The NextETRUCK project is driving innovation in electric vehicle fleet management. Project partners AVL, Tecnalia, TEVVA, IRIZAR, FORD Otosan, DATIK, VUB, and NNG have been working on the development of a modular and interoperable Internet of Things (IoT) system platform concept specifically designed to connect electric trucks to the cloud securely and in real-time. This system centres around creating a secure, bi-directional wireless connection for real-time communication between electric trucks and the cloud using Cellular GSM networks.

NextETRUCK continues to achieve significant milestones, including the design and demonstration of a secure bi-directional communication link using AVL Device.CONNECT. This link connects a PC equipped with interfaces simulating a truck to code running in the Microsoft Azure cloud, achieving a round-trip latency of less than 1 second. Initially focused on secure, one-way communication from the vehicle to cloud servers, the project successfully advanced to establish real-time, bi-directional communication, including a connection to a cloud-based real-time execution environment. To facilitate testing before physical vehicles are available, the project also developed a dummy PC that acts as a virtual truck and a corresponding vehicle model to run on the PC, enabling Hardware-in-the-Loop (HiL) testing.

Unlocking the potential of electric fleets

The relevance of this task lies in the ability to offload a significant portion of calculation tasks from the vehicle to the cloud, which allows for calculations that leverage fleet-level information, improving overall efficiency in electric vehicle management. Secure, real-time bi-directional communication is essential for achieving these benefits. The project has addressed this by developing tools to test this communication during the virtual project phases before integrating with physical vehicles. 

Overcoming technical hurdles

The project team successfully addressed several technical challenges. Ensuring a secure communication link between the vehicle and the cloud was a primary focus. Establishing real-time communication with the cloud presented additional hurdles. Finally, enabling bi-directional communication with encryption and ensuring compatibility with cloud security solutions required careful configuration.

“The project and its members have been wonderful to work with. There is a nice team atmosphere, and members are willing to give time and help others to make the project a success. There are some very interesting technical hurdles to overcome, and the wide scope of the project also means that we are all getting invaluable exposure to areas that we are not familiar with”, Leo Xenakis, AVL

These outcomes are documented in NextETRUCK Deliverable 3.3 and have been presented at various international conferences. A workshop is planned for further dissemination of these results.