Sensor-equipped streetlamps make driving safer: Page 2 of 2

July 21, 2020 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Sensor-equipped streetlamps make driving safer
In the MEC-View research project, companies and research institutions are investigating the question of how connected sensors on streetlamps can contribute to improving safety for road users in confusing urban traffic. Autonomous vehicles are the focus of the scenario.

This sensor information is transmitted to the vehicles with low latencies. While LTE mobile communications technology with an optimised configuration was used for this purpose in the "MEC-View" project, real-time data transmission is a basic function of the new 5G communications standard. The core task of latency-optimised mobile radio is not only to transmit data via radio with virtually no delay but also to process it as close as possible to the source.

This task is performed by Mobile Edge Computing Servers (MEC servers), which are directly integrated into the mobile network. They combine the sensor data of the streetlights with that of the vehicle's environment sensors and high-precision digital maps. From these, they generate a local environment model with all available information on the current traffic situation and transmit it to the vehicles via mobile radio. In the future, the traffic control centers of cities, for example, could be equipped with such servers in order to share the data with all road users across manufacturers.

In Ulm, the project partners have been testing the interaction of automated prototypes and infrastructure sensors in real traffic since 2018. At an intersection in the city, streetlights were equipped with the corresponding sensors. The vehicles approach the difficult to see intersection area, for example on a side road, and then cut into the main road. Thanks to the newly developed technology, the automated prototype now recognizes road users at an early stage and can adapt its driving strategy accordingly. The vehicle thus detects gaps in the traffic on the priority road in a targeted manner and threads its way seamlessly without stopping. This not only makes city traffic safer, but also smoother.

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