Volvo Buses demonstrates pedestrian and cyclist detection system for busy cities

A ‘Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection System’ for buses has been unveiled by Volvo that is designed to cut the number of road traffic deaths.

The system continuously monitors the bus’s vicinity and transmits a sound to warn other road-users when they get too near the bus.

The driver is also alerted via sound and light signals inside the vehicle and if there is an imminent risk of an incident, the bus’s horn is activated.

Volvo said the system has been developed in an attempt to reduce the 1.25 million annual road traffic deaths that occur every year.

It consists of a camera, image-processing system and algorithms for detection of pedestrians and cyclists and will be included on Volvo’s European city bus fleet in 2017.

“Accidents involving buses and unprotected road-users seldom occur, but when they do the consequences may be very serious,” said Peter Danielsson, safety director at Volvo Buses.

“In order to minimise the risks, it is important that drivers and anyone moving around near buses – such as at bus stops and pedestrian crossings – pays close attention to the traffic. In this context the Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection System offers excellent support.”

“Several of the components in our system are based on the same tried and tested technology found in many cars, but we are the only vehicle manufacturer to offer a solution that simultaneously notifies both driver and unprotected road-user.”

The need for the warning system partly results from the increasing electrification of vehicles in urban traffic.

Electric vehicle engines are typically much quieter so the risk of accidents increases as pedestrians are less aware of oncoming traffic.

“The bus can be heard, but without being disruptive. We’ve solved this problem by developing a synthetic background sound with a frequency range that is not perceived as disruptive. For instance, it does not penetrate windows with triple glazing, unlike the low-frequency noise made by a diesel engine,” explains Danielsson.

This autumn, the Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection System will become operational in field tests on route 55 in Gothenburg in Sweden. It meets the minimum noise level demands that will be introduced for electrified vehicles in the EU in 2019.

Mobileye, an Israel-based company which develops collision avoidance systems for vehicles, recently ended its partnership with Tesla Motors because the firm was "pushing the envelope in terms of safety" with regards to its Autopilot feature. 

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