The think tank of supplier ZF is in the process of developing an anti-collision app that runs on smart devices. Its head came up with the idea after a traffic accident. If all goes well, this apparently quite intelligent piece of software could be ready for series production in about a year and considerably reduce the accident rate in mixed urban traffic. We have had this interesting idea explained to us.
Children now refer to people who stare at their smartphones with their heads down, as if remote-controlled, as they stroll through the streets as "smombies". Not by chance – the word is a contraction of "smartphone" and "zombie". As road users, they risk not only relatively harmless collisions with street lamps, but also more serious collisions with cars, for example. The world health organization (WHO) has already sounded the alarm about the increasing number of these accidents. Because pedestrians are among the so-called "vulnerable road users" who account for about half of the approximately 1.25 million traffic accident fatalities worldwide each year. ZF reminded us of this at the presentation of a collision prevention app that is designed to use the infrastructure of mobile communication.
The name x2smart is derived quite simply from "X", which stands for "any device", "2" as an abbreviation for "to" and "smart" as an abbreviation for "smart device". Smart devices are not only smartphones, but also tablets or smartwatches – the main thing is that they are internet and mobile phone capable and have the typical sensors for such devices on the circuit board. The principle of x2smart sounds simple. The application allows smart devices such as smartphones, which are carried by drivers, to communicate with their counterparts in cars via the mobile network. They should warn each other when a collision is imminent. The program provides multilevel information via vibration, display and acoustic signals.
Complicated sensor data fusion
By exchanging data, the system can use the onboard hardware of the smart devices to see around the corner and warn even before humans can perceive the danger. What sounds so simple is anything but trivial when it comes to implementation. Behind the "radar" is a complicated algorithm, basically software that uses not only the GPS signal but also other sensors and the GSM location calculation by mobile communications to localize the road user. Accuracy is still around three meters, but in the coming 5G networks it is expected to be less than half a meter. Improved car2x infrastructure, for example through roadside units used for car2car and car2x communication, should also improve localization.