A new way of protecting vulnerable road users

Writer: Timo Schneider

According to the World Health Organization more than half of all road traffic deaths are among vulnerable road users (VRU) . VRU are pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists who participate in road traffic without separate means of safety. The ever-increasing interconnection and digitalization of devices allow for new ways to protect VRU.

Imagine you are walking home from a long day at work. You plug in your headphones to relax, and make your way across the street, unaware of the car approaching. Crossing any street can result in an accident when one traffic participant overlooks another, even when the traffic light is green. Too many traffic participants or stressful situations can distract a VRU as well as a car or bus driver. In cases like these, vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication can play a vital role in protecting VRU.

Being part of NextPerception, Consider It and its partners are working on VRU protection at intersections. Multiple radar sensors detect all VRU at a given intersection. Such a radar sensor can detect multiple objects and identify them as road users. The sensors are connected to a processing unit that takes the data and transforms it into usable data. The roadside unit (RSU) then takes the information and sends V2X-messages out to any vehicle approaching that intersection.

Detecting VRU and warning approaching vehicle

Figure 1. Detecting VRU and warning approaching vehicle.

For that, cars need to be equipped with an onboard unit that can receive and process incoming data. Collision detection algorithms can decide what kind of message will alert the driver, which can be a simple awareness message or a collision alert.

Protecting VRU and making vehicles smarter than ever is on the edge of becoming reality. By being part of the NextPerception project, Consider It and its partners are working with great effort on its realization.

Check out consider-it.de for more information.