Today road safety is a major concern and social issue. Although things have gradually improved in recent years, the number of road fatalities is still far too high in the European Union. In 2007, road accidents killed over 40,000 people and injured more than 1.2 million.
In 2001 the Commission issued a White Paper on European transport policy with an agenda for European transport policy through to 2010. The European Road Safety Action programme sets out, with the requisite level of detail, specific measures in accordance with what the Commission has already endorsed, and reaffirms the overall ambitious target of halving the number of road accident victims by 2010.
Many solutions exist for improving transport safety on transport and span from ADAS to collision mitigation and avoidance systems but none of these makes use of satellite-based positioning systems. As a matter of fact, the EGNOS/GNSS system has not yet been applied to road-active safety although the accuracy nowadays offered by such a system is in the order of metres. Such accuracy is sufficient to reduce the vehicle speed in the proximity of a curve but is not sufficient for warning the driver of all dangers in time and/or automatically intervening. Where a crash has been detected by other sensors, it needs to establish the best direction for deviating the vehicle trajectory in order to avoid the collision.
ERSEC intends to contribute towards making vehicles safer.
The motivation of the research starts from the availability of EICASDRIVE, a Collision Avoidance System developed by EICAS that automatically deviates the vehicle trajectory in the last fraction of second before an impending crash. A prototype of EICASDRIVE on an experimental car is at present under development as part of MECCANO, a research project aiming at developing a ‘new concept car’.
The general ERSEC objective is concerned with broadening the scope of road transport application of EGNOS/GNSS (and later Galileo) through an appropriate integration and data fusion with measurement data coming from other measuring instruments.
In order to make the vehicle safer, the challenging ERSEC objective consists of achieving a significant improvement in the vehicle positioning accuracy, going from metres (offered by the EGNOS/GNSS) to decimetres, with an updating frequency of 100 Hz.
Specifically, ERSEC intends to develop an on board vehicle measuring system able to detect the position of the equipped vehicle and all the obstacles (such as other vehicles, people and any kind of fixed or mobile objects) around it with a measurement accuracy of the order of 0.1 metre at a sampling rate of 100 Hz.
ERSEC intends to produce the ERSEC measuring system, to be used on board of vehicles –able to output the position on the road map of the equipped vehicle and of all the obstacles (such as other vehicles, peoples and any kind of fixed or mobile objects) around it with a measurement accuracy of the order of 0.1 metre at a sampling rate of 100 Hz.
The ERSEC measuring system is at first applicable in active road safety to enhance performance and level of confidence of collision avoidance systems. In fact, the knowledge of vehicle and obstacle position and rate in the road map reference frame will enhance the reliability of the active control system intervention and will extend the safety intervention of the active control system to new functions (reduction of vehicle speed in proximity of a curve and protection against out-of-road).
At the same time the availability of the ERSEC measuring system represents a remarkable innovation in the sector of Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) opening the possibility of application of the AGVs also in constrained areas (industrial sites, airports, touristic or hospital centres), where nowadays the required infrastructures to implement the automatic vehicles guidance (rails, buried wires, magnetic beacons) are limiting the system functionality and flexibility and thus the development of this kind of transport system.
M3 Systems SARL
Istituto Superiore Mario Boella
S.C. Optoelectronica 2001 S.A.