Software to prevent car collisions under developmentNovember 4th, 2008 - 1:17 pm ICT by IANS
London, Nov 4 (IANS) A pedestrian chasing a pet dog suddenly steps in the path of your speeding car 15 metres away. There is no way you can avoid hitting him. The string of cars following you crash behind one another. In future, a new software programme will mitigate or even eliminate such an eventuality. “In dangerous situations, the cars can independently perform coordinated manoeuvres…. In this way, they can quickly and safely avoid one another,” explained Thomas Batz, who developed the software with his colleagues at Fraunhofer Institute (Germany) for Information and Data Processing IITB in Karlsruhe and at Karlsruhe University’s chair for interactive real-time systems.
Researchers are making use of cognitive automobiles that are autonomously driven for short periods of time. The vehicles are equipped with car-to-car communication and integrated sensors such as cameras, GPS and radar systems so that they can autonomously recognise their surroundings and avoid any potential obstacles.
The vehicles form cooperative groups that can act in unison. These groups are made up of cars that are travelling in the same direction and are in radio range of one another. Since their speeds and destinations vary, they are constantly re-grouped, according to a Fraunhofer release.
Every vehicle in a group automatically transmits its current position and driving situation to a car that has been designated as the group coordinator. This car gathers the information from all the other cars in its group and draws up a common relevant picture of the group’s situation.
Sudden dangers, such as a child running onto the road, are recognised not only by the car directly affected but also by the group coordinator. If the car in question can neither brake nor swerve because there is another car on the lane to the right, the group coordinator steps in.
It orders both vehicles to swerve to the right in a coordinated manoeuvre in order to avoid an accident with the child and a collision with one another. Unlike in current driver assistance systems such as the anti-lock braking system (ABS), control of the car is taken over automatically.