Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) aim to provide services relating to different modes of transport and traffic management, enable users to be better informed and make safer, more coordinated and 'smarter' use of transport networks. They include advanced telematics and hybrid communications including IP based communications as well as Ad-Hoc direct communication between vehicles and between vehicles and infrastructure.

The following topics related to ITS are currently being addressed:

  • Cooperative-ITS (C-ITS) and its evolution to increasingly improve road safety and pave the way towards the realization of full autonomous driving based on the exchange of information via direct wireless short range communications dedicated to C-ITS and Road Transport and Traffic Telematics (RTTT).
    • C-ITS data exchange, data formats and dictionaries
    • C-ITS connectivity 
      This includes Ad-Hoc communication protocols for direct communication among road participants and between road participants and infrastructure.
    • C-ITS Security
      This includes trust and privacy management and certificate formats.
  • Automotive radars
  • Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC)
    DSRC provides communications between the vehicle and the roadside in specific locations (for example toll plazas). Applications such as Electronic Fee Collection (EFC) operates over DSRC.

Cooperative-ITS (C-ITS)

We depend heavily on transport in our everyday lives. Yet ever increasing road traffic generates serious problems in terms of congestion, safety and environmental impact. Fortunately, information and communication technologies offer new advanced solutions to today's transport problems.

Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) embrace a wide variety of communications-related applications intended to increase travel safety, minimize environmental impact, improve traffic management and maximize the benefits of transportation to both commercial users and the general public.

Stand-alone driver assistance helps drivers to maintain a safe speed and distance, drive within the lane, avoid overtaking in critical situations and safely pass intersections and thus have positive effects on safety and traffic management. However, benefits could be further magnified if individual vehicles were able to continuously communicate with each other or with the road infrastructure.

Over recent years, the emphasis in intelligent vehicle research has turned to Cooperative ITS (C-ITS) in which the vehicles communicate with each other and/or with the infrastructure. C-ITS can greatly increase the quality and reliability of information available about the vehicles, their location and the road environment. It improves existing services and will lead to new ones for the road users, which, in turn, will bring major social and economic benefits and lead to greater transport efficiency and increased safety.

Automotive Radar

Radar technology is developed for use in motor vehicles, mainly in the interests of road safety:

  • Automatic Cruise Control 'long-range radar' operating at 77 GHz. This enables a vehicle to maintain a cruising distance from a vehicle in front.
  • Anti-collision 'short-range radar' operating at 24 GHz and 79 GHz. This is being developed as part of a system to warn the driver of a pending collision, enabling avoiding action to be taken. In the event where collision is inevitable, the vehicle may prepare itself (for example by applying brakes, pre-tensioning seat belts) to minimize injury to passengers and others.

Anti-collision radar

The anti-collision radar technology is marketed in two stages in Europe:

  • Temporary frequency band

A 'temporary' frequency band has been opened at 24 GHz, allowing equipment to be marketed in the short term. However, this band is also used by other radio services that would suffer interference if too many radar devices were operated simultaneously in the same area. For this reason, this band is closed for the introduction of new devices before the usage becomes too dense.

In addition, the radar is required to be switched off within a certain distance of radio astronomy stations, to avoid interference. Currently this is achieved by manual intervention by the driver. An automatic de-activation mechanism will be required after a transition date.

European Commission Decision 2005/50/EC requires this band to be made available in all EU member states and sets the requirements for the transition to the permanent band and for the introduction of automatic de-activation around radio astronomy sites.

  • Permanent frequency band

A 'permanent' band has been allocated at 79 GHz, allowing for long-term development of this radar service. European Commission Decision 2004/545/EC requires this band to be made available in all EU member states.

Our Role & Activities

Our ITS committee (TC ITS) is leading the drive to achieve global standards for Co-operative ITS, which offers enormous potential through vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-roadside communication. Applications include road safety, traffic control, fleet and freight management and location-based services, providing driver assistance and hazard warnings and supporting emergency services.

TC ITS develops standards related to the overall communication architecture, management (including e.g. Decentralized Congestion Control), security as well as the related access layer agnostic protocols: the physical layer, Network Layer, Transport Layer (e.g. with the GeoNetworking protocol), Facility Layer, (e.g. with the definition of facility services such as Cooperative Awareness - CA, Decentralized Environmental Notification – DEN, Cooperative Perception – CP and Manoeuver Coordination – MC, used by the ITS applications). Other addressed topics include platooning, specifications to protect vulnerable road users such as cyclists and motorcycle riders, specifications for Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control, Collective Perception Services as well as multichannel operation.

