In collisions with vehicles, pedestrians typically have far less chances to survive than vehicle than vehicle occupants. A technology developed by the University of Kassel (Germany) aims at improving the situation by establishing a radio-based warning system.
Available pedestrian detection systems installed in cars typically are based on optical, infrared or radar technologies and hence require a line-of-sight connection between vehicle and pedestrian. Thus, these systems have the disadvantage that they do not detect pedestrians hidden between, say roadside parking vehicles or behind corners.
The technology developed by the Kassel University scientists does away with this problem. The pedestrian is carrying a mobile phone with integrated sensors for movement vectors. Speed and direction of the pedestrian are detected and combined with context and profile data such as age of the person, acceleration and the like.
These data are transmitted to any vehicles in a distance of some 70 meters. An electronic subsystem in the vehicle – perhaps in the navigation system – receives and processes the data. If a collision is probable it issues a warning or even activates the brakes. At the same time, the pedestrian's device also issues a warning.
The technology has been patented and the research team currently is looking for partners to commercialize it. Not part of the research work was the transmission technology to be used, explained team member Alexander Flach. “There are several options, ranging from 3G mobile radio to Bluetooth,” Flach said.
The most likeliest candidate would be WLAN technology which is already used for car-2-car communication and car-to-infrastructure communication systems. Bluetooth is not the obvious technology, Flach said, since current Bluetooth versions are limited with regard to connection establishment speed and range.
An intelligent context filter detects which pedestrians will likely enter the road