The worrying part of the Universiy of Navarre's project to develop a pedestrian-avoidance system is that it appears not to exist already. And considering that the state of Nevada approved the testing of driverless robot cars in July 2011, it makes that trip to Las Vegas even more of a gamble.
Researchers at the UPNA-Public University of Navarre are currently working on the Peatones (Pedestrians) project that aims to develop new systems to protect pedestrians against frontal impact if they are about to be knocked down.
Over 40% of the accidents that occur in urban areas involve people being knocked down and sustaining dangerous impacts, mainly caused by vehicles driving at speeds of less than 40 km per hour. A team of researchers at the Public University of Navarre are currently working on a heat detection system: radar detectors that are capable firstly of warning of a possible collision, and secondly, of alerting the presence of pedestrians in the vehicle's path, so that appropriate action can then be taken by applying the vehicle's brakes.
As Ramón Gonzalo García, Professor of the UPNA's Department of Electric and Electronic Engineering explains: "We will be responsible for developing the antenna of the radar system and for mounting it onto the vehicle's front grille in such a way that we can minimize any electromagnetic interference that could arise, while maintaining radar performance."
The radar scans and does a sweep at the front of the vehicle to detect the presence of people. "You can spot whether it is a person, a dog or a lamppost, to give some examples, because when the signal is sent, you get a different bounce; with the antenna it is possible to distinguish the amount of signal you receive."
Today, there are radar systems for a range of objectives. In vehicles, in fact, radars have already been fitted to detect the presence of other vehicles and monitor the safe distance. Basically, two standards are being worked on: radars with a frequency of between 27 and 77 gigahertz, the latter having the greatest range and sensitivity. But what is more, there are also two possibilities within this second type: broad band and narrow band.
"The broad band one is the one that has not been developed, and that is the one we are working on. Technologically, it is a more complex radar with even greater range and sensitivity, and sensitivity is very important when being able to distinguish objects," explains Professor Gonzalo Garcia.
Source: UPNA-Public University of Navarre