New Telstra V2P App Autonomously Detects Pedestrians and Cyclists
The group partnered with Cohda Wireless in developing software needed to run the app on local 4G networks. Should the mobile device detect a pedestrian within 20 meters from the car, it will alert the driver via audio-based notifications.
There are several unpredictable elements and environmental conditions that driverless cars have a difficult time handling. Speedy cyclists currently top the list, as developers are stumped at detecting the movements and direction of people riding on bikes. Solutions vary, from deploying roadside beacons equipped with sensors to utilizing a dedicated lane for cyclists during peak hours.
Telstra, a leading Australia-based telecommunications giant, is the latest company to offer a predictive platform designed to improve safety for pedestrians, which includes runners and cyclists. Using a mobile app, the technology monitors the vehicle's surroundings and warns the driver about obstructions during operation.
Is Telstra's solution to detecting pedestrians and cyclists using smartphones ideal for busy cities? Find out below.
V2P and Road Safety
Released under Telstra's series of V2X platforms, the safety feature leverages vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P) communication to detect cyclists. The group partnered with Cohda Wireless in developing software needed to run the app on local 4G networks. Should the mobile device detect a pedestrian within 20 meters from the car, it will alert the driver via audio-based notifications.
"The technology was tested using some common scenarios that occur every day in Australia – a car and a cyclist approaching a blind corner, a car reversing out of a driveway, and a car approaching a pedestrian crossing," Telstra said in a statement.
The duo first trialed the feature back in 2016, under a closed pilot program. As a pioneer of autonomous road safety services, Cohda Wireless first started developing V2P technology in 2011. Outside of Australia, the firm has experience working with the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In 2012, the business managed a large automotive trial consisting of 3,000 vehicles for the transportation authority.
Streamlining Driverless Solutions
Telstra believes its V2P safety app is a step in the right direction for self-driving cars. In the future, the sensing system could be connected to the vehicle's breaking pedals; so that when the platform detects a cyclist, it will automatically perform a full stop. If the car is moving slowly and the pedestrian is far away from the vehicle (but approaching quickly), it could also swerve around the person.
"Now we have the detection part, if you want to do collision avoidance you can do that. In theory, it takes three seconds (to respond to a crash). It takes one second for a human to react and then it takes two seconds for the rest to happen. That one second it takes for a human to react can be eliminated," explained Hakan Eriksson, CTO of Telstra.
Drivers aren't the only ones given extra time to react. For cyclists, a driver who quickly acknowledges the presence of bikers could decrease sudden, jerky movements typically reserved for last-minute detection.
Telstra developers mentioned they are in the process of refining the app. Future updates to the platform could include new methods of notification, such as vibration. To effectively curtail road accidents caused by human error, the business thinks all cars in the country should be driverless within the next decade.