Vision systems to help protect vulnerable road users

MAY 27, 2009--Pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists are more difficult to protect because they are hard to see. To prevent accidents, European researchers are developing a system that will prevent accidents by using vision sensing systems that track road users.

May 27th, 2009

MAY 27, 2009--Pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists are more difficult to protect because they are hard to see, difficult to track, and often emerge suddenly from unexpected quarters. To prevent accidents, European researchers are developing a system that will prevent accidents by using sensing systems that track road users. Part of the Watch-Over Project, it uses a cooperative approach in which both cars and road users are seen and able to communicate with each other.

There are two versions: one pre-crash version uses a stereo camera system, and the other a warning system using a mono-camera system combined with communications technologies.

Sensors are effective for pre-crash systems, which usually kick in just seconds before impact. But to track vulnerable road users further away, sensors are not enough; it is essential to back sensors up with other technologies like communications.

The strength of the warning system lies in its cooperative nature, with drivers and other road users effectively working together. To achieve this, road users would need to carry or wear some sort of transmission device that alerts vehicles of their presence.

The warning system is not yet ready for commercialization. Current communications technologies are the main constraint. The chip set used in Watch-Over could scan over the distance, but it had limited accuracy calculating angle-of-approach, and it is not part of the standard for Vehicle-2-Vehicle (V2V) communications. It is important that the system can accurately distinguish between safe and dangerous situations, to avoid false alarms caused by inaccurate angle-of-approach calculations.

The Watch-Over Project comprises numerous European research institutions and companies and is funded by the European Commission's ICT strand of the Sixth Framework Programme for research.

For more information, go to: http://www.watchover-eu.org

-- Posted by Conard Holton, Vision Systems Design, www.vision-systems.com

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