Software

The current software version is dedicated to utmost security which is why we run the vehicles in kind of blocks. This block-related traffic, however, can lead to a “Stop and Go” behaviour of the vehicles. Once the airport is activated, we will switch to a more predictable behaviour of the vehicles to avoid situations with forced stops. Since the software has to recalculate each vehicle 20 times a second (it moves at 24 cms/sec.), all efforts to predict more than 2 meters (about 6 ft) failed due to missing computer power. For up to 300 vehicles with different destinations, travelling at different speeds, and not having the same length, and considering different maximum allowed speeds, the PC has to find a combination that does not lead to a forced stop. Thus, a vehicle could travel the next 20 seconds at different speeds; plus there are additional factors to consider, like fire engines with right of way, traffic lights, right before left, etc… All in all, the PC always has to act according to the “what happens if…” – principle. Our tests partly delivered quite good results -- only in slow motion. Still in the planning phase is a system with a kind of artificial intelligence (meaning, the vehicles, resp. the PC, learn from the past to avoid certain situations). The current software has a source code of 122,000 lines which comprise of 62,000 lines for the PC-program, 42,000 for the fire incidents, and 18,000 lines for the software inside the vehicles. When we start using the second generation software, the number of forced stops can be minimized by about 60%.

Approximately in Summer 2008 the new software will be ready. It supports 256 orders (absolutely free programmable – each order can accept any number of parameters). Using the new software, it will be possible to control 100 disco-lights in a Love-Parade-truck in motion with a virtually endless program that is saved on the PC and sends “just-in-time” orders to the truck. OK, this is not really needed but it shows there are no limits. Made possible is this by using a data transfer rate of just under 1MB/second! Since the available address room has been extended from 256 to 65,535, now definitely only the available space on the layout sets the limits! Upgrading all vehicles to the new processor generation will at least take 1,000 hours; upgrading the layout rooms including configuration is also calculated to roughly 1,000 hours.  

In our community you can find more information about the carsystem. In our forum, you can discuss with others about the system.