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.
Cidaut together with the partners of Avangard European project is trying to get the answer to this challenging question. One of the objectives of the project is to design an electric vehicle assembly line, with 90% cost reduction relative to a standard carmaker assembly line, to produce modular four wheels electric vehicles and e-bikes.
In order to obtain the ambitious target, IFEVS, as vehicle designer, has adopted a modular solution based on high strength steel tubular design, with highly automated 3D laser cutting and bending processes that have been properly though to avoid mistakes during assembly phase. The manufacturing process also implies the use of innovative 3D printing solutions for both metallic and plastic parts, and also the purchasing and assembly process is controlled by block-chain and cybersecurity solutions to warranty the low cost and efficiency of the project.
Cidaut’s contribution to the project is related to the security of the occupants and also of the vulnerable road users. In the case of the occupant and smart front end has been designed to maximize the energy absorbed and also the passenger spaces has been reinforced to avoid any significant deformation and finally an specific restraint system has been developed adopted to the particularities of these vehicles. In the case of the vulnerable road users’ protection, active and passive measures have been adopted. In the case of the passive solutions the front of the vehicle has been analysed to create “soft” surfaces. In the case of the active, artificial intelligent solutions are being applied to identify vulnerable road users and advice the driver or brake automatically.
Avangard project has completed two out of three years and it is expected that the final answer to the initial question will be yes.
The research leading to these results received funding from the European Union (EU) project Avangard (GA #869986)
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.
Urban mobility is smoothly changing, the electric vehicles are slowly but firmly conquering their natural environment. The cities are the places were the highest percentage of the population is concentrated, for this reason it is very important to improve the quality of the air, highly related to the health. At the same time the cities are the places where the travelling distances are shorter, lower to 30km as an average daily. And finally, the cities are the places with a higher number of transport means coexist.
The scenario that has been described involves a high interaction between different transport modes from walking to public transport going through monocycles, scooter, bicycles, motorbikes and four wheelers. The aim of Multi-Moby project, funded by the European Commission in the H2020 Programme, is focused on the four wheelers, taking as a base a high performance low consumption urban electric vehicle, Cidaut is leading the activities to ensure the safety of all the actors involved in the urban mobility. To get this ambitious target the safety is tackled from an integral point of view, including active and passive aspects.
From the active point of view the vehicle is equipped with advanced driving assistance systems that allow the identification of the more vulnerable users of the road and to take autonomous decisions in order to about accidents.
From the passive point of view, an optimized structure and ad-hoc developed restrain system protect the occupants in the event of a lateral, frontal or rear crash. But also, in the case that the active safety systems cannot avoid the accident against a vulnerable road user, the structure of the vehicle has been designed to minimize the damage.