Continental’s ‘Intelligent Intersection’ Aims to Increase Safety

The company plans to conduct a real-world test in Ohio in 2018.

byStephen EdelsteinMay 27, 2019 3:30 AM
Continental’s ‘Intelligent Intersection’ Aims to Increase Safety

Automotive supplier Continental is prepping for a real-world test of an "intelligent intersection" that uses a dedicated short range communication system to help prevent collisions.

The technology was first demonstrated on a test track at Continental's Brimley, Michigan development center in October, but Continental plans to deploy it at a real-life intersection in Columbus, Ohio next year. The test is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Smart City Challenge, which aims to show how connected technologies can improve city life.

The dedicated short-range communication system Continental plans to use is similar to the vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication adopted by some carmakers. The Ohio test will show how such a system can connect vehicles to infrastructure, which is sometimes referred to as V2X. Continental believes this can warn drivers of pedestrians or other hazards that may be obscured by buildings or other vehicles. Citing DOT data, the company says 51 percent of all crashes resulting in injuries and 28 percent of all fatal crashes in the U.S. occur at intersections.

Sensors including cameras, radar, and lidar will detect pedestrians and road users within a 360-degree perimeter of the intersection. This information is then sent to vehicles approaching the intersection. An onboard module receives the information and analyzes it, warning the driver if a collision appears to be imminent.

Systems like this have been discussed for years. A large-scale test has already been undertaken in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to study V2V and V2X. However, actually implementing this technology requires a major commitment from both automakers and municipalities. 

The necessary sensor and communications hardware must be installed in a large number of cars and at a large number of intersections to get any real benefit. But with a proposed V2V mandate now reportedly in limbo, and an apparent unwillingness at all levels of government to spend money on infrastructure, that doesn't appear very likely at the moment.