Two companies are separately addressing the topic of intersection safety, as Honda and Volkswagen partner with cities half a world apart to work on vehicle to everything (V2X) communication.
Studies show that roughly 40% of all collisions and 20% of traffic-related deaths happen at intersections, and the rise in autonomous vehicle operation makes it imperative that the problem be addressed.
"Honda believes that V2X technology is an essential component of a smarter and safer transportation ecosystem and can play a role in our dream for a zero-collision society," said Ted Klaus, vice president of strategic research at Honda R&D Americas. "By partnering with the City of Marysville and the State of Ohio, we believe this research will give us a better understanding of how V2X technologies can be further advanced and most effectively deployed for the benefit of all road users."
The "Smart Intersection" technology uses proprietary object recognition software in conjunction with intersection cameras, giving vehicles the ability to virtually see around and through buildings, in all weather conditions.
Intersection cameras capture a bird’s-eye-view of vehicles and pedestrian traffic in a 91-metre range. The image is then processed by Honda’s image processing software to create a 360-degree image of he intersection, classifying vehicles, pedestrians, motorcycles and bicycles, and emergency vehicles. The interesting part is that broadcasts the information to connected vehicles in the vicinity using dedicated short-range communication (DSRC).
The vehicle’s on-board computer decodes the information and provided visible and audible alerts, as necessary, to allow the driver to take necessary avoidance action, if needed.
Honda is committing 200 connected vehicles for evaluation of the technology.
Meanwhile, in Wolfsburg, Germany, Volkswagen is partnering with Siemens and the city to evaluate its V2X communication between cars and the local infrastructure on a section of road, covering 10 traffic signal systems. The local infrastructure will transmit traffic light phases to connected vehicles, which will process the information and inform drivers to the status of lights, so vehicles can navigate the stretch more efficiently and safely (and autonomously in future cars). Two intersections in the city will also be equipped with sensor technology to detect pedestrians and cyclists.
“Crossroads equipped with radar sensor technology are able to significantly increase accuracy in the detection of pedestrians and cyclists,” says Manfred Fuhg, Head of Siemens Mobility Germany. “Information that vehicles are not able to detect themselves is provided at complex intersections and accident black spots in particular. Based on systems with artificial intelligence in traffic signal systems, intelligent control methods can provide vehicles with much more precise information on red and green phases than was previously possible.”
Volkswagen says the technology is safer than other V2X approaches.
“Unlike the relatively inaccurate position data of a smartphone, the use of sensors analogous to the vehicle offers highly accurate data for a critical area,” says Gunnar Koether, Head of Vehicle Safety at Volkswagen. “An essential condition for avoiding false warnings. In addition to the technical hurdles, privacy is another aspect which could put people off using their personal smartphones.”