A 5G-based system may alert drivers to the possibility of collisions.

The development of 5G technology has opened up new possibilities for maintaining road safety. German researchers claim the technology may be used to both alert drivers to impending collisions and help more broadly direct traffic in a recent publication. A prototype of the researchers’ system, which includes a variety of sensors, traffic flow algorithms, and a 5G network, is currently being prepared for demonstration in the city of Aalen possibly in 2019.

Their strategy is built on the 5G technology’s speed. Theoretically, a local system could detect approaching cars, consult a prediction algorithm, and alert drivers to a potentially hazardous scenario in time to avert a collision. Utilizing sensors and edge computing is the aim.

“The main specification of the new generation of communication [tech] is that they are all ultrareliable and ultralow latency. The point is that now, with 5G, we can have some infrastructure that has low latency, and we can actually achieve a reaction time that is less than before.”

Mohammad Reza Mousavi, a postdoctoral researcher at the Aalen University of Applied Sciences, in Germany.

The system was created by the study team, which also comprises scientists from the Helmut Schmidt University and Fraunhofer IAO, both of which are located in Germany. To enable edge computing, a central management system is required, along with an algorithm that can estimate traffic flows and collision risks.

Another system that is tasked with alerting drivers—or anybody else approaching an intersection—is also a component of the technology. A lit-up text display, flashing lights, or an auditory signal might all be used as warnings at a risky crossroads, according to the report; all of these signs would be helpful to both drivers and pedestrians. A user’s car’s navigation system or an app on their phone could also receive the information. However, the authors also mention that these alerts might really be disruptive and state that they intend to research the effects of various warning techniques.

It is also necessary to have sensors that can track the whereabouts of cars, people walking, and cycling while also withstanding bad weather. In the end, information would come from a number of sources, such as optical cameras, radars, user apps that gather position data, event calendars, and weather predictions.

The technology is mostly used for traffic management and collision avoidance. Based on quickly gathered information about an approaching car that is ready to turn, for instance, or a cyclist approaching from behind, the system may be used to alert a driver to wait. The method might also be used to give some vehicles with green lights priority when it is implemented at numerous connected intersections. The traffic system might, for instance, give buses and emergency vehicles priority over single-passenger cars.

More research is being done on potential smart traffic technology. Recent work on the KI4LSA project, which employs edge computing and artificial intelligence for traffic light prediction, was done by other researchers headquartered in Germany as well. In a project at Birmingham, England’s Aston University, artificial intelligence (AI) was used to train a system that uses real-time video footage to manage traffic signals, preventing delays and congestion.

Even a system that automatically gives pedestrians the right of way and only switches when sensors detect the presence of a close car has been tried by London officials.

Mousavi notes that there are issues with the 5G traffic control mechanism. Any new technology implementation can take time, and the advent of 6G cellular technology may need engineers to revamp existing systems. Another issue is that the general people needs to understand how the technology operates and have faith in its intended use. However, effective traffic management may contribute to the advancement of safety and climate agendas. The authors are actually currently considering how their approach may be applied to alert pedestrians to potential traffic safety hazards. After all, while automobiles come equipped with a variety of devices that can alert drivers, pedestrians, notably young children and elderly people, aren’t always in the same situation.

According to Mousavi, this technology might advance the development of smart cities and pave the path for autonomous vehicles. In the future, traffic signals might get virtual and interact with moving automobiles to make a variety of decisions on their own.

Source: IEEE Spectrum

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