Development of a redundant road safety system for autonomous vehicles

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The Advanced Centre of Mechanical Technologies (CATMech) and the research group CS2AC of the UPC have participated in the SMARTMOVE project, which is led by the companies SORIGUÉ and ELECNOR, to develop a redundant system for guiding autonomous vehicles.

In the next few years, self-driving vehicles are expected to hit the roads. They are based on a series of technologies (LIDAR, cameras, GPS, etc.) to gain the information required on the vehicle position and its surroundings to take decisions during driving. In this context, the need to establish a redundant system has emerged (that is, a system in addition to the technology [GPS] with which the car circulates, to support it if the other technology fails). The redundant system must be reliable, robust and close to the vehicle to provide accurate information on its path on the road, even in the most unfavourable conditions.

In this area, the SMARTMOVE project is being developed to research the possibilities of a guiding system based on physical positioning of markers on the road surface and the corresponding implementation of vehicle sensors and control systems.

This project’s tasks started with the selection and characterisation of markers and sensors. The result was opting for a mixed solution of a continuous, longitudinal marker for guidance on the road and a magnetic marker to supply one-off information. The possibility of using this information technology at commercial speeds has been tested and verified.

Then, the procedure of installing and maintaining markers in the road was defined, and their durability analysed. The robustness of the proposal lies in the integration of the markers in the road surface, so that they are protected against potential external agents.

The final focus of the project was the signal processing and the design of the ad-hoc control system for guiding vehicles along the route using this new redundant system as the only source of information. At the end of January 2022 the field test is expected for the final validation of the system.

The project receives funding from ACCIÓ as part of the RIS3CAT strategy. The total budget is €892,468.41 and it lasts two years and a half (August 2019 – February 2022).