COPE – Collective Perception

Problem Statement

Automated driving aims at preventing accidents and reducing collision severity. Systems like the “autonomous emergency brake” or “collision warning” contribute to increasing vehicle safety. Nevertheless, there is still significant room for improvement in such systems. The system effectiveness in real-life environments is challenged by difficulties of reliable sensors and prediction of traffic and collision situations. However, new approaches considering communication and collaboration among vehicles and infrastructure could significantly contribute to making Austrian and European roads safer. Essentially, this involves accidents that cannot be adequately predicted from a single vehicle’s point of view , i.e. the vehicle system cannot take a decision to trigger a hard safety action (such as emergency braking) by its available information.

With respect to „Vulnerable Road Users” (VRUs), such as pedestrians, cyclists, motorcycle riders, there is still high potential to reduce accidents and avoid dead people through automated vehicles with improved sensors and vehicle communication and collaboration abilities. Statistics Austria shows that 4,172 motorcycle accidents were registered in Austria in 2018. 102 motorcyclists were killed, the main cause being the “violation of priority, red light disregard” in approx. 5% of accidents. Approximately 50% of the accidents happen in the local area, approx. 25% in the case of an intersection and approx. 16% when the traffic lights are fully operational.

Project Goal

The main goal of COPE is to raise the considerable potential for the next upcoming innovation boost in vehicle and traffic safety by intelligently combining the information of all road users in a kind of “collective perception” and “situation awareness”. The basis provides to communication and collaboration among road users as well as infrastructure facilities (“V2X, I2X Communication”) aiming at the reduction of accidents. Basically, the (local) vehicle awareness is expanded with information from other vehicles and road infrastructure facilities. The expected benefit – avoiding accidents with VRUs – is the main motivation for the COPE (Collective Perception) project. COPE especially considers urban areas and traffic light-controlled intersections in connection with (partially) automated, connected vehicles.

The project team focuses on the following overarching research question: How can safety in intersection situations be increased for all road users through cooperation and communication (C-ITS)?

A key innovation of the project represent the chosen top-down approach, in which not individual application examples are considered in an isolated and reduced form. The focus is rather on the holistic and integral merging and generalization of the solution concepts to ensure the interoperability among all road users.

Project Results

Desired project results include the specification of information exchange protocols, which comprise driving intentions as the basis for cooperative, connected driving. These protocols should consider the interoperability among cars, trucks, motorcycles, VRUs and infrastructure, or the recognition and transfer of information about movements of the VRUs. Additionally, COPE aims at strengthening and expanding the Austrian leadership in the area of C-ITS, establishing connected and cooperative driving in Austria, and promoting advantages to be expected from connected and cooperative driving. COPE participants also aim to generate results that can be commercially exploited in terms of products.