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.
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.
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.
In the frame of the European Project Multi-Moby, and with the relevant collaboration of IFEVS and Nanomotion and the participation of the whole consortium, Cidaut is developing an integral solution to protect the vulnerable road users in the new urban mobility.
This new mobility is electric, automated, connected and shared and attending to these trends the implementation of small urban electric vehicles is becoming a reality in large cities. These vehicles present two characteristics that increase the potential hazards for the vulnerable road users, the first one is the low noise emission and the second one is the geometry. Due to their reduced size, in the event of an accident with a vulnerable road user, their head will impact on the screen shield of the vehicle, which is a hard component that may cause damage to this kind of users. The preliminary results of the project have demonstrated that it is possible to reduce the damage of the users in legs, knees and pelvis, but it is very difficult to obtain acceptable values in the head working only on passive safety solutions.
One of the first conclusions of the project, attending to vulnerable road users’ protection, is that it is mandatory to integrate active and passive safety solutions. The active safety solutions of Multi-Moby project are based on artificial intelligence. Nanomotion is developing a gimball, able to work in the visible and infra-red field, to recognize vulnerable road users and determine the potential risk of an accident. Depending on the degree of automation of the vehicle the gimball will inform the driver of the potential risk all it will send directly a message to the vehicle for braking. The intensity of the signal to be sent will be equivalent to the relevance of the risk.
The implementation of this solution will suppose an important reduction in the number of accidents involving vulnerable road users, and in those cases where the accident is unavoidable, it will happen at a lower speed, minimizing the damage.
Multi-Moby has covered one, out of three years, and important improvements are expected in relation to urban electric mobility, not only on safety but also on sustainability thanks to innovative solutions in power train, battery charging and energy harvesting.
The research leading to these results received funding from the European Union (EU) project MULTI-MOBY (GA #101006953)
Aligned with its mission and vision of putting safety in the forefront of mobility solutions, Cidaut is participating together with CTAG, ITENE and i2cat, in a strategic collaborative project among reference Spanish research centers to create innovative solutions related to safety. This strategic network is called INTEGRA.
The projects aims at developing digital instruments applicable to assisted and automated driving solutions to increase the safety through anti-crash sensors and intelligent communication networks. The cooperation between the four research centers involved is targeting the reinforcement of their capabilities to develop innovative technologies to foster the implementation of connected and automated mobility solutions in complex environments, with a first focus on urban scenarios.
The network has fixed four technologic challenges, each of one leaded by one of the research centers integrating the project. Cidaut is in charge of the development of new safety systems integrated to the automated driving capabilities to adaptively mitigating the damage on the occupants. CTAG is responsible of creating new automated functions, enhancing the connectivity and developing anti-collision systems. I2cat is in charge of the development of advanced tools for the complex connected environments and ITENE leads the creation of safety solutions for automated last mile applications.
INTEGRA network is funded by the Spanish Government through the Ministerio e Ciencia e Investigación and CDTI, EXP 00140188/CER-2021 1031.
In the frame of Multi-Moby European Project, which aims at developing of technology for safe, efficient and affordable urban electric vehicle, Cidaut is responsible of the integral safety of the vehicle’s occupant but also of the rest of the vulnerable road users.
Multi-Moby is the last, by now, of a large row of projects that were born from the idea of developing environmental friendly, sustainable vehicles considering circular economy concepts, and will finish with the development of a digitalized micro-factory for the assembly of the final solution. In this project the vehicle safety is being improved that’s to the introduction of automated driving solutions that will contribute to increase the integral safety of occupants and the rest of road users.
Cidaut is in charge of the structural design, the development of the restraint system and the implementation of innovative solutions for vulnerable road users’ protection, all of them supported by the automated driving capabilities of the vehicle. The vehicle will be equipped with artificial intelligence to look out the environment and make decisions to avoid or mitigate the possible accident. In the worst case, if the accident happens, Cidaut’s solutions will minimize its consequences on both, the occupant and the vulnerable road users.
The research leading to these results received funding from the European Union (EU) project MULTI-MOBY (GA #101006953).