Working in collaboration with other vehicle manufacturers as part of the INTERSAFE-2 research project supported by the European Commission, Volkswagen Group Research has developed a range of innovative systems to assist drivers at intersections. Based on vehicle-infrastructure communication, the systems give drivers information not only on the visible surroundings, but in particular also on objects that are hidden from sight.
Innovative road junction assistance system unveiled in Wolfsburg
The systems automatically detect dangerous traffic situations at road junctions and enable appropriate assistance for the driver in circumstances of relevance to safety. At these often time-critical moments, the driver receives a targeted audible and visual warning and the brake is briefly applied. The driver always retains complete responsibility and has control of the vehicle.
Intersections are major black spots for accidents with injuries in inner cities. “The Group’s own accident research has been able to analyze in relation to this that it is especially miscalculations of speed and distances, plus a failure to observe red lights or stop signs, that cause accidents with sometimes serious consequences. The Intersafe-2 project is therefore very important in order to ameliorate such situations in inner cities in the future,” stresses Professor Jürgen Leohold, Head of Volkswagen Group Research. “In light of the ongoing growth of urban mobility with all sorts of different people involved, plus social trends, such as the increasing age of society, the importance of assistance functions of this kind will become ever greater.”
Based on a Passat CC, the prototype built by Volkswagen Group Research is equipped with five assistance functions developed specifically for road junctions: left turn, right turn, intersection crossing, red light and stop sign assistants. If a driver breaks any of the appropriate rules of the road, these functions warn them in three stages of escalation: first an audible warning, then a visual one and finally by a jerk on the brake.
To test the systems, the necessary equipment for detecting pedestrians and vehicles was installed at the junction of Breslauer Straße and Wohltbergstraße in Wolfsburg. The equipment consisted of laser scanners, infrared sensors and WLAN as the communications technology. This technology was tested for a future intersection assistant over recent months using specially equipped prototype vehicles.
The INTERSAFE-2 European research initiative, supported by the European DG-ICT Commission, stands for ‘intersection safety’ and has a total budget of €6.5 million. The European Commission is contributing €3.5m, while the industry is putting in €3m. Eleven partners from industry and academia are involved, based in six European countries. Scheduled to last for three years, the aim of this collaborative research is to increase road safety at intersections.
The INTERSAFE-2 partners are: BMW Group, IKA, INRIA, NEC, SWARCO, TRW conekt, VTT, SICK (project coordination), Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, Volvo Technology, VTT and Volkswagen AG. Further information is also available at http://www.intersafe-2.eu.
- Volkswagen AG