Team, Visitors, External Collaborators
Overall Objectives
Research Program
Application Domains
New Software and Platforms
New Results
Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry
Partnerships and Cooperations
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Section: Research Program

Mobile wireless communications for vehicular networks

Participants : Gérard Le Lann, Mohammad Abualhoul, Fawzi Nashashibi.

Wireless communications are expected to play an essential role in ensuring road safety, road efficiency, and driving comfort o. Road safety applications often require relatively short response time and reliable information exchange between neighboring vehicles and road-side units in any road density condition. Because of the performance of the existing radio communications technology largely degrades with the increase of the traffic density, the challenge of designing wireless communications solution suitable for safety applications is enabling reliable communications in highly dense scenarios.

To investigate this open problem and trade-off situations, RITS has been working on medium access control design for the IEEE 802.11p radio communication and the deployment of supportive solutions such as visible light communications and testing the use-cases for extreme traffic conditions and highly dense scenarios. The works have been carried out considering the vehicle behavior such as autonomous and connected vehicles merging, sharing, and convoy forming as platoon scenarios with considering the hard-safety requirements.

Unlike many of the road safety applications, the applications regarding road efficiency and comfort of road users, often require connectivity to the Internet. Based on our expertise in both Internet-based communications in the mobility context and in ITS, we are investigating the use of IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6 which is going to replace the current version, IPv4, IoT) for vehicular communications, in a combined architecture supporting both V2V and V2I.

Communication contributions at RITS team have been working on channel modeling for both radio and visible light communications, and design of communications mechanisms, especially for security, service discovery, multicast, and Geo-Cast message delivery, and access point selection.

RITS-team has one of the latest certified standard communication hardware and tools supported by the partnership with the YoGoKo Company. All platforms (connected and autonomous vehicles) are equipped with state-of-art communication units On-Board-Units (OBU), where the Rocquencourt site equipped with two stationary Road-Side-Units (RSU) enabling all kind of tests and projects requirements

Below follows a more detailed description of the related research issues.

Regulation study for interoperability tests for cooperative driving

Participants : Mohammad Abualhoul, Fawzi Nashashibi.

The technological advances of autonomous and connected road vehicles have been shown an accelerating pace in the recent years. On the other hand, the regulations for autonomous, or driverless, road vehicles across Europe still deserve much attention and discussion

Therefore, RITS-Inria team plays a key element in one of the European demonstration-based projects (AUTOC-ITS), which aims to contribute to the regulation study for interoperability in the adoption of autonomous driving in European urban nodes. The regulation study done by RITS team and project partners meant to conduct a deployment of Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) in Europe by enhancing interoperability for autonomous vehicles [29]. The project activities and RITS contributions will also boost the role of C-ITS as the primary catalyst for any future implementation of autonomous driving scenarios in Europe. The final demonstration of different European partners will require the implementation and preparations of three pilots sites in three major European cities: Paris, Madrid, and Lisbon. Pilot locations in these major cities are chosen to be located along the European Atlantic Corridor for interoperability evaluation.

RITS-Inria is coordinating the French contribution by evaluating the deployment of C-ITS services in the A13-Paris, which belongs to the French part of the Atlantic Corridor.

Team Core contributions:

AUTOC-ITS project brings the road authorities from France, Span, and Portugal (DGT, ANSR, SANEF) and C-ITS experts from research institutes and universities (Inria, INDRA, UPM, UC, IPN) to carry out a cooperative work and contributes to the C-ITS Platform by bringing answers to the field of automation driving.

V2X radio communications for road safety applications

Participants : Mohammad Abualhoul, Fawzi Nashashibi.

The development work and generating proper components to facilitate communication requirements and to be deployed in different projects scenarios is one of the main ongoing activities by all RITS team members.

There are continuous activities on both theoretical modeling and experimental evaluation of the radio channel characteristics in vehicular networks, especially the radio quality, channel congestion, load allocations, congestion, and bandwidth availability.

Based on our previous expertise and studies, we develop mechanisms for efficient and reliable V2X communications, access point selection, handover algorithms which are especially dedicated to road safety and autonomous driving applications.

Cyberphysical constructs and mobile communications for fully automated networked vehicles

Participant : Gérard Le Lann.

