Radar Lets Driven and Driverless Cars Share the Road
Meghan Brown posted on October 07, 2015 |
V2X software may accelerate adoption of autonomous vehicles.

Wide-spread adoption of autonomous vehicles sometimes appears to be an all-or-nothing proposition. The idea of sharing the road with both driver-controlled and driverless vehicles quickly brings safety concerns to mind.

Current technology enables connected vehicles to interact with each other (V2V) or with connected roadside infrastructure (V2I). But V2X-equipped vehicles are speaking into the void when surrounded by older, unconnected vehicles and infrastructure.

However, a new V2X-Radar system is soon to be available from Cohda Wireless, which may help influence early adoption of autonomous vehicles.

V2X connected vehicle technology. (Photo courtesy of Cohda Wireless.)
V2X connected vehicle technology. (Photo courtesy of Cohda Wireless.)

The main benefit comes from a radar sensor that can detect older vehicles not equipped with V2X technology, as well as buildings and street signs, in a 360-degree view around the vehicle.

The single antenna V2X-Radar takes advantage of current V2X systems that use IEEE 802.11 compliant wireless signals to share sensor information between vehicles and infrastructure.  These radio signals bounce off surrounding objects such as walls, road signs and other vehicles as they travel from the transmitter to the receiver.

Unlike current technologies, the V2X-Radar is less affected by environment and weather conditions such as rain, snow or fog and can also “see” around corners. When combined with a 3D map, V2X-Radar will be able to provide accurate positioning even in urban canyons. It can also detect vehicle speeds through Doppler measurements.

According to Paul Gray, CEO of Cohda Wireless, the system is standards compliant and requires no additional hardware in a V2X-equipped vehicle. All that is needed is the software installed in the receiving vehicle. The system currently works with the NXP Roadlink chipset.

“It’s a low-cost addition to a standard V2X system that adds radar functionality to the V2X connected car,” said Gray, which will offer increased value to drivers of V2X-equipped vehicles, particularly in the early days when the penetration rate of connected vehicles is still low.

While this new software does seem to offer some improvements to autonomous driving, overall driverless vehicles still have limitations.

For example, though the radar sensors would be able to identify a pedestrian in the car’s vicinity, it would not be able to distinguish a police officer waving their arms to direct traffic.

Though the vehicle may react to the obstacle in its path by slowing down or stopping, the system would not be able to respond to non-digital, non-verbal signals.

To truly know how much more beneficial a radar-based system may be over a standard V2X system, further testing may be required.

For more information on the V2X-Radar, check out Cohda’s website.

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