Although safety is improving on European roads, every year over 40,000 people die on Europe’s roads and 1.4 million accidents occur. Clearly, there is still plenty of work to be done if the EU is to halve road fatalities to under 25 000 by 2010, a target fixed in September 2001.
Maxime Flament, Ertico Credit: Terry Brisco
Although intelligent ICT-based systems already exist, their market take-up has been very slow. Reasons for this include legal and institutional barriers, competition among car-makers, the relatively high cost of intelligent systems, lack of customer demand, and above all a general lack of information on and awareness of the potential benefits of such systems.
Partly to counter this, the PReVENT integrated project is devoting 55 million euro to the safety of drivers, passengers and pedestrians. Including over 50 partners, it is made up of sub-projects covering specific road traffic and accident situations.
“What we have are car-safety systems that can support the driver in critical situations,” says Maxime Flament PReVENT manager from ERTICO. In essence, the preventive safety applications help a driver to avoid or mitigate accidents by sensing the nature and significance of the danger, while taking into account the driver’s own state. But this technology must not take control away from drivers, which would restrict user-acceptance.
Take for instance, the MAPS&ADAS sub-project that is creating safety-enhanced digital maps for a variety of other applications other than just route guidance. “We use digital maps as a predictive sensor,” says Vincent Blervaque, project coordinator from ERTICO. “They complement other vehicle speed and position sensors such as lasers and video cameras, which have limited range, to extend the driver horizon at least 300 to 500 metres ahead. For example, a driver can be alerted to what is coming after the next road curve or intersection.”
He expects applications developed under this project will be common in cars within five years, adding that there is lots of interest worldwide from car manufacturers. Better map information could also be used to reduce fuel consumption.
INTERSAFE, the biggest PReVENT sub-project, focuses on traffic safety at intersections. The areas where roads meet are especially dangerous for road users, resulting in 35 per cent to 40 per cent of traffic accidents and 70 per cent of all fatal accidents. In Germany alone, intersections account for 350,000 accidents annually.
“We focused on building an intersection driver warning, using advanced sensors, new vehicle localisation algorithms and communication between the vehicle and road infrastructure,” says project coordinator Kay Fürstenberg, Director of Research at Ibeo, a laser sensors specialist. The resulting intersection assistant warns driver of an impending collision or informs them about the situation at the intersection.
The system has been tested on real roads and helps the driver in three main areas: turning left, crossing traffic, and when drivers miss or ignore stop signs or red lights.
“It is a new idea to use sensors in a vehicle or in infrastructure that talks to cars. For instance traffic lights, which are in constant communication with a car’s onboard computer, can transmit extra details about local traffic,” he adds.
The APALACI sub-project has put together pre-crash and collision-mitigation applications. These include systems to prepare a car’s brakes and to pre-tension seat belts when a collision is imminent. Demonstrator cars also feature LATERAL SAFE sub-project with wing mirrors that flash small warning lights when sensors detect a dangerous object in the car’s blind spots. Partner Volvo already produces cars with the first generation of this clever system.
Also notable are rear-view mirrors with warning lights for when the car strays out of its lane or risks a lateral collision. They call on a range of cameras and radars, able to assess objects at a range of distances.
“The challenge for intelligent safety systems is to avoid false alarms, so that users quickly come to trust them,” says Mattias Schulze, PReVENT coordinator from DaimlerChrysler R&T.
Time-to-market is becoming a crucial issue for the kind of car-safety systems being developed under PReVENT; a process that many traffic experts hope will be accelerated by the recent launch of the European Commission’s Intelligent Car Initiative to boost the uptake of such new technologies.
Tara Morris | alfa
Improved Performance thanks to Reduced Weight
24.07.2017 | Technische Universität Chemnitz
New Headlamp Dimension: Fully Adaptive Light Distribution in Real Time
29.06.2017 | Universität Stuttgart
Physicists working with researcher Oriol Romero-Isart devised a new simple scheme to theoretically generate arbitrarily short and focused electromagnetic fields. This new tool could be used for precise sensing and in microscopy.
Microwaves, heat radiation, light and X-radiation are examples for electromagnetic waves. Many applications require to focus the electromagnetic fields to...
Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers
Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...
Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.
At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...
3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects
A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...
26.07.2017 | Event News
21.07.2017 | Event News
19.07.2017 | Event News
27.07.2017 | Life Sciences
27.07.2017 | Life Sciences
27.07.2017 | Health and Medicine