Platform Enabling Intelligent Safety Applications for Vulnerable Road Users
Journal article, 2014
In 2009, 9108 vulnerable road users (VRUs; pedestrians and bicyclists) died in the EU and 4722 in the US. Active safety systems, i.e. intelligent systems able to predict and prevent crashes, may significantly help reduce VRU fatalities and injuries; however, current active safety systems for VRUs are only found on high-end vehicles, only support the host vehicle driver, and do not make use of wireless communication.
The scope of this paper is to describe the set-up and real-world verification of a platform to enable active safety systems for VRU. This platform is carried by VRUs and may support multiple road users using wireless communication. A simple conceptual application, addressing pedestrian safety at crossings, was developed to test the platform. This application was not cooperative (i.e. did not support multiple road users with wireless communication). The results presented in this paper suggest that such a platform can be employed 1) as a logger for naturalistic studies on VRUs, 2) to better understand VRU behavior and accident causation, and 3) as a basis for the development of novel active safety applications, running on portable devices, such as future generation smart phones, and possibly enabled by wireless communication.
After a description of use cases inspired by accident databases, a first platform prototype was developed. This prototype is open and modular so that it can easily be extended and customized to collect data from any combination of analog and digital sensors, e.g. inertial measurement units, GPS, force sensors and cameras. Furthermore, the prototype is capable of real-time processing and able to provide visual, acoustic, and tactile feedback to the user. The prototype was tested in real traffic with a conceptual active safety application, which warned the user (a pedestrian) when starting to walk, in proximity of a zebra crossing, without having checked for oncoming traffic. Current applications of this prototype platform also include bicyclists and use wireless communication to enable cooperative applications.
Vulnerable Road User