DrIVE Associated Team: Distributed Intelligent Vehicular Environment – Enabling ITS through programmable networks (2018-2020)

FAPESP Grant number 2017/50361-0 (CNRS/FAPESP,

Transportation systems are a key component of our society’s critical infrastructure and are expected to experience transformative changes during the current “information age”. A noteworthy example is the automotive industry which has been disrupted by technologies such as vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication.
Vehicular communication is expected to be one of the key technological enablers of next-generation transportation systems, also known as Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS). In ITS, vehicles exchange information to self-drive, coordinate road traffic, communicate road conditions, avoid accidents, as well as support infotainment services.

ITS services and applications pose significant challenges due to their stringent low latency, reliability, scalability, and geographic decentralization requirements. Leveraging the emergence of the Software-Defined Networking (SDN) paradigm, Software-Defined Vehicular Ad hoc NETwork (SD-VANET) architectures have been proposed as a way to address such requirements. SD-VANETs rely on the separation between network control and data planes, resulting in increased network programmability that
enables vehicles to react and adjust to dynamically changing environmental- and networking conditions. They have demonstrated the benefits of using SDN’s decoupling of network control from data forwarding when compared to traditional” VANET architectures (e.g., employing multi-hop ad hoc network routing. However, SD-VANETs and other existing solutions either: (1) rely on logically centralized control plane, or (2) use a static control distribution approach, both of which are not compatible with ITS’ QoS needs.

We contend that ITS’ stringent scalability, latency, reliability, and decentralization requirements call for a distributed and flexible network control plane, decoupled from the data plane, that can automatically and dynamically adjust to current environment and network conditions. As such, the main objectives of the DrIVE associated team are to:

Develop a programmable network control plane that will dynamically adjust to current environment conditions and network characteristics to support ITS’ scalability, quality of service (QoS), and decentralization requirements, and
Apply the proposed distributed network control plane framework to ITS services and applications, such as road hazard warning, autonomous- and self-driving vehicles, and passenger-centric services (e.g., infotainment and video streaming).

Work Plan for 2018

The following activities will be launched in the project’s first year and will be carried out concurrently in subsequent years.

  • Vehicle-to-vehicle communication: One of the challenges is to provide the controller with sufficient information to control a gateway in a secure way. For instance, the controller should be aware of nodes in the gateways’ vicinity, including their position. Such information would enable the controller to define message relevance areas, i.e., decide which nodes should receive which data messages. Secure authentication mechanisms between controllers, switches and gateways will be developed.
  • Vehicle-controller discovery: Our preliminary framework allows vehicles to establish a connection with a controller to exchange control and data packets. Even though we have not yet explored how such connection can be established dynamically, it is an important challenge that we plan to address. OpenFlow allows multiple controller connections for a single switch with the restriction of defining a single controller in charge (or a master controller). However, it does not handle dynamic switch-controller association.
  • Handling mobile controllers: Disconnections between vehicles and controllers may happen very often in ITS due to mobility, RSU coverage, etc. One way to mitigate control plane disconnections is to use mobile controllers. For example, a gateway could act as a controller through a delegation process, i.e., a higher layer controller could offload tasks to the new instantiated controller.
  • Instrumentation and monitoring: Allowing controller(s) to get an accurate view of available network resources (e.g., link bandwidth, switch capacities) and flow requirements in a dynamic way and with low overhead is critical. Indeed, controller(s) need to have a precise and up to date vision of network resources in order to make optimal or close-to-optimal decisions and place the NFV at the most strategic locations in the network. It is essential to identify possible bottlenecks in a timely manner, yet ensure monitoring does not impact data plane performance.
  • Prototyping and testing: We will assess the performance of our proposed algorithms and protocols using network simulations (e.g., ns-3), emulation (e.g., mininet-wifi), and reproducible experimentation using testbeds. Some extensions of these evaluation tools and platforms may have to be developed to allow experimenting with ITS-like scenarios.
Testbeds and Software

R2lab: Reproducible Research Lab


Anuj Kaul, Katia Obraczka, Mateus Santos, Christian Rothenberg, Thierry Turletti, “Dynamically Distributed Network Control for Message Dissemination in ITS“, IEEE/ACM DS-RT 2017 – 21st International Symposium on Distributed Simulation and Real Time Applications, Oct 2017, Rome, Italy (prior work to DrIVE associated team).


DIANA at Inria Sophia Antipolis, FRANCE:

  • Thierry Turletti (PI): Senior Researcher. Network architectures, Wireless and Testbeds skillsChadi Barakat: Senior Researcher. Measurement, QoE and network modeling skills
  • Walid Dabbous: Senior Researcher, head of DIANA team. Network architectures and Testbeds skillsOsama Arouk: Postdoc Labex@UCN on 5G NFV slicing.
  • Naoufal Mahfoudi: PhD student, with expertise on experimentation in the R2lab wireless testbed.Ghada Moualla: PhD student, Resilience and NFV skills.


  • Christian Esteve Rothenberg (PI): Assistant Professor, head of INTRIG team. Wireless, Security and Network architectures skills.

Ericsson Research, Indaiatuba-SP, BRAZIL (Satellite Partner):

  • Mateus Augusto Silva Santos (PI): Experienced Researcher. Ad hoc networks and SDN skills.
  • Pedro Henrique Gomes: Experienced Researcher. Industrial IoT skills.

UC Santa Cruz, CA, USA (Other Partner):

  • Katia Obraczka (PI): Professor, head of i-NRG team, Network architectures skills.
  • Anuj Kaul: PhD student, SDN and ITS skills.
  • Renato Silva: PhD student, Security and SDN skills.
  • Evandro Macedo: PhD student, Security and SDN skills.