BMW has teamed up with Germany’s UR:BAN research program, developing driver assistance and traffic management systems for “tomorrow’s cities”.
UR:BAN is a German acronym standing for “Urban Space: User-oriented assistance systems and network management”; a program aiming to develop better technology to improve congestion, road safety and efficiency.
Representatives from the electronics and software fields, city planners, automotive industries and parts suppliers are among the program’s 31 partners, with the initiative set to run until 2016.
The program features three separate projects called “Cognitive Assistance”, “Networked Traffic System” and “Human Factors In Traffic” - and BMW is participating in all three of them.
For the Cognitive Assistance project, BMW is currently developing a system to better recognise pedestrian behaviour, enabling the vehicle to take evasive action or brake autonomously by accurately predicting the pedestrian’s movements.
BMW is also working on a system that recognises objects on the roadside and the vehicle’s surroundings, demonstrating the system’s ‘free space’ recognition during a recent UR:BAN midway event.
For the Networked Traffic System, BMW is developing a ‘Deceleration Assistant’, which uses traffic light cycles and real-time congestion levels to best predict the optimal speed for efficiency.
Deceleration Assistant is also being designed to complement modern EV and hybrid systems, using traffic data to tell the vehicle when to run on electric power alone.
BMW’s input into the Human Factors In Traffic project builds on the pedestrian behaviour system, with a separate system being designed to recognise a driver’s behaviour while driving.
The German carmaker aims to turn vehicles into “active helpers”, by detecting the driver’s intentions at the earliest stage possible in order to align the system’s suggestions with what the driver plans to do.
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