ARTRAC will contribute to the goals of the European Commission’s Road Safety Programme 2011-2020 concerning improved safety for Vulnerable Road Users (VRUs). Although the ambitious target set in 2001 to halve the number of fatalities by 2010 has not been completely met, significant progress has been made. For example, the number of fatalities is expected to fall by more than 40% (compared to a 25% drop in the preceding decade). It also brought down the average level of road deaths per one million inhabitants from 113 in 2001 to 69 in 2009 for all current 27 EU Member States. For the period from 2011 to 2020 again the goal is set to reduce the number of fatalities on European roads by 50%.
ARTRAC will address the following six major scientific and technical objectives:
- Develop a generic detection system able to detect pedestrians, cyclists, and other vulnerable road users (VRU) as well as vehicles.
- Implement the capability to monitor road surface conditions and detect low-friction road sections caused by water, ice or snow on asphalt. This will be able to be used to warn or adapt the vehicle’s electronic control systems such as electronic stability control (ESC) and collision avoidance systems (CAS) for changed friction conditions.
- Develop an electronically controllable brake and steering force system able to slow down the vehicle and provide a supported evasive manoeuvre. Drivers’ reactions to hazards are too often stereotypic and slow, and their evasive manoeuvres either insufficient or incorrect.
- Provide a totally new safety function based on automatic braking and system-initiated steering recommendation to avoid accidents, or at least mitigate their impact in the event of an unavoidable crash.
- Validate and demonstrate the system functionality by means of pre-defined test scenarios. The prototype will be demonstrated within some “basic” safety applications on two vehicles types, a compact car and a light commercial vehicle.
- Promote the deployment of VRU safety technologies among relevant bodies and stakeholders, including end-users.
ARTRAC started by analysing and consolidating the needs of traffic safety, OEMs and suppliers. In addition previous projects and their results were investigated, in particular the recent PReVENT IPand FRICTION.
This analysis leads to the definition of requirements for the novel sensor and is followed by work to create the sensor architecture and specifications dealing with antenna and multiple channel receiver specification, specification of the actual sensor performance and specification of the applications to be fed by the radar.
After that the actual development work starts, consisting of over 20 different major tasks/sub-tasks needed to realise the new radar prototype. The work is very much composed of parallel and intertwined development of radar hardware, software and performance-related algorithms as well as algorithms needed in vehicle integration. This is followed by verification and testing with all partners involved. The radar prototype will be available in December 2013. After that the integration of the radar prototype into test vehicles may start (one compact car, one light commercial vehicle). After checking functionality, full system tests with all pre-defined scenarios will follow.
Technology to track vulnerable road users
EU-funded scientists are developing a reliable and low-cost safety system to decrease accident rates through the use of advanced sensing systems to detect road users.
Although casualties have dramatically decreased over the last few years due to a variety of new technologies, the percentage is not quite big enough to stay calm. The European Commission has set ambitious road safety goals for the 2010–2020 time frame for reducing them to 50 %.
The EU-funded project 'Advanced radar tracking and classification for enhanced road safety' (http://artrac.org/ (ARTRAC)) aims to develop, test and demonstrate an active safety system for vehicles that senses vulnerable road users. The novelty of this system relies in recognising and classifying objects. These include pedestrians, bicyclists, vehicles and static objects.
Scientists are designing an inexpensive 24 GHz radar sensor to link it to an actuation module through sophisticated algorithms. As soon as a critical situation is identified, the system will perform various functions such as automatic braking or system-initiated steering to prevent accidents.
Another ARTRAC sensor monitors road surface conditions and detects low-friction sections. This will be used to warn or adapt the vehicle electronic control systems to changed friction conditions.
The new antenna for the ARTRAC radar sensor has been designed in accordance with requirements and the first prototype is under review. The multi-channel receiver module and digital signal processing module are also under review.
Project members have designed the road condition sensor, and defined the braking and steering control algorithms, both for collision mitigation and avoidance. The radar prototypes will be integrated into two test vehicles. After checking functionality, full system tests with all pre-defined scenarios will follow.
This safety system has a high potential to be launched given that the majority of components already exist in the standard equipment of a series of cars. Safety-critical situations may be completely avoided, and passive safety elements, such as airbags, will thus be much more effective.