The new solution aims to solve this problem once and for all by bringing the radars to the streets – the system is now being developed as part of the HORIS project, and is managed by three separate departments of the German research team Fraunhofer. The whole is based on MIMO (Multiple Input-Multiple Output) radar sensors connected to the infrastructure, which can be installed in places frequently frequented by pedestrians, such as bus stops, school zones or pedestrian crossings.
These continuously scan their surroundings at a frequency of 100 times per second, each being able to identify the approaching object as a person and then judge its speed and direction. For example, if the system detects that a person is moving rapidly towards the street and there is a risk that they will cross the road directly underneath the cars, it sends a warning signal. This is then picked up by the car-infrastructure (V2I) system of nearby vehicles, causing an audio-visual alert to those likely to hit such pedestrians – ultimately, the system could even initiate braking automatically.
Moreover, the system could be useful even in situations where no pedestrians are about to enter the street and inform drivers that, for example, they are entering a pedestrianized zone or are moving in an area where there are many people on the sidewalks who potentially can provoke dangerous situations. And since the system does not use cameras, there are no privacy concerns either. The technology is still under development, but has already been presented at the bus stop at the Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt university. The two-radar system monitors up to eight people simultaneously, determining whether they are moving towards the road and whether there is a risk of a hazardous event.