For all those standardization activities, TC ITS develops also conformance test specifications which are crucial for the commercial deployment of the technology. TC ITS is also heavily involved in the related spectrum requirements.

Cooperative ITS

Most of the ETSI TC ITS standardization work is actually related to Cooperative-ITS (C-ITS). The following is being addressed:

Congestion Control

Congestion Control provides stability in the ad-hoc network by providing resource management when there are a high number of C-ITS messages in order to avoid interference and degradation of C-ITS applications.

C-ITS Security

C-ITS and safety driving applications depend upon reliable and trustworthy data transmitted by other vehicles and the infrastructure. In this context, standardized solutions for security and privacy are paramount and this will be based on the design and implementation of a security management infrastructure for cooperative-ITS. ETSI TC ITS develops standards defining the security framework for cooperative ITS including a PKI. This security framework will support PKI trust model requirements from the EU C-ITS deployment platform and bring privacy protection mechanisms for users and drivers, e.g. using pseudonym certificates and regularly changing pseudonyms IDs in V2X communications.

GeoNetworking (GN) protocol 

Many ITS applications require the dissemination of information with a rapid and direct communication, which can be achieved by ad hoc networking. GeoNetworking (GN) is a network layer protocol for mobile ad hoc communication without the need for a coordinating infrastructure based on a wireless technology, such as ITS-G5. It utilizes geographical positions for dissemination of information and transport of data packets. It offers communication over multiple wireless hops, where nodes in the network forward data packets on behalf of each other to extend the communication range.

Multichannel Operation (MCO)

Since 2019, Day-1 applications and solutions are operational only in one safety related channel (CCH/SCH0) in the 5.9 GHz frequency band. In addition, Day-2 applications and solutions are being specified, developed and tested. While Day-1 applications require the full SCH channel in the worst case, for Day-2 applications other available channels need to be used. Multichannel operation is therefore needed in order to support the Day-2 applications and realize effective use of the available safety related spectrum. This requires the definition of a channel management mechanism together with the extension of the ITS architecture and related protocols (such as the GeoNetworking protocol).

C-ITS facility services to be used by ITS Applications

ETSI TC ITS develops and maintains important services to be used by ITS applications. These services include but are not limited to:

  • Cooperative Awareness (CA) to create and maintain awareness of ITS-Ss and to support cooperative performance of vehicles using the road network
  • Decentralized Environmental Notification (DEN) to alert road users of a detected event using ITS communication technologies
  • Cooperative Perception (CP) complementing the CA service to specify how an ITS-S can inform other ITS-Ss about the position, dynamics and attributes of detected neighbouring road users and other objects
  • Multimedia Content Dissemination (MCD) to control the dissemination of information using ITS communication technologies
  • VRU awareness to create and maintain awareness of vulnerable road users participating in the VRU system
  • Interference Management Zone to support the dynamic band sharing in co-channel and adjacent channel scenarios between ITS stations and other services and applications
  • Diagnosis, Logging and Status for maintenance and information purposes
  • Positioning and Time management (PoTi) providing time and position information to ITS applications and services

Who is involved in ITS standardization work?

The work of TC ITS is supported by a large variety of companies that actively contribute to the standardization work. These include main car makers along with automotive supply industry representatives, silicon vendors, network operators as well as test houses.

Intensive links are maintained with the European Commission whose ITS related activities aim to stimulate the deployment of Cooperative ITS. The European Commission standardization request M/453 in the field of information and communication technologies to support the interoperability of Co-operative Systems for Intelligent Transport in the European Community as well as the standardization request M/546 on Intelligent Transport Systems in urban areas stresses this importance.

Due to the international nature of this work the ETSI automotive community cooperates closely with other international standardization organizations such as ISO, CEN, IEEE, SAE, ARIB, TTA, IETF and ITU in order to achieve internationally deployed and harmonised standards on ITS, essential to achieve worldwide interoperability.

In addition to TC ITS, automotive related standardization activities take place in ERM TGSRR and ERM TG37.

ETSI TC ERM TGSRR develops standards for both Automatic Cruise Control (ACC) radar and anti-collision radar.

ETSI has published the following documents for ACC:

ETSI has also published the following documents for anti-collision/automotive radar:

24 GHz

79 GHz

ETSI ERM TG37 is responsible for the development and maintenance of ITS Harmonised Standards in the 5 GHz (EN 302 571) as well as 60 GHz (EN 302 686) frequency bands as well as Harmonised Standards for Transport and Traffic Telematics (TTT) systems operating in the 5 GHz frequency band: RSU (EN 300 674-2-1) and OBU (EN 300 674-2-2)


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A full list of related standards in the public domain is accessible via the ITS committee page.