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University wins award for driverless car infrastructure

Award presentation ceremony: (from the left) Professor Hafizal Mohamad and Professor Tomoaki Ohtsuki (Technical Program Commitee Co-chairs), Professor Robert Piechocki, Dr Andrea Tassi, Dr Ioannis Mavromatis (University of Bristol), Professor Alexander Wyglynski (IEEE VTS President).

Press release issued: 13 May 2019

A team at the University of Bristol have won an award for their work on the infrastructure required for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs).

'Fog technology’, designed by researchers in the Faculty of Engineering, is an innovative computing infrastructure that could be fundamental in allowing CAVs to be safer and more efficient.  

As the world prepares for future transportation systems the University of Bristol’s CSN group have been developing CAV technologies to unlock societal benefits.

The technology designed by the University is detailed in the paper titled ‘Agile Data Offloading over Novel Fog Computing Infrastructure for CAVs’ which won an award at the IEEE Vehicular Technology Conference (VTC), held in Kuala Lumpur in May 2019.  VTC is the flagship conference of the IEEE Vehicular Technology Society and attracts the world’s top researches and industrialists in the fields of wireless networks, 5G, automotive industry.  The paper is a collaboration between the University of Bristol and Atkins and was awarded the coveted ‘Best Conference Paper Award’. 

The award-winning paper from academics in the The Communication Systems & Networks (CSN) Group from the University of Bristol’s Smart Internet Lab at the School of Computer Science, focuses on the  new paradigm of the ‘Internet of Vehicles’ and how the required infrastructure  will transform the system from a swarm of autonomous cars that merely tolerate each other to an orchestrated transportation machine.

Automated cars are already being tested on roads around the world and the current generation of CAVs are designed to operate in a completely autonomous mode. This mode requires them to obey highway code, drive safely and deliver passengers at a speed that is ideally not much slower than human-driven car would do. However, the much-heralded potentials of quicker, safer and more predictable transportation can only materialise when the cars start cooperating meaningfully with one another and also with road infrastructure.

The paper explores how the new world of collaborative CAVs will necessitate the development of new road infrastructure, with existing assets such as traffic lights and road signage being augmented (or even replaced) with distributed compute and Digital network infrastructures.

The CSN group at the University of Bristol is the main cyber-physical infrastructure architect within the FLOURISH project consortium.  The FLOURISH project is a partnership that develops and prototypes such new Cyber-physical infrastructures for future automated vehicles.

The group has developed the novel Fog Compute framework. The idea behind the Fog framework is that it augments cloud computing with additional resources which are located in the proximity of CAVs. This reduces the latency of communication between vehicles and the infrastructure and facilitates additional safety critical services. The Fog resources are also used to enable sophisticated trust certificates compression, network coding and CAV data offloading technologies.

Dr Andrea Tassi, lead author of the paper said: “The cooperation between self-driving vehicles will require the exchange of vast amounts of data with the road-side infrastructure. In our paper, we present a way of decoupling the relay of sensor data to and from Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, with the resource-intensive task of processing them.  

Dr Ioannis Mavromatis added: “We do so by employing a network of Fog Compute nodes and designing an agile and reliable data-offloading mechanism. Building upon our real-world, large-scale urban trials, we validated the effectiveness and feasibility of our proposal”,

Professor Robert Piechocki, Project Lead, said “I am absolutely delighted for our team to receive this very prestigious award. This is a culmination of many years of research and hard work of a large number of people. It was a joy and privilege to take these concepts from initial sketches and derivations on whiteboards to the actual novel hardware and software deployed and tested on our Clifton campus. It is delightful to know that our efforts are appreciated by the wider scientific community.”    


Further information

The winning paper:

Andrea Tassi, Ioannis Mavromatis, Robert J. Piechocki, Andrew Nix, Christian Compton, Tracey Poole and Wolfgang Schuster, “Agile Data Offloading over Novel Fog Computing Infrastructure for CAVs” IEEE 2019 Vehicular Technology Conference, May 2019, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.   


About IEEE Vehicular Technology Society

IEEE The Vehicular Technology Society (VTS) is composed of engineers, scientists, students, and technicians, interested in advancing the theory and practice of electrical engineering as it applies to the following areas: Land Transportation, Railroad/Mass Transit, Mobile Communications, Vehicular Electrotechnology Equipment and Systems, Land, Airborne and Maritime Mobile Services


About The conference:

The 2019 IEEE 89th Vehicular Technology Conference was held in May 2019 in Marriott Kuala in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This semi-annual flagship conference of the IEEE Vehicular Technology Society brings together individuals from academia, government, and industry to discuss and exchange ideas in the fields of wireless, mobile, and vehicular technology. VTC2019-Spring featured world-class plenary speakers, tutorials, technical as well as application sessions, and an innovative Industry Track, which featured panels and presentations with industry leaders sharing their perspectives on the latest technologies.



FLOURISH is a multi-sector collaboration, helping to advance the successful implementation of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) in the UK, by developing services and capabilities that link user needs and system requirements. The three-year project, worth £5.5 million, seeks to develop products and services that maximise the benefits of CAVs for users and transport authorities. FLOURISH is co-funded by UK GovernmentThe FLOURISH consortium is led by Atkins (a member of the SNC-Lavalin group) and consists of Age UK, Aimsun, Airbus Group Innovations, AXA UK, Bristol City Council, Cardiff University, Designability, Dynniq, React AI, South Gloucestershire Council, Transport Systems Catapult, Traverse, University of Bristol and University of the West of England, with support from Burges Salmon LLP and Bristol Robotics Laboratory.

About Communications Systems and Networks

The Communication Systems & Networks (CSN) Group at the University of Bristol has a 30-year track record of conducting academically renowned and industrially impactive research in wireless communications and signal processing. The group has been researching dependable V2X connectivity for over 10 years. The group is conducting research in: 5G systems and Cellular V2X (C-V2X, LTE-R14); Millimetre Wave 5G for V2X, ITS-G5/ DSRC; Security Privacy and Trust for V2X; Fog Computing and in-Network AI.

About Smart Internet Lab

The Smart Internet Lab is a unique interdisciplinary research hub, combining more than 200 digital experts from around the world. We aim to address key limitations of our current internet system, improving scalability, lowering latency and increasing bandwidth.


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