Audi of America is partnering with Applied Information and Temple, Inc. to develop two future cellular-vehicle-to-x (C-V2X) connected vehicle applications that will alert drivers to upcoming school zones and school buses that are stopped to load or unload children.
The U.S. is experiencing an epidemic of pedestrian fatalities, with nearly 6,300 killed in 2018, which was the highest year since 1990 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Further, more than 100 children are struck and killed and 25,000 injured while walking to and from school annually.
NHTSA reports that vehicles failing to stop for a school bus that is flashing its yellow or red signal lights is the leading cause of these deaths and injuries.
Audi’s system will rely on roadside units supplied by Temple, Inc. that are installed in existing flashing school zone warning signs to alert approaching cars of the school zone ahead. Applied Information is providing the onboard units installed on school buses that will broadcast a similar alert when the bus activates its signal lights to indicate it is stopping to load or unload children.
Modified Audi e-tron electric crossover SUVs will carry the C-V2X alert technology, which is similar to a system the company is deploying in Virginia to protect roadside construction workers. The school system is being tested in Alpharetta, Ga., where nearly all of the city’s traffic lights are connected to Audi’s Traffic Light Information system and almost half of those lights employ direct C-V2X communication using short-range cellular communication rather than routing alerts through wireless internet connections.
“Using next-generation cellular technology, we have an opportunity to help save lives of some of the most vulnerable road users — school children,” said Pom Malhotra, director, Connected Services, Audi of America. “We’re proud to work with Applied Information and Temple to help make our roads safer.”
“Around the country, Audi continues to take a leading role, working with partners in communities to show how C-V2X and the 5.9 GHz band can help reduce traffic hazards and improve congestion management when these technologies become ubiquitous,” he added.
“Improving safety in school zones and at bus stops is a top priority of our connected vehicle development program,” said Bryan Mulligan, president of Applied Information and executive director of the Automotive Technology Laboratory in Alpharetta. “We are pleased to be working with Audi and Temple to help bring this advance in safety technology to the community.”