Road safety with the connected and autonomous vehicle

This article will see the light of day in the United Nations Global Road Safety Week, to be held from 6 to 12 May 2020. This Week was first held in 2007 with the aim of raising the awareness of drivers, pedestrians and organizations about the importance of transport safety for everyone.

United Nations

In the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries mobility needs have changed at breathtaking speed, driven by increasing population and the changes in our living habits. Spain has now clocked up an average of 1 vehicle for every two inhabitants (Source: DGT in 2018). Much headway has been made in road safety. Witness the following examples: the bringing in of safety belts, introduced in the sixties by VOLVO and compulsory fixtures since 1975; the anti-lock braking system (ABS), invented by the German carmaker Bosch in 1978; and the airbag, patented by Daimler Mercedes in 1971. More recent breakthroughs include Advanced Driving Assistance Systems (ADAS), which now include such features as lane sensors, safety-gap sensors, emergency braking, etc, and which are now capable of making decisions on our behalf.

There is still some way to go, however. Traffic accidents, after all, are still the eighth commonest cause of death worldwide (Source: United Nations 2019). For this very reason the Global Road Safety Week is still a crucial awareness-raising event.

Safety First

GMV’s particular commitment is closely bound up with both connected and autonomous vehicles, to make driving safer, smarter and more rational, sustainable and efficient. It therefore develops and patents technology that has by now hit the market. Examples might be onboard software in telematic units (with applications like eCall, considered to be essential for reducing the accident-attention time and hence saving lives); software for connected systems, including Infotainment platforms and Smartphone apps; high-precision and secure positioning systems for autonomous vehicles based on GNSS signals. All these systems are designed to comply with the very highest cybersecurity standards, with a direct knock-on effect on the safety of vehicle occupants.

One of the most recent accident-reducing advances, besides the abovementioned ADASs, is the eCall system, an obligatory feature of all new vehicles since April 2018. This is an in-vehicle system (IVS) capable of connecting up automatically to a Public-Safety Answering Point (PSAP) if a potential accident is detected; alternatively, vehicle occupants can connect up to the PSAP manually by mobile Wi-Fi. It is estimated that this system, once fitted on all vehicles, could save 2500 lives a year in Europe, also reducing the seriousness of after-accident injuries in 10-15% of the cases. In this road-safety system GMV has been one of the pioneer designers of the first HW/SW platforms of telematic ECUs with built-in public and private eCall emergency services for Tier-1 suppliers and front-line OEMs in the automotive market.

Another of the major road-safety breakthroughs is the existence of connected and autonomous vehicles. And what exactly is the contribution of connected vehicles? Well, we are dealing here with cooperative intelligent transportation systems (C-ITS) that feed information on surrounding conditions into the vehicle. The vehicles’ On Board Units (OBU) are thus kept informed of such incidents as vehicles stopped on the road, obstacles, roadworks, adverse weather conditions, etc, sent by Road Side Units (RSU), which in turn are fed information from  Traffic Management Centers (TMCs). Information may also be received from other vehicles (V2V) or by exchange with vehicle-to-everything infrastructure (V2X). There is a European platform coordinating the harmonized development of these C-ITSs in the various EU member states, going under the name of C-ROADS. GMV is actively helping to develop and set up C-ROADS’ cooperative services both in Spain and elsewhere, on the strength of its activity in the automotive sector.

In the case of autonomous vehicles the aim in view is to automate driving decisions to rule out driver error, caused by weariness, distraction, obstacles on the road, etc. In this case GMV is developing solutions such as highly precise and secure GNSS-based positioning systems.

GMV’s whole range of automotive solutions offer the best possible performance features and the highest levels of quality in the interests of making our car journeys a safer, more efficient, comfortable and eco-friendly experience. To find out more, much more, check out our video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nombLI7hets&t=17s

Author: Belén Andrino

Las opiniones vertidas por el autor son enteramente suyas y no siempre representan la opinión de GMV
The author’s views are entirely his own and may not reflect the views of GMV
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