In Europe, about 200,000 pedestrians and cyclists are injured in road accidents every year. 9,000 are killed. Most collisions take place in cities at speeds lower than 50 km/h. Faced with these sad figures, the European Commission (EC) decided to react for improving the safety level for vulnerable road users. One of its goals is to reduce the number of road fatalities by 50% by the year 2010. In a white paper concerning transportation published in 2001, the European Commission indicated a number of areas in which research is needed to improve the situation. One of these areas deals with driver assistance systems.
SAVE-U's prime objective is to develop a new pedestrian and cyclist detection platform based on the fusion of three different sensor technologies. The data provided by this platform will then trigger other systems involving the driver or the vehicle; the purpose is to avoid collisions or, if a collision cannot be avoided, to reduce the force of impact on the vulnerable road users.
The project's methodology involves:
- identification of the most relevant accidents conditions involving VRUs;
- state-of-the-art of VRU protection systems;
- development of the detection platforms (two different technical variants);
- development of a new test methodology for evaluation on test track to determine the level of reliability, and specifically the rates of detection and false alarms, for various scenarios in which a pedestrian or cyclist might appear in front of the vehicle;
- evaluation of the platform on test track;
- equipment of two demonstration vehicles (from DaimlerChrysler and Volkswagen) with the new detection platforms as well as driver warning and vehicle control systems; and
- evaluation of the full system under real conditions on cars.