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Using wireless networks to avoid car crashes

European researchers are working on a project named I-WAY, an acronym for 'Intelligent co-operative system in cars for road safety.' The goal of this project is to develop new automotive safety systems that will alert drivers to potential hazards by using data obtained from in-vehicle sensing systems, the road infrastructure and other road users. With this system, drivers will receive warnings and alerts for weather conditions, traffic jams or accidents, so that they could avoid crashes. The I-WAY project started in February 2006 and should be completed in January 2009 for a total cost of 4.59 million euro, with a EU funding of 2.6 million euro. But read more...
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Written by Roland Piquepaille, Inactive on

European researchers are working on a project named I-WAY, an acronym for 'Intelligent co-operative system in cars for road safety.' The goal of this project is to develop new automotive safety systems that will alert drivers to potential hazards by using data obtained from in-vehicle sensing systems, the road infrastructure and other road users. With this system, drivers will receive warnings and alerts for weather conditions, traffic jams or accidents, so that they could avoid crashes. The I-WAY project started in February 2006 and should be completed in January 2009 for a total cost of 4.59 million euro, with a EU funding of 2.6 million euro. But read more...

I-WAY architecture

You can see above the architecture used by the I-WAY project, which mixes information gathered by the in-vehicle subsystems and from the external transport system. (Credit: I-WAY project) Foe more information, here are two links to the official I-WAY website and to ="" href="http://cordis.europa.eu/fetch?CALLER=PROJ_IST&ACTION=D&DOC=16&CAT=PROJ&QUERY=011d72ae342c:e4d5:31cec8f1&RCN=80581" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">its description by the EU.

As mentioned in the first paragraph, this project is far from completed. However, preliminary results are encouraging. "'We are very pleased with our video system for road observation,' explains Andrea Migliavacca, coordinator of the I-WAY project. 'Our partners wanted a simple, low-maintenance and easy to install unit that could still provide useful information, and we have developed a unit that responds to their needs. They’re very happy with it.' The external video is used to ensure the driver stays in the correct lane and is one of a series of subsystems used in the I-WAY platform. Some parts, like the radar, have come off the shelf, while other elements, such as the car-to-car communication, were supplied by other European research."

Some progress has also be done on the car-to-car information front. "If another car encounters a hazard, it can broadcast that information to nearby vehicles. Similarly, roadside sensors and communication systems, used by the highway control centre to track road conditions, can transmit important information to drivers as they pass by. They can warn of oncoming lane closures, temporarily lowered speed limits, road conditions and traffic jams, among others. Internal sensors complete the package of subsystems. The team developed in-car cameras to monitor the driver as well as grip and electrocardiogram (ECG) sensors on the steering wheel. The grip and ECG sensors, combined with the eye-tracking internal camera, can reveal the state of the driver, if he or she is stressed, for example."

The I-WAY website contains many other details about the project. Let's just focus on the page about architecture, from which the above illustration was picked. The whole "platform integrates several independent sub-systems that work in with, so as to provide the whole I-Way functionality."

The I-WAY platform is composed of the in-vehicle subsystem and the external transport system. "The in-vehicle subsystem consists of five modules which are located in the interior of the vehicles: the vehicle sensing module, the data acquisition module, the mobile interfaces of the vehicle, the situation assessment module and the communication module. The external transport system includes the roadside equipment which is responsible for data acquisition referring to the road environment in locations where vehicles cannot precisely recognize dangerous conditions and the road management system including an application and a database server which holds and manages the real-time road information."

If you're interested in this subject, you can also read "Coordinated avoidance maneuvers" (Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft Research News, November 2008, Topic 2). Here is a short quote about this project -- which seems unrelated to the I-WAY one. "A child runs across the street without paying attention to the traffic, just as a car approaches at speed. It’s too late to slam on the brakes, and the driver can’t swerve either, as there is another car on the neighboring lane. An accident seems inevitable. A new software program, that for the first time can help several cars to coordinate their movements together, could take the edge off such a situation in future. The vehicles form a network via car-to-car communication and communicate automatically."

Sources: ICT Results, November 5, 2008; and various websites

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