CIDAUT tackles the passive safety challenges posed by the automated driving

Step by step automated driving is becoming present in our daily driving. Some years ago, some vehicles were able to maintain the selected speed or to inform us about our position in the lane, later they increased their intelligence braking when they found an obstacle in front or steering to stay in the center of the lane. Self-parking is nowadays a reality for some models, as it is the traffic-jam chauffeur. This upscaling of the vehicles’ skills is addressing us to growing levels of automation. Nowadays level 2 vehicles are a reality in the road and level 3 are starting to be sold, and together with the conditional and high automation level, the driver of the vehicle will be allowed to make different activities while the system controls the vehicle.

These activities will be linked to new positions in the vehicle, mainly it is foreseen that the seats will move backwards, the seatbacks will be more reclined and the steering wheel will be warded off in the cockpit. Attending to this new scenario, the conventional restrain systems will totally lose their performance. The seat belt, fixed to the B-pillar will be very far from the occupant shoulder, so it will be impossible to stop the chest in the event of a crash. Similarly, the steering wheel airbag will be away from the driver, so the pressure inside the bag will not be the suitable one when the body impacts the air-bag and the head will impact both the steering wheel and the cockpit.

To tackle these new scenarios, CIDAUT, together with three reference research and development centers, CTAG, ITENE and i2CAT, is developing new passive safety solutions in the frame of Integra project. The new solutions are related to the integration of the seat belt in the seat, in order to maintain the relative position between the occupant’s body and the restraint device, and also innovative solutions of smart airbags are involved with adaptive working parameters attending to the kind of impact and the position of the passengers inside the vehicle.

In parallel, and in order to inform the adaptive airbag solutions, CIDAUT is developing an innovative artificial vision devise based on a single camera to understand the occupants’ position and the main biomechanics characteristics. Additionally, the system integrates artificial intelligence algorithms that monitors the driver and are able to decide if it is in good condition to take over the control of the vehicle. 

Acknowledgment

The work driving to these results is been performed in INTEGRA project, funded by and CDTI through Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación in the frame of the funding for Excellence in Research Centers “Cervera”. CER – 2021 1031.      

CIDAUT is present at TRA Lisbon to show the safe low footprint vehicles developed in Avangard project

IFEVS is the Italian company designing smart electric urban vehicles with four main characteristics, affordability, all made in Europe, modularity and safety. The aim to obtain affordable solutions has addressed to the design of high strength steel tubular frames for different vehicle configurations. The technology is so flexible that can be applied to the frame of a bicycle and also to the frame of a van. For the last ten years, CIDAUT as specialist in crash worthiness, has established a strong collaboration with IFEVS to make these smart vehicles as safe as possible, being able to comply not only with the Regulation applicable to M1 vehicles but also with the more restrictive Euro NCAP protocols. 

In TRA Lisbon, IFEVS presented the four wheels vehicle and also different configurations of the e-bike. In the case of the e-bikes the two and three wheels versions were available for testing. The vehicles received very good comments after testing mainly related to the high comfort, the easiness to ride and the progressivity of the electric boost.

Besides the positive feed-back of the tester, it is important to highlight that thanks to the modular design of the frame, its manufacturing cost is lower than the ones coming from Asian countries and also easy to manufacture in a low investment assembly line, with the competitive advantage that the design and the components are made in Europe, with innovative solutions for the energy storage system.

Acknowledgment

The research leading to these results received funding from the European Union (EU) project Avangard (GA #869986)

Active and passive solutions joint to respond smartly to crash events.

In the frame of Salient, Horizon Europe Project, Cidaut together with eleven partners will search for an innovative solution of the vehicle structure in the event of a crash. The front end structure of the vehicle will be equipped with intelligent sensors, whose first mission will be to advise the ADAS of the vehicle to avoid the impact, and in case this is not possible, the second mission will be to inform the structure of the vehicle about the kind of impact, the direction and the speed. According to this information, the solution developed in the project will modify the behavior of the component in charge of the energy absorption in order to optimize its behavior.

To achieve this innovative result, the consortium will develop new materials, based on advanced composites, aluminium or hybrid combinations on both. The project covers all the steps from the material characterization to the final validation test, where Cidaut will use its facilities to perform the real crashes that will demonstrate and validate the effectiveness of the solution.

Salient is a 36 months project that started on September 2022. CTAG, as project coordinator, hosted the kick off meeting at the headquarters in O Porriño. The twelve partners were present in the meeting enjoying the opportunity to celebrate face to face meetings, and taking advantage of the occasion to fix the next steps and milestones of the project.

