Road sense

A new middleware platform developed by European researchers could help wirelessly connect almost all parts of a car and the road it is travelling on.

The platform, called EM2P, has been developed through the European Union (EU) funded EMMA project. The platform has been designed to make the functionality of a car’s embedded sensors more accessible. The team claims this is a common problem with existing automotive embedded systems, which can sometimes be complicated and difficult to control.

Antonio Marqués Moreno, co-ordinator of the EMMA project, said: ‘We sought to hide the underlying complexity of in-car embedded sensors so that developers could quickly design new applications with existing electronics. EMMA will foster cost-efficient ambient intelligence systems with optimal performance, high reliability, reduced time-to-market and faster deployment.’

The platform will initially be used for in-car electronics, however, its developers believe it could lead the way to a range of possibilities in the field of co-operating wireless objects by taking the difficulty out of developing new applications for existing embedded sensors.

Moreno said: ‘One of the particular strengths of EM2P is its scalability. It only worked with one car, but it has been designed to be able to work with an entire city’s vehicle population, which offers enormous opportunities for traffic management and many other areas.’

So far, the project has focused on transport applications such as enhancing road safety by communicating between sensors within a car as well as with other cars or street signs.

Moreno said: ‘We were not trying to build a commercial application, but rather show that the system worked. Though, you know how these things progress: the first time there were problems, but the second time it worked fine.’

The EU-funded EMMA project is part of a wider effort to develop wireless ‘co-operating objects’, and will contribute to research in the European CONET network. A new project, called PECES, will further develop the EM2P concept.