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Ko-Fas project finds cooperative transponders and cooperative perception technology could bring significant road safety benefits

The 17 partners—including vehicle manufacturers BMW and Daimler; suppliers Continental and Delphi; and universities, institutes of applied science and research establishments—in Germany’s €25-million (US$34-million), 4-year Cooperative Vehicle Safety (Ko-FAS) research initiative presented the final results from the project last week in Aschaffenburg, Germany. The results showed that use of cooperative transponder technologies in combination with cooperative perception technologies could bring important benefits for road safety.

The aim of this project was to improve road safety significantly, with an attendant reduction in the number of road traffic accidents and fatalities. The approach centered on accurate detection of traffic environments using cooperative sensing and perception, comprehensive situation assessment to precisely evaluate collision risks, and subsequent activation of appropriate advance protection measures.

Based on the principle of cooperation with and consideration for other road users, which is a crucial factor in road safety, the benefits of driver assistance systems can be further substantially increased by adopting cooperative approaches.

— Dr. Ralph Rasshofer, BMW Group representative on the Ko-FAS steering committee

The Ko-FAS project, which was subsidized by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, comprised the three sub-projects:

  • Ko-TAG - Cooperative Transponders. Ko-TAG explored cooperative sensor technology on the basis of transponder systems (transponder = miniature transmitter/receiver). Ko-TAG examined two applications in detail: Active Pedestrian Protection and Comprehensive Safety for Vehicles in Road Traffic.

    The joint project used localization devices in the vehicle, which query transponders carried by other road users. The transponders respond to these queries from the localization devices with specific information. From the responses, the localization devices conclude the type and relative position of the other road users around them and are able to calculate possible collision risks.

    The transponder system developed under the Ko-TAG project was extensively based on the WLAN standard IEEE 802.11p. In contrast to the system used in a previous project, AMULETT, it features extensive synergies with Car-to-x communication.

    Further miniaturisation—reducing the tag to the size of a chip—would allow future transponders to be fitted in articles such as a backpack or a walking stick. The distinctive feature of this technology is that it makes it possible to detect people even when they are not visible to the car driver at the time of the hazard.

    Effectiveness studies demonstrated that the transponder system investigated in this project offers high potential for mitigating or even preventing accidents, by warning drivers of hazards much earlier and in a more effective way.

  • Ko-PER - Cooperative Perception. The Ko-PER project aimed to capture a complete picture of the local traffic environment using distributed sensor networks. An overall image of the local traffic situation can be built up by exchanging and merging data gathered by the various sensor systems from their surroundings.

    Information on the traffic environment is captured by sensors in vehicles, which are complemented and supported by stationary sensor networks at trouble spots such as intersections (vehicle-based and stationary, intersection-based perception).

    Each of these perception units integrated in the communication system perceives the traffic scene from its own viewpoint (at intersections: from several of its own viewpoints) and thus gathers information about the current traffic-relevant objects, their type (e.g. vehicles or pedestrians) and their position, orientation and momentum. The project also investigated the possibilities of so-called “intention recognition” (“The pedestrian is about to start walking”; “the car is about to turn off”).

    The results of the vehicle-based and stationary, junction-based perceptions of the traffic environment are transmitted by wireless vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication systems (in broadcast mode) and merged with the results of the relevant vehicle’s own gathering of data on the environment (cooperative perception).

    The Ko-PER project made use of earlier results from the PReVENT project, as well as an intensive dialogue with the now concluded research project simTD (“Safe Intelligent Mobility – Test Field Germany”). (Earlier post.)

  • Ko-KOMP - Cooperative Components. The Ko-KOMP joint project complemented its Ko-FAS sister projects by examining how effective the different cooperative sensor technology approaches were with regard to the degree of protection that can be achieved for the respective road users.

    The project thus examined different concepts of protection that can be combined with the cooperative sensor systems and that offer considerable potential for preventing accidents or mitigating their consequences.

    The effectiveness of these integrated protection systems in all sorts of different constellations was tested in various real trials and in virtual simulation. On the basis of the effectiveness established for the trialled systems, new model approaches were used to evaluate the potential economic added value that can be created by using these new systems to prevent accidents or mitigate their consequences.


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