To mark the first European conference on connected and automated driving, Horizon magazine investigates some of the hottest EU research topics in the field, from whether man or machine makes the decision in critical situations, to the potential for cyber criminals to create chaos on the roads, as well as revisiting some of our favourite articles about the future of transport.
Connected and automated cars could improve road safety, pollution levels and social inclusion, but only if implemented well – and now is the time to shape the course of events, EU research commissioner Carlos Moedas told a conference in Brussels.
Automated vehicles have the potential to revolutionise our day-to-day lives, but these kind of cyber-physical systems are vulnerable to attack by criminals. Horizon spoke with Dr Alexander Kröller, a research manager at Dutch navigation company TomTom, to explore the risks that hacking and viruses pose to self-driving cars.
If you take humans out of the driving seat, could traffic jams, accidents and high fuel bills become a thing of the past? As cars become more automated and connected, attention is turning to how to best choreograph the interaction between the tens or hundreds of automated vehicles that will one day share the same segment of Europe's road network.
The successful arrival in Rotterdam of six convoys of connected smart trucks from different points across Europe shows that cross-border truck platooning is feasible and operational challenges can be overcome, according to Steve Phillips, Secretary General of the Conference of European Directors of Roads (CEDR), which helped to organise the challenge.
Driverless cars may sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, but according to Dr Jean-Luc Di Paola-Galloni, co-chairman of the European Road Transport Advisory Council (ERTRAC), they could be on our roads in just four years’ time, and so the EU needs to regulate that.
The model of our universe as expanding at an accelerated rate has given rise to theoretical constructs such as dark energy and dark matter, which scientists believe could make up 95% of the universe. In September, Horizon takes a deeper look at what we really know about the expanding universe. We speak to Prof. Subir Sarkar, who believes that the Nobel-winning discovery that universe expansion acceleration could be a fluke, and the scientists who are trying to answer the question by allowing us to better measure the expansion rate. We also look at the significance of accurately measuring gravity in deep space, and what dark matter haloes can tell us about the existence of dark energy.
This month, Horizon takes an in-depth look at a shared human trait – our emotions. We find out how science is seeking to better understand and regulate human emotions across a range of applications, from mental health to politics. We uncover the implications of a neuroscientist’s efforts to determine how the brain controls fear and anxiety, with possible implications for treating mental health disorders and autism. We explore how emotions shape our politics and ask whether this can help provide a different perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And we look at research examining how apps and online games can help people manage their emotional sides.
A sister and brother who created shock-activated protective gear featuring a starch liquid for people who in-line skate, motorcycle and do other risky sports, won one of the three first prizes at this year’s European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS).
Winners from Germany and Canada take home top prizes.
New observations may provide alternative explanations for dark energy.
We need to double-check the evidence on dark energy, as it may not exist at all, says Prof. Subir Sarkar.