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SwRI, INRIA to demonstrate a cooperative vehicle-to-vehicle pedestrian safety system at ITS World Congress

San Antonio - Nov. 13, 2008 - Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®)  and French national laboratory INRIA are demonstrating how vehicle-to-vehicle communications and active safety system sensors can provide extended situational awareness of the traffic environment. This demonstration will take place in the 11th Avenue Theater at the 15th World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems, Nov. 17-20 in New York City, to show how cooperative vehicle systems can compensate for blind spots or occluded visibility at a pedestrian crosswalk.

"Working with our French collaborator, INRIA, we will demonstrate how an autonomous vehicle can cooperate with a human-driven vehicle using Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) to share sensor data in a pedestrian warning and avoidance system," said SwRI Intelligent Vehicle Systems Manager Ryan Lamm. The pedestrian safety demonstration will take place around 10 a.m. every day of the Congress at the 11th Avenue theatre venue.

"This demonstration shows on a small scale how vehicles can take advantage of each other's sensors and ultimately reduce the number of sensors needed on individual vehicles," said Lamm.

The demonstration will involve a pedestrian stepping into a crosswalk in front of a stopped vehicle, such as a bus or van.  As the SwRI autonomous vehicle approaches the intersection, the pedestrian cannot be detected by the vehicle's onboard sensors or by the driver. Traveling in the opposite direction, another vehicle, equipped with sensors and DSRC radio, detects the pedestrian in the crosswalk and transmits information about the crosswalk and pedestrian to the SwRI vehicle. This enhanced perception allows the SwRI vehicle to automatically stop at the crosswalk to allow the pedestrian to safely cross.

"The cooperative sensor sharing system was first developed by SwRI and INRIA engineers on CyCabs and tested at INRIA facilities in Versailles, France," said Paul Avery, a senior research engineer in SwRI's ITS Department. "Next, the algorithms were ported onto the SwRI autonomous vehicle platform, and we developed additional interfaces for the system to utilize DSRC."

SwRI, one of the oldest and largest independent, nonprofit, applied research and development organizations in the United States, and INRIA, a French national institute that conducts fundamental and applied research in information and communication science and technology, signed an international collaboration agreement to advance autonomous vehicle technologies, focusing on the areas of perception, intelligence, command and control, communications, platforms and vehicle safety. Since the formation of this collaboration, SwRI and INRIA have conducted joint research and openly exchanged intellectual property to foster rapid technology and system advancements in this field. INRIA operates under the dual authority of the French Ministry of Research and the Ministry of Industry and plays a major role in technology transfer, training, research and development, and scientific and technical information dissemination.

As a leader in ITS technologies, SwRI developed its autonomous vehicle and related technologies through a $5 million internal research and development program called the Southwest Safe Transport Initiative. SSTI is charged with developing enabling technologies to provide cars, trucks and tractors with active safety and autonomous capabilities to improve safety in urban traffic environments.

Headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, SwRI has provided creative solutions to complex problems for 60 years. The Institute is uniquely qualified to support the intelligent transportation, automotive, and related industries, overcoming today's technical challenges and meeting tomorrow's goals in transportation systems. 

For news, images, and video, please see http://itsmedia.swri.org.

For more information contact Deb Schmid at (210) 522-2254, Communications Department, Southwest Research Institute, PO Drawer 28510, San Antonio, TX 78228-0510.

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