Text: Leena Koskenlaakso | Photos: Timo Porthan
The goal of the 5G-SAFE project completed at the end of 2018 was to improve road safety and reduce accidents by developing new road weather and road safety services to assist vehicle drivers, automated driving and road maintenance.
In the 5G-SAFE project, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland studied and developed vehicle communication solutions that can help improve the situational awareness and safety of automated vehicles in challenging weather and traffic conditions. New 5G services enable automated vehicles to obtain more accurate and comprehensive information about the environment, improving their ability to respond to different situations.
An important role in the project was played by VTT's robot car Martti, which functioned as the test vehicle in pilots carried out in Sodankylä. The pilots were arranged to test how well an automatically driving robot car could operate despite obstacles on the road or adverse weather conditions.
In the pilot tests, the robot car, equipped with sensors, used both its own observations of the road as well as alerts received via a 5G test network based on LiDAR radar image data sent by another vehicle.
The data was analysed with an algorithm developed by Unikie in VTT's 5G network edge computing server, which sent alerts to the robot car. Robot car Martti also received alerts about slippery road conditions from the Finnish Meteorological Institute's road weather service. Based on the alerts, the car could plan its route so as to avoid dangerous road sections.
The new traffic safety solutions enabled by 5G networks were presented at VTT's GrowthLab event in Helsinki in January.