Intelligent cars: automated systems on display in Versailles September 15, 2007Posted by dorigo in computers, internet, news, science, travel.
I received from my friend Mauro da Lio, who is director of the Department of Mechanical Engineering in Trento, a press release on the new drive assist systems they have helped develop, and which will be on display in Versailles (France) next week. I thought it useful to make it available here, so I proceeded in translating it. Please find it below.
PReVENT: “the intelligent” automobile. The University of Trento among the partners of the European project.
The best european brains in a combined plan on sensors and technologies of the future for driving safety. A support to the driver.
Trento, September 14th 2007 – More than 40 thousand deaths per year in street incidents in the 15 member states and a social cost that reaches 2% of the GNP of the European Union. A budget that has currently brought the topic of street and transports safety -also the object of a recent white book published by the European Union- to the daily agenda in the priority programs of research and technological development of the VIIth framework program.
The European project PReVENT, started in February 2004, addresses this issue. Its main objective is of giving life to a system, inside the vehicle, supporting the driver with the aim of preventing street incidents or mitigating their effects. Among the 52 partners is the University of Trento, with its laboratory of automatic mechanics of the department of mechanical and structural englneering , which has developed technics of automatic drive planning for the european project. The 32 vehicles that will demonstrate live the various technologies of active and preventive safety developed in the plan will be on display in Versailles from the 18th to the 22nd of September.
The new generation of transport means that take advantage of the automatic driving systems have the following goals: inform the driver in real time of impending danger, prevent errors, suggest corrected actions, assist actively or even take over control before the incident. In particular, the new technologies will facilitate keeping a safety distance and safe speed during curves and with respect to other vehicles, they will help driving within a lane, assist during lane changes, help avoid hitting pedestrians or cyclists and improve safety in crossings, they will anticipate the action of lifesaving systems (airbag, safety belts etc.) in the case of imminent collisions.
The intelligent systems developed in PReVENT are organized in three functional blocks: understanding, planning, action. The understanding of the surroundings is realized in the phase of reconstruction of the scenery, in which information coming from a large number of sensors is “fused” in a model of the area. The planning consists in the elaboration of the driving plan most suitable to the situation. The action consists above all in the realization of suitable warnings to the driver in the case of discrepancies with respect to the ideal behavior (most of all with tactile interfaces) or directly in an automatic intervention of the system.
For the reconstruction of the scenery the new systems will take advantage of various types of sensors (inertial, acoustic, proximity, virtual -that is, connected with those of other vehicles -, with maps and systems such as GPS), infrared beams, radars or video cameras. These technologies will allow to read out in real time the surrounding area, detecting the presence of obstacles, pedestrians or others potential dangers, also by collecting information (on traffic jams, incidents, work zones, speed limits) via wireless from other vehicles or from the same infrastructures (roads and street signs endowed with sensors). In the planning phase, once the scenery is determined, the risks are evaluated and a safer driving plan is foreseen, which is transmitted to the system interfacing with the driver. The last link foresees an interaction with the driver: a still unavoidable part, which must be handled in the most immediate and natural way. To that aim tactile interfaces are unsed (an increase in the pressure on the steering or on the gas pedal, a vibration of the seat belt) and/or visual and acoustic (led or luminous pointers on the dashboard or the mirrors) that will inform the driver of the danger.
The PReVENT project has been divided, in its first phase, in a number of subprojects each addressing a specific part of the safety plan:
- long distance safety: project WILLWARN (communication between vehicles, obstacles behind a curve, poor visibility, road work);
- medium distance safety: project SASPENCE (to keep a safety distance and speed, longitudinal dynamics), SAFE LANE and LATERAL SAFE (to avoid undesired changes of lane, and/or to assist in the intentional changes of lane)
- pre-incident safety and pedestrian collisions: projects APALACI, COMPOSE and UseRCams sensors (to amplify the braking, pre-tension of belts, pre-alert of airbags)
- safety in the crossings: plan INTERSAFE with sensors aboard the vehicle (communication with street lights, prevention of hazardous maneuvers).
The second phase of the PReVENT project, which is still open, has aimed instead at the integration of all these areas of intervention. Specifically, in the INSAFES project several measures designed to increase longitudinal and lateral safety of vehicles tuned in several previous studies have been integrated. The developments to which researchers are working will allow the drivers, for instance, to stay on the road, overtake, and change lane in full safety.
For more detail contact Mauro da Lio, Department of mechanical and structural englneering – Laboratory of mechanics and automation, mauro.dalio(at)ing.unitn.it
IP Exhibition, Versailles: see http://www.prevent-ip.org/en/prevent_subprojects/horizontal_activities/ip_exhibition/ip_prevent_exhibition.htm PReVENT Plan: http://www.prevent-ip.org