The research leading to these results has received funding from Horizon Europe Programme under grant agreement nº101069600.

Cidaut’s occupants monitoring solutions

It seems obvious that driving automation needs new capabilities from the vehicle, lots of sensors have to be integrated to understand what is happening around, short and long range communication systems have to be developed to understand what is happening a little bit further, but, what about the occupants and their safety?

In the frame of Integra project, Cidaut is taking care of the occupants and their safety by modifying the design of the vehicle interior in accordance to the new needs. The first step is to know what is happing inside, with a webcam the occupants are recorded and thanks to the artificial intelligence the information is immediately processed to get relevant information. The functionalities developed by now include, the recognition of the occupant, the counting of flickers and yawns along time, the inclination of the head, the direction of the glance and the position and distance of the body. By processing all this information it is possible to know the alertness level of the driver and the position of all the occupants.

The alertness level is relevant for both standard and automated driving. In the case of the standard driving, the system can detect drowsiness, distraction or illness and alert the driver and/or the rest of the users of the road of this circumstance. In the case of the automated driving, mainly at level 3, it will be possible to alternate the responsibility of the driving between the vehicle and the driver. When the vehicle needs to take over the driving responsibility to the human, it has to be sure that the driver is ready to assume the control of the vehicle, thanks to the application developed it is easy to make this transition in a safety way.

The position of the occupants is also critical for their safety. The high automated levels of driving, mainly 3, 4 and 5, will allow the occupants to take positions inside the vehicle different from standardized ones. In these positions the usual restrain systems are unable to protect the occupants in a proper way. Attending to this, it is necessary to develop new restrain systems  suitable for the driving scenarios linked to the automated position and it is also necessary to monitor the occupants position in order to activate the new restrains systems in the most suitable manner attending to the kind of collision, the biometric characteristics of the occupant, and the position.

The work driving to these results is been performed in INTEGRA project, funded by and CDTI through Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación in the frame of the funding for Excellence in Research Centers “Cervera”. CER – 2021 1031.

INTEGRA Project completes its first year with an open web workshop to disseminate the main achievements

The four members of INTEGRA partnership, CTAG, Cidaut, Itene and i2cat, have participated in the web workshop celebrated at the end of the first year of the project. The aim of the event was to explain the technological challenges to introduce the automated driving solutions in the urban environment, to show the technological research lines of the project in the coming years, to show the business opportunities in the automated driving field and to get feed-back from the stakeholders of the urban mobility providers.

The event was opened by Francisco Sánchez, from CTAG, who, as project coordinator, introduced the current scenario and the technological challenges of the automated driving. After the introduction, Rosa Blanco, from CTAG, presented “Red de Excelencia CERVERA” and gave a technical explanation about the importance and the solutions for the automated and connected driving in urban environment. Next, Javier Romo, from Cidaut explained the influence of the automated driving and the new urban scenarios in the safety of the vehicle occupants and of the vulnerable road users, and the need to establish new solutions with from an integral safety point of view. Itene’s intervention, made by Mireia Calvo, was focused on the particularities of the goods delivery based on automated driving solutions, paying special attention to the new opportunities and challenges. The last technical presentation was made by Jesús Alonso, from i2cat, who explained the new simulation tools developed in the project to reproduce the vehicle to everything (V2X) communications and to understand the automated driving influence on the real traffic. After the questions and answers turn, the event was closed by Sergio Güerri from Itene, who was the organizer of the web workshop.

Workshop STEM on 26 of january

Fundación CIDAUT has several years being part of the STEM Initiative (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in Spain. This initiative tries to promote the female enrolment in STEM careers. To achieve this objective, huge amount of work is being done to impulse and disseminate information about the professional opportunities that the STEM careers can offer to young students. This dissemination process is performed having advantage of the experience of relevant female researchers, in important positions within the different institutions that collaborate with the initiative, the adequate school guidance through mentoring processes and, of course, counting with the adequate support of the students’ families.

In this framework, CIDAUT has organized on 26 of January a workshop titled “Passive vehicle safety, correct and incorrect use of seat belts”, that was imparted by Mrs. Susana Escalante, Industrial Engineer and Director of the CIDAUT Impact Testing Department. The workshop was focused to 16 young high school female students with the intention of raise the awareness about researching inside vehicle safety systems and Intelligent Transport technologies.

In this sense, thanks to the INTEGRA national project, in which the Center is currently taking part, they have been able to discover how autonomous vehicles, capable of imitating human behaviour regarding handling and control, perceiving the environment that surrounds them, are going to become real in a next future.