A new safety technology to protect vulnerable pedestrians image

Continental is developing a new technology meant to lower as much as possible incidents between vehicles and vulnerable road users.

According to Germany’s Federal Statistics Office, around 50 percent of people killed in traffic accidents are vulnerable road users such as cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians. Between 2000 and 2012, the number of fatal accidents involving car occupants fell by 50 percent. In contrast, the same statistic for vulnerable road users fell by less than 30 percent over the same period, according to a report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Therefore, new technologies that can prevent such incidents are always welcome. The automakers brought to their car pedestrian detection systems to enhance the safety on the roads.

The automotive supplier Continental is also taking part in the improvement of safety standards with its Vehicle-to-X (V2X) communication, through which vehicles will be able to communicate with these road users. Short-range communication, such wireless networks, makes it possible to exchange position data in order to avoid possible collisions or significantly reduce accident severity. “Protecting vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists is one of the greatest challenges on the road to accident-free driving,” explained Dr. Bernhard Klumpp, Head of the Passive Safety & Sensorics business unit at Continental. “Short-range communication can play a decisive role here, too, and brings us one step closer to our goal of zero traffic fatalities.”

A vehicle fitted with V2X technology is able to communicate with a person that carry a smartphone or a special transponder. Modern vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication is based on a standard for direct ad-hoc communication (WLAN). In future, it will be possible to incorporate a smartphone into this ad-hoc communication so that they are able to communicate with vehicles using V2X. The position and movement predictions of the VRU are transmitted anonymously to the vehicle using V2X messages. Incoming messages are authenticated and processed within less than 0.1 seconds. One big advantage of the communication using short-range communication, with a range of 300 to 500 meters, is the very low latency time. This is essential for exchanging safety-relevant information, such as the vehicle position, dynamics and brake operation.