CVIS has now reached the stage of definition of its use cases, user needs and system requirements. To validate these interim results, the project organised its first Open Workshop on 18-19 October 2006 in Brussels, to which stakeholders external to the project were also invited.
Nearly 80 people from the cooperative systems community participated in the Workshop, including vehicle manufacturers, automotive, traffic system and digital map suppliers; road operators, government authorities, and even the banking sector - whose presence is significant of the commercial interest already displayed for cooperative systems. Other EU-funded research projects such as SafeSpot and Coopers were represented to ensure the mechanisms of close cooperation between those liaison projects and CVIS.
The workshop was a great opportunity for CVIS to raise awareness about the project and meet new and interesting stakeholders. The latter provided some excellent input on CVIS use cases and requirements, influencing the direction of cooperative systems development in Europe. Feedback from the workshop will help set the standards needed for full interoperability for all vehicle makes and all equipped roadside infrastructure.
The first day of the Workshop was dedicated to general presentations about CVIS and its sub-projects:
The Workshop's second day started with break-out sessions dedicated to each of the CVIS sub-projects. The afternoon session was dedicated to feedback and conclusions from the morning break-out meetings, as well as an interactive Q&A session with the CVIS consortium members panel:
Participants reflected on what the final product - the CVIS communication "box" - will look like and how will carmakers sell it: should it be consumer or end-user driven or driven by the services offered? Will the market be very different depending on the different applications?
Other issues included: how can it be made clear to the public authorities of the importance of CVIS and what it could mean for them? How will end users see the benefits? However, it was agreed that the focus should be on why it is beneficial and not so much what is beneficial. In other words, everybody agreed that the focus should be on user needs - with the complexity of the technology made "invisible" to the consumer.
It is rather difficult at present to imagine what CVIS will deliver at the end of four years. It will definitely not be a market-ready product, but a "prototype" that should at least help raise public awareness and convince users. It is similar to the early stages of the Internet: the whole range of possibilities ten years from now is hard to define and many more user needs will come later on. The objectives will remain, but the way to deliver them will change. However, in the end, what will matter to the end consumer is not so much the technology used, but its actual price.
The CVIS Consortium is now analysing the input received at the Workshop and will include some of the feedback into the project's Consolidated Use Case and System Requirements. We understand that the exercise now is one of scoping, to identify the core functionality, to select the highest priority that should be the driving criteria to move CVIS towards its next stage, i.e. architecture.
We were very encouraged by the amount of new feedback that we received. We feel that including this input in the Use Case document will be extremely beneficial. It will not only strengthen the image of CVIS as a transparent project, but it will also improve the chances that CVIS' final technical solution will meet users’ needs and therefore lead to deployment and market development.
The next Open Workshop on reference architecture will take place in May 2007, with CVIS Forum members to be consulted on the proposed dates. If you would like to stay informed and receive regular updates on CVIS developments, please register for the CVIS Forum.