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‘Smart’ intersection aims to increase safety

US city of Columbus will be the beneficiary of one of the first real-world implementations of the technology


How Continental's V2X comms and sensor technology will work at an intersection
How Continental's V2X comms and sensor technology will work at an intersection

Automotive manufacturing company Continental is preparing for a live test of an “intelligent intersection” designed to protect against collisions with vulnerable road users and other traffic participants.


The technology, which uses a dedicated short-range communication system, was first demonstrated on a test track at Continental’s development centre in Brimley, Michigan, in October this year.


The real-world pilot of the technology will take place at an intersection in the city of Columbus, Ohio, before a broader test roll-out. It will also be a topic of discussion at CES 2018 (Consumer Electronic Show), Las Vegas, in January 2018.


According to Continental, the intelligent intersection technology will detect road users within a 360° perimeter of intersections and communicates the position and movement of these objects to all approaching vehicles, which are equipped with V2X technology.


The intelligent intersection concept comprises a complete sensor set for an intersection, sensor fusion algorithms which generate the environment model, and dedicated short-range communication (DSRC) units, both at the intersection, and in the vehicle.


One focus is on protecting vulnerable road users (VRUs) such as pedestrians and cyclists. Another focus is on supporting drivers in complex intersection traffic scenarios like preventing left-turning cars from running head-on into traffic that approaches from behind an occlusion.


“We are proud to contribute our Intelligent Intersections technology to a highly innovative city like Columbus as our contribution to the US DOT’s Smart City Challenge,” said Jeremy McClain, head of systems and technology chassis and safety, Continental North America.


“Our solution is based on transferring and adapting vehicle-proven hardware and software solutions to an infrastructure application. Cities will be able to deploy this technology to increase safety for their citizens and visitors alike. In the longer term the technology can also serve to improve inner-city traffic flow, thereby reducing travel time and vehicle emissions.”


Sensors such as camera, radar and Lidar are positioned at the corners of an intersection. They detect every road user in the area and deliver a list of relevant objects to a sensor fusion unit, which generates a comprehensive 360° environmental model. Relevant objects are then broadcasted via DSRC units to every vehicle approaching the intersection. A DSRC control unit in the vehicle receives the messages, then an onboard system checks it for relevance and triggers and appropriate action if a critical situation is recognised.


“The [technology] is a showcase of collaborative safety and a further step towards reaching our vision zero – our vision of accident-free driving,” added Bastian Zydek, project manager, intelligent intersection at Continental North America.


“Active monitoring of intersections provides the driver and/or intelligent vehicle system a very important time advantage to take action, even before a problem would have otherwise become visible.”


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