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.      

Strategic cooperation for Integral Safety using Connected and Automated Driving Solutions

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.

Successful real time testing for artificial vision and dedicated short range communication

In the field of the CERO Project, Cidaut has performed real time on board tests for vulnerable road users’ protection and short range communication. In the case of vulnerable users’ protection the tests have consisted in detecting both pedestrians and cyclist in different traffic scenarios, like overtaking, crossing or appearing behind big vehicles front blind points. The solution obtained is based in low cost components and simplified software. In fact, the system consists of a monocular webcam with a single processor to evaluate the images registered by the camera. The big effort has been made in the optimisation of the system program and in the use of artificial intelligence to teach the system.

All the scenarios tested were successfully completed, the different vulnerable road users were detected in advance and attending to their relative position with the vehicle trajectory the driver was advised accordingly. An important output of these trials has been the time needed for the system to register the image, process it and decide if it is a vulnerable road user or not. This time is 0,11 seconds clearly lower than the average reaction time of a human, 1 second, or the reaction time of a driver in alert situation, 0,5 seconds, and with the additional advantage of no distractions or drowsiness.

In parallel, the dedicated short range communication system developed in the project has been tested in different scenarios, the most relevant ones have been: semaphore communication, work zone + traffic jam and personalised messages for different users. In the first case communication between vehicle and traffic light, when the vehicle is approaching the traffic light, it communicates to the traffic light its speed and position, according to the time to red or to green, the traffic light makes a recommendation to the vehicle about how to proceed, immediately, the message appears in the HMI developed for the project. In the second case, the vehicle is alerted 500m in advance about the cut of one of the lanes of the road due to road works, and in the case of traffic jam due to the work zone, the vehicle is informed by the rest of the vehicles about this situation, as in the previous case, the corresponding graphic messages appear in the HMI of the vehicle. The personalised messages is aimed to substitute the large and costly (about 40 thousand euro) variable message signals in the roads. In this case the infrastructure has several pieces of information available for the users, but the users will only receive the information useful for them. For the test two vehicles were running on the track, the first one was an electric vehicle, and the second one a dangerous goods vehicle. The first vehicle received information about how to reach the closest charging station, while the second one was informed about a mandatory deviation for dangerous goods transport. The short range communication demonstrated to have more than 800 meters range and at the same time to be the best ally of the large range communication to warranty a seamless connectivity for the future autonomous vehicle.

CIDAUT becomes associated partner of ARCADE

ARCADE (Aligning Research & Innovation for Connected and Automated Driving in Europe) is a Coordination and Support Action coordinated by Ertico under the Horizon 2020 Programme. The Consortium consists of 24 partners from 11 different countries. It is a 36 months project that started the 1st of October 2018.

ARCADE coordinates consensus-building across stakeholders for sound and harmonized deployment of Connected, Cooperative and Automated Driving (CAD).

ARCADE supports the commitment of the European Commission, the European Member States and the industry to develop a common approach to development, testing, validation and deployment of CAD in Europe and beyond.

The ARCADE project aims to establish a joint stakeholders forum in order to coordinate and harmonize automated road transport approaches at European (e.g. strategic alignment of national action plans for automated driving) and international level (in particular with the US and Japan). Towards this objective, ARCADE will organise the Second European CAD conference in 2019 and is open to associated partners beyond the confinements of the consortium.

Associated partners of ARCADE Project

ARCADE objectives are:

  • Cooperation between all CAD stakeholders(e.g. industry, research, member states, European Commission and international partners) from the different sectors (e.g. automotive, infrastructure, ICT and service provisions)
  • Coordination of cooperation efforts between all programmes, initiatives and projects, including national and European research programmes as well international cooperation activities
  • Exchange of knowledge, lessons andexperiences from past and ongoing activities at national, European and international level
  • Consensus buildingon CAD deployment scenarios and research needs for connected and automated driving

CIDAUT has become associated partner of CARTRE

CARTRE is a Coordination and Support Action to accelerate development and deployment of automated road transport by increasing market and policy certainties. To achieve this, CARTRE supports the development of clearer and more consistent policies for EU Member States in collaboration with industry players, ensuring that automated road transport systems and services are compatible at EU level and are deployed in a coherent way.

cartre_1The Project objectives are:

  • Establish European leadership through public-private collaboration for development and deployment of ART
  • Support international cooperation activities in the area of road automation at global level, in particular with the US and Japan
  • Support Strategic alignment of national action plans for automated driving
  • Ensure that stakeholders are well informed of past, current and future ART activities through a comprehensive knowledge base on project results
  • Actively support ART pilots and test beds
  • Report on progress of ART projects on enablers and thematic areas
  • Facilitate exchange of data, experience and knowledge for comparing and deploying results from pilots
  • Foster a common evaluation framework across ART projects
  • Describe possible deployment alternatives and evaluate their impacts
  • Reach out to stakeholders, decision makers and wider public
  • Establish annual international conferences, and workshops in Europe

Other objectives include: the creation of a solid knowledgebase of all European activities, to support current activities and structure research outcomes by enablers and thematic areas; to setup a platform for sharing and re-using data and experiences from different automated road transport systems; to actively support Field Operational Tests (FOTs) and pilots carried out at National and European levels; and to work on future visions, potential impacts and research gaps in the deployment of automated road transport.

CARTRE is coordinated by ERTICO and integrates the efforts of 36 partners from 9 different countries.