Intelligent vehicular networks (IVNs) are constituents of ITS. IVNs range from platoons with a lead vehicle piloted by a human driver to fully ad-hoc vehicular networks, a.k.a. VANETs, comprising autonomous/automated vehicles. Safety issues in IVNs appear to be the least studied in the ITS domain. The focus of our work is on safety-critical (SC) scenarios, where accidents and fatalities inevitably occur when such scenarios are not handled correctly. In addition to on-board robotics, inter-vehicular radio communications have been considered for achieving safety properties. Since both technologies have known intrinsic limitations (in addition to possibly experiencing temporary or permanent failures), using them redundantly is mandatory for meeting safety regulations. Redundancy is a fundamental design principle in every SC cyber-physical domain, such as, e.g., air transportation. (Optics-based inter-vehicular communications may also be part of such redundant constructs.) The focus of our on-going work is on safety-critical (SC) communications. We consider IVNs on main roads and highways, which are settings where velocities can be very high, thus exacerbating safety problems acceptable delays in the cyber space, and response times in the physical space, shall be very small. Human lives being at stake, such delays and response times must have strict (non-stochastic) upper bounds under worst-case conditions (vehicular density, concurrency and failures). Consequently, we are led to look for deterministic solutions.


In the current ITS literature, the term safety is used without being given a precise definition. That must be corrected. In our case, a fundamental open question is: what is the exact meaning of SC communications? We have devised a definition, referred to as space-time bounds acceptability (STBA) requirements. For any given problem related to SC communications, those STBA requirements serve as yardsticks for distinguishing acceptable solutions from unacceptable ones with respect to safety. In conformance with the above, STBA requirements rest on the following worst-case upper bounds: λ for channel access delays, and Δ for distributed inter-vehicular coordination (message dissemination, distributed agreement).

Via discussions with foreign colleagues, notably those active in the IEEE 802 Committee, we have comforted our early diagnosis regarding existing standards for V2V/V2I/V2X communications, such as IEEE 802.11p and ETSI ITS-G5: they are totally inappropriate regarding SC communications. A major flaw is the choice of CSMA/CA as the MAC-level protocol. Obviously, there cannot be such bounds as λ and Δ with CSMA/CA. Another flaw is the choice of medium-range omnidirectional communications, radio range in the order of 250 m, and interference range in the order of 400 m. Stochastic delays achievable with existing standards are just unacceptable in moderate/worst-case contention conditions. Consider the following setting, not uncommon in many countries: a highway, 3 lanes each direction, dense traffic, i.e. 1 vehicle per 12.5 m. A simple calculation leads to the following result: any vehicle may experience (destructive) interferences from up to 384 vehicles. Even if one assumes some reasonable communications activity ratio, say 25%, one finds that up to 96 vehicles may be contending for channel access. Under such conditions, MAC-level delays and string-wide dissemination/agreement delays achieved by current standards fail to meet the STBA requirements by huge margins.

Reliance on V2I communications via terrestrial infrastructures and nodes, such as road-side units or WiFi hotspots, rather than direct V2V communications, can only lead to poorer results. First, reachability is not guaranteed: hazardous conditions may develop anywhere anytime, far away from a terrestrial node. Second, mixing SC communications and ordinary communications within terrestrial nodes is a violation of the very fundamental segregation principle: SC communications and processing shall be isolated from ordinary communications and processing. Third, security: it is very easy to jam or to spy on a terrestrial node; moreover, terrestrial nodes may be used for launching all sorts of attacks, man-in-the-middle attacks for example. Fourth, delays can only get worse than with direct V2V communications, since transiting via a node inevitably introduces additional latencies. Fifth, the delivery of every SC message must be acknowledged, which exacerbates the latency problems. Sixth, availability: what happens when a terrestrial node fails?

Trying to tweak existing standards for achieving SC communications is vain. That is also unjustified. Clearly, medium-range omnidirectional communications are unjustified for the handling of SC scenarios. By definition, accidents can only involve vehicles that are very close to each other. Therefore, short-range directional communications suffice. The obvious conclusion is that novel protocols and inter-vehicular coordination algorithms based on short-range direct V2V communications are needed. It is mandatory to check whether these novel solutions meet the STBA requirements. Future standards specifically aimed at SC communications in IVNs may emerge from such solutions.

Naming and privacy

Additionally, we are exploring the (re)naming problem as it arises in IVNs. Source and destination names appear in messages exchanged among vehicles. Most often, names are IP addresses or MAC addresses (plate numbers shall not be used for privacy reasons). A vehicle which intends to communicate with some vehicle, denoted V here, must know which name name(V) to use in order to reach/designate V. Existing solutions are based on multicasting/broadcasting existential messages, whereby every vehicle publicizes its existence (name and geolocation), either upon request (replying to a Geocast) or spontaneously (periodic beaconing). These solutions have severe drawbacks. First, they contribute to overloading communication channels (leading to unacceptably high worst-case delays). Second, they amount to breaching privacy voluntarily. Why should vehicles reveal their existence and their time dependent geolocations, making tracing and spying much easier? Novel solutions are needed. They shall be such that:

We have solved the (re)naming problem in string/cohort formations [34]. Ranks (unique integers in any given string/cohort) are privacy-preserving names, easily computed by every member of a string, in the presence of string membership changes (new vehicles join in, members leave). That problem is open when considering arbitrary clusters of vehicles/strings encompassing multiple lanes.