A few years ago Euro NCAP created the five-star safety rating system to help consumers and businesses compare vehicles more easily. In fact, the number of stars is a fair and transparent picture of how safe a car really is. However, a car can meet the minimum legal demands and it is not eligible for any stars. This does not mean that this car is necessarily unsafe, but it is not as safe as its competitors.
Within what is evaluated, Euro NCAP bases its assessment on four important areas:
Adult Occupant Protection (driver and passenger);
Child Occupant Protection:
Vulnerable Road Users protection; and
Safety Assist, which evaluates driver-assistance and crash-avoidance technologies.
In this last area is where the University of Surrey, in collaboration with CIDAUT and IFEVS, have developed a simulation model which permits the emulation of the advance driver-assistance systems performance. Specifically, it is able to reproduce the performance of the ADAS features that intervene when a car-to-car rear-end crash takes place.
To avoid such crashes, one type of ADAS in the market presently is the collision avoidance system (CAS), which is design to prevent or reduce the severity of the collision. CAS can be further divided into two categories – Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) and Forward Collision Warning (FCW). The simulation model developed within the framework of Multi-Moby project is able to emulate the workings of these two systems and to predict the consequences of different accident scenarios. Additionally, the model can reproduce all the case that Euro NCAP takes account in determining the Safety Assist score.
The research leading to these results received funding from the European Union project MULTI-MOBY (GA# 101006953)
Automated driving is currently one of the major research topics in the automotive field, mainly motivated by the improvement of the safety []. It is supposed that automated driving will eliminate human error thank to the use of technology; however, as long as the automated vehicles continue to have to share the road with conventional cars, accidents will continue to occur. Against this background, CIDAUT together with i2CAT and CTAG have carried out a simulation model chain aimed at determining the occupant injuries after a side collision in an automated vehicle and in a complex urban environment at different speeds. To do this, it was necessary to digitally simulate both the environment where the accident takes place and the vehicle’s communications (i2CAT), as well as the autonomous car itself (CTAG). For its part, CIDAUT was responsible for determining the damage to the occupant caused by the accident.
The fact that the simulation tool focus on side collisions is principally due to the accidentology study carried out as part of the European OSCCAR project, in which CIDAUT participated. Specifically, it concluded that considering mixed traffic conditions, side impacts will continue to be common in autonomous vehicles (it is estimated that around 20% of the total).
Under that premise, the developed tool chain is able to simulate the consequences of a side impact over the occupant at different positions, and taking into account the communications with other vehicles or infrastructure. Briefly, the fact of being able to simulate V2X Communications allows us to know when the vehicle is informed about the risk of collision. In this way, we can adjust the parameters of the restraint system more realistically, taking into account that this information will allow us to deploy the airbags earlier.
This work is part of @INTEGRA project, an initiative that pursue projects and activities that respond to the major challenges of a new, safer, smarter, more sustainable, connected and automated mobility. The project, which is funded by CDTI through Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación in the frame of the funding for Excellence in Research Centres “Cervera”, involves the three research centres mentioned above: CTAG, CIDAUT and i2CAT, in addition to ITENE.
 Watzening D., Horn M. (2016) Automated driving: safer and more efficient future driving, Springer Interntional Pubishing. ISBN: 978-3-319-31893-6.
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)