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Collision warning system for connected cars

In the European Union alone, more than 40,000 people die every year in car accidents. Even if alcohol abuse or excessive speeds are certainly the major causes of these accidents, many crashes could be avoided if collision avoidance systems (CAS) were used. Such systems have been developed by researchers working for the REPOSIT project (RElative POSitioning for collIsion avoidance sysTems). Now, "European researchers have demonstrated in the lab a collision warning system for cars that could alert the driver several seconds in advance of an imminent impact." This system should not be expensive as it only involves popular GPS devices and an emerging car communication protocol called Vehicle2Vehicle (V2V), which is just a piece of software. So this kind of technology could soon easily be installed in cars and save thousands of lives. But read more..
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Written by Roland Piquepaille, Inactive on

In the European Union alone, more than 40,000 people die every year in car accidents. Even if alcohol abuse or excessive speeds are certainly the major causes of these accidents, many crashes could be avoided if collision avoidance systems (CAS) were used. Such systems have been developed by researchers working for the REPOSIT project (RElative POSitioning for collIsion avoidance sysTems). Now, "European researchers have demonstrated in the lab a collision warning system for cars that could alert the driver several seconds in advance of an imminent impact." This system should not be expensive as it only involves popular GPS devices and an emerging car communication protocol called Vehicle2Vehicle (V2V), which is just a piece of software. So this kind of technology could soon easily be installed in cars and save thousands of lives. But read more...

Vehicle-to-vehicle communications

You can see above an illustration showing how the vehicle-to-vehicle communications are established. (Credit for image: Car 2 Car Consortium). You'll find a similar picture in a previous post, "Networks on wheels (February 1st, 2006).

Here is a description of the V2V technology. "The system works by broadcasting the information in the channel following an exponential backoff collision avoidance algorithm. That means that if a vehicle tries to transmit and detects someone else is transmitting it will wait a longer random time before trying again. This time is in the range of milliseconds, because new data arrives every second and it is not worth trying to transmit old information when you have fresh one waiting to be sent. In a regular data system we are used to value a lot recovering all the pieces of information, but in a real-time system such as REPOSIT it is more important to share as soon as possible the latest available information."

For more information, here is a link to an ICT Results article, "Crash warning for connected cars?." Here is a description of a 'connected car.' "The prototype can find its position using GPS, and find the position, speed and trajectory of neighbouring and oncoming traffic using an emerging car communication protocol called Vehicle2Vehicle (V2V). It can use that information to calculate the relative position of other cars, and then extrapolate where they will be in a few seconds' time. If the data predicts a collision, it warns the driver."

But does the system really work? "'So far, we've got predictions about 1 to 3 seconds ahead of a collision... but anything from 2 seconds up gives drivers time to react. It works better at medium-to-high speeds, above 50km/h,' reveals Jose Ignacio Herrero Zarzosa, coordinator of the Reposit 'relative position for collision avoidance systems' project. High-performance GPS systems, that can locate a car within a metre or so, perform far better than low-performance GPS systems, but even with poor GPS technology Reposit has managed to get warning times to 1.5 seconds in a simulator, not too far from the useful minimum of 2 seconds. Zarzosa believes the system can do even better, with further work using vehicles' available sensors."

So the technology works in the labs. But are car companies interested? "Right now, there is no standard for integrating new functions into an existing car system. Every manufacturer uses different system integration methods. 'This significantly pushes up the cost of third-party technologies like Reposit,' warns Zarzosa. Although the European Commission reports that it is working hard on this. So far, the car industry finds Reposit's work interesting, but remains unconvinced of the commercial application."

Sources: ICT Results, January 4, 2008; and various websites

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