Cohda Wireless demos self-driving connected cars on city streets

October 29, 2018  - By

Cohda Wireless has successfully demonstrated its connected autonomous vehicle technology in a live trial on the streets of the city of Adelaide, Australia.

The trial proved the potential for connected self-driven vehicles to make streets safer and that Cohda’s technology is effective even in challenging urban canyons.

In an area covering two city blocks east of Adelaide’s Victoria Square, the demonstration replicated a scenario that is a daily occurrence on the streets of cities all over the world.

In the scenario, two vehicles approach a four-way intersection at right angles to each other. Car 2, driven by a human, fails to adhere to the red-light signal and approaches the intersection at speed, intending to “skip” the red light. Car 1, a connected autonomous vehicle, is approaching the intersection from another direction and intends to proceed through the intersection on the green light.

In a real-life scenario, there would be a risk of a collision as human drivers will invariably approach the intersection when the light is green, fully confident that all other road users will obey the traffic signals. In an instance where Car 2 disobeyed the traffic signal and Car 1 was unable to see the approaching danger, due to visibility being obstructed by buildings or other infrastructure, a collision would be especially likely.

But as Cohda Wireless’s Chief Technical Officer Professor Paul Alexander explained, if the vehicles were connected using Cohda’s V2X (Vehicle-To-Everything) technology, a potential collision situation would be detected and avoided well in advance of it actually happening.

“We demonstrated that when vehicles are connected to each other using our smart V2X technology, Car 1, the connected autonomous vehicle, would detect that Car 2 is approaching the red light at speed and is probably not going to stop. This allows the connected autonomous vehicle to pre-emptively identify and respond to the threat by slowing down and stopping.”

“Cohda’s V2X technology allows vehicles to ‘speak to each other’ to extend their perception horizon,” added Alexander.

“The technology provides the vehicle with an awareness of its environment and risk factors associated with it, consistently and accurately up to ten times per second, enabling it to make decisions that a human being would not be capable of making as the driver of the vehicle.”

Cohda’s Smart Cars Smart City initiative was funded by the South Australian Department of Transport and Infrastructure’s Future Mobility Lab Fund. In June this year, Cohda Wireless took ownership of two specially-modified vehicles from the U.S. that it is using in advanced trials of its V2X (Vehicle-To-Everything) technology.

The two Lincoln MKZ sedans were fitted with the ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems), ROS (Robot Operating System) various sensors including lidar, radar, cameras, GPS as well as in-vehicle compute platform and Cohda’s GNSS- independent positioning technology.

The fusion and cooperation of the various sensors and Cohda’s V2X technology augment the vehicles’ perception capability and make the autonomous vehicles features more practical, to include threat detection, the dangers associated with blind intersections and vulnerable road users, the company said.

“Our goal today was not only to demonstrate the efficacy of our technology in enabling self-driven vehicles to communicate with each other, but also to do so in a city environment where so-called ‘urban canyons’ significantly affect the ability of systems reliant on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) to achieve accurate positioning,” Alexander said.

“The area in the city of Adelaide in which the trial was conducted was one such urban canyon where positioning through GNSS can be off by up to 40 meters, but with our V2X Locate technology positioning accuracy is improved to within a meter.”

Photo: Cohda Wireless

Photo: Cohda Wireless

Cohda Wireless demonstrated the efficacy and accuracy of its V2X-Locate system in a 2017 trial in New York City where it repeatedly demonstrated sub-meter accuracy while driving along Sixth Avenue, which has the tallest buildings in the Big Apple. Comparably tested GPS-based systems were as much as tens of meters off-course, at times showing cars driving through buildings.

Cohda’s V2X technology underpins and complements other technology used by autonomous vehicles such as cameras, sensors, radars and lidars by enabling cooperative perception.

“The role of technology in making our roads safer is probably not generally understood but we hope that this demonstration has helped to prove that with the appropriate technology and infrastructure, connected self-driving vehicles are safer to have on our roads than vehicles controlled entirely by human beings,” added Alexander.

About the Author: Tracy Cozzens

Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.