet prevailing requirements at greater speed and less cost compared to traditional closed monolithic approaches. Other benefits may include lower operating costs through reduced cost of modifications and commonality between platform fleets leading to reduced support requirements.
Research includes a methodology for the assessment, verification and validation of System Engineering models of vetronics systems through model execution in a virtual behavioural simulation environment.
Future vehicle system and technology concepts are modelled using 3D gaming technology, enabling rich communication and deeper understanding for stakeholders. Much future vehicle capability will be delivered via complex interaction between multiple technology and platform types, often involving multiple users and artificial intelligence (AI). Principles and logic of the operation are hard to grasp, especially for non-technical personnel. Describing future ideas in 3D virtual reality provides a natural understanding of the function of future technology in context.
The MilCAN testbed is a platform that is used in evaluating vetronics components and embedded networks. It has been employed in development, testing and demonstration of current and future vetronics technologies. The testbed emulates three different segments namely: Automotive, Utilities, and Multimedia. These segments emulate real-life scenarios of the above mentioned vehicle domains. The three segments are interconnected through MilCAN and Ethernet using a Bridge which is configurable through a Graphical User Interface (GUI) enabling emulation of a vehicle performance and dynamics in a laboratory set up.
Wireless networks have limited bandwidth and increased latency for data transmission, impeding the efficient operation of wireless video distribution. Vehicles with increased situational awareness requirements have numerous external digital video feeds with high resolution and framerates, with both compressed and uncompressed protocols. Accessing these feed via a wireless device becomes an issue due to the wireless network limitations.
Given that one current and predicted future military area of operations are expected to be within complex, diverse theatres of operations such as chaotic urban environments, poses a significant systems design challenge. Coupled with this is the increasing complexity within military vetronics software/hardware design and integration prompting a significant change in the design and development of systems that provide crews of Mounted Close Combat (MCC) their local situational awareness.
Modern specialist vehicles rely on safety critical systems that offer higher survivability for the vehicle and the crew. Currently safety critical systems are installed and maintained by the same manufacturer throughout the vehicle’s life. These are built on proprietary technology that only the manufacturer has access to, thus limiting the choices of maintenance and upgrades. Furthermore, existing safety critical systems are limited at communicating with other on-board systems resulting to a vehicle having multiple instances of the same equipment (e.g. GPS sensor).This presents a number of issues including having network complexity and reduced flexibility in vehicle systems configuration depending on operational requirements.
The cost, time, and complexity of re-certifying vehicular systems through traditional monolithic safety cases are prohibitively high for optimal efficacy. An alternative approach for re-assessing and re-issuing safety cases involves breaking down the safety case into safety case modules corresponding to the modular architecture of the vehicle, updating and modifying these safety case modules with evolving design, upgrades, or the role change process.
Modern cars contain a myriad of electronic controllers that are segregated in variety of networks such as CAN, FlexRay, LIN, etc. to carry out functional tasks. Vehicle electronics (Vetronics) perform crucial functions such as braking, steering, cruise control, driving assistance, infotainment etc. Traditionally the vehicle networks have been developed to maintain the integrity and safety of the vehicle. They have been proven reliable in performing safety related tasks but, are mostly unprotected against malicious attacks.
Modern vehicles, in particular specialist vehicles (e.g. police, ambulance, fire and rescue), are increasingly complex systems that rely on vehicle electronics (vetronics) to provide essential capabilities. The electronic architecture of these vehicles consists of distributed subsystems of varying degree of integrity that are integrated using the vetronics infrastructure. Many of these subsystems are rapidly updated to address urgent needs.
As high definition (HD) video sensors such as 4K and 8K become more common placed, the challenges of HD video distribution become more apparent. High bandwidth utilisation and management of multi-source multi-sink video are two major problems that HD video distribution introductions. This project looks at how networking technologies used in High Performance Computing could be used to mitigate against this.
The UGV power resource management project considers the energy used by Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs) as they navigate their dynamic environment.
Emergency services have increasingly stringent demands on operations. These demands result in a need for fast, agile response, thus creating added vehicle system complexity. There is increasing dependency on the integration of different sub-systems, and rapid updating as dedicated sub-systems become more and more advanced.