October is pedestrian safety month

Everyone walks a bit during the day. It’s basically a healthy activity, but pedestrian safety is a pressing issue. You have to be very careful if you want to get around in traffic. 

A pedestrian is killed in 17% of road collisions.

The US Department of Transportation is dedicating the entire month of October to pedestrian safety to raise awareness of the related issues. Their goals couldn’t be closer to Commsignia. We want to ensure that all road users communicate with each other and that vulnerable road users are always safe.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has divided the month into four themes on its website last year, and we think we have answers to all of them.

Everyone deserves the highest quality of safety 

Technology cannot discriminate between modes of transport: everyone needs the same quality of safety. Commsignia’s broad V2X portfolio treats all road users equally. It’s also able to include unconnected pedestrians in the vehicle communication network, making vulnerable road users more visible to drivers.

Drive at a safe speed even if the rules have changed

Some trips take you through special events or areas that require more attention. Speed limits near schools and roadworks are often different from the usual. Rules can change from one hour to the next. For example, school children may be allowed to go home earlier. V2X will always inform you about the current speed limit.

It works even if you’ve left the traditional roadside sign behind and can’t remember what it said.  Digital solutions like V2X allow dynamic speed control, so restrictions can be lifted or eased when no one is working in a work zone.  

Connecting vehicles with each other for better road safety

Connected vehicles send standardized V2X messages with important parameters to upgrade well-known applications such as lane change assist, collision warning and cruise control by understanding traffic situations from the perspective of other vehicles. There’s no need to have a line of sight between the vehicles to share messages. V2X works in harsh weather conditions such as fog and heavy snow.

In addition to cars, Commsignia V2X also covers micromobility, so that pedestrians and two-wheeled vehicles can safely co-exist on the roads.

Safer roads are built on better insights

Traffic data provide a rock-solid foundation for well-designed roadways. Commsignia Central Data and Device Manager platform can use connected vehicles and smart sensors to collect information on potential conflict zones. So road managers know exactly where to improve the built environment – before serious accidents happen.

World Car Free Day and fuel efficiency go hand in hand

Today is World Car Free Day, and we are proud to support efforts to make all modes of transport more equal and improve fuel efficiency. Our technology, vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication, is designed to do just that.

We all enjoy car-free days, when festivals, family events, cyclists and pedestrians take over the roads in cities. All this reminds us that the streets used to be a place of community life, and that we didn’t just pass through them on our way to distant destinations. Feeling safe and secure is a prerequisite for community life, and Commsignia wants to help make this happen.

It’s important to add that it’s easy to think of Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) technology as car-centric, but in fact we’re trying to involve every single road user in the V2X ecosystem. Besides vehicles, V2X provides improved road safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and micromobility.

V2X helps road users be aware they are sharing the road with others.

Although cars stop for this one day, there are some vehicles that need to be on the road at all times. One example is public transport, where V2X helps to ensure smooth journeys.

If buses have to stop less often at traffic lights because V2X gives them a clear path through the intersection, their fuel consumption is significantly reduced and they emit fewer pollutants.

Goods trucks also need to keep moving. Advanced V2X applications such as platooning help freight trucks travel very close together with minimal drag.

Vehicle communications coordinate huge vehicles for better fuel efficiency

It is worth noting that the initiative for a car-free world day was originally triggered by the 1973 oil crisis, and today there are again serious fuel supply problems. Climate change and emissions are also issues that are being addressed by cities and transport managers around the world. 

V2X is here to help address these issues and move us towards a more efficient, safer and cleaner world.

Build Safe Streets and Roads for All with V2X solutions

More than ten thousand road fatalities happened at intersections last year in the United States, most of them in urban areas. Speeding and multi-vehicle crashes also greatly contribute to poor road safety.

Some road infrastructure owners have already started to plan and build smart intersections to improve road safety. Now they are getting a huge boost from the Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) program which will provide a total of $5 billion over five years to prevent roadway deaths and serious injuries.

Now you can learn how vehicle-to-everything (V2X) will help these developments with better results. Commsignia offers end-to-end V2X solutions and recommends these 5 steps to build a comprehensive and future-proof system. This will allow you to keep the number of road fatalities and injuries at a permanently low level.

1. Generate more data

Vehicles generate a vast amount of information, and V2X provides real-time access to this valuable data source. Installing V2X on-board units (OBU) on fleets allow operators to be up-to-date with the vehicles’ statuses. 

Smart sensors like cameras, radars and lidar can be integrated with V2X roadside units (RSU) so traffic safety experts will know more about non-connected road users. Pedestrians and two-wheeled vehicles are better protected if infrastructure owners and operators have real-time information on their presence.

2. Connect your assets

Roadside units turn signalized intersections into smart intersections. Traffic light controllers connected to RSUs broadcast accurate status information to road users, so they can choose the right speed to avoid running red lights.

Variable Message Signs display dynamic speed limit and road hazard information for drivers. The same information can be delivered through V2X messages over a much larger area, directly to the vehicles’ dashboard. It will be harder to miss critical information!

3. Use data to plan safe streets

Commsignia Central visualizes data in an easy-to-understand interface. V2X and sensor data help road authorities better understand traffic offenses and conflicts in an area. They can even find situations that almost become accidents. In addition to collecting data, Commsignia Central allows road operators to create and upload V2X messages to the RSUs.

The built-in management tools ensure the continuous operation of the V2x infrastructure by monitoring the roadside equipment.

4. Optimize signal timing for equity

Urban maintenance such as roadside mowing, garbage collection and snow plowing can make drivers impatient. V2X applications allow priority emergency vehicles and publicly owned fleets to request a free pass at signalized intersections. Faster moving fleets create less disruption in traffic and lower the risk of crashes.

V2X can make public transport more predictable and attractive, because buses can catch up with the schedule with a few longer green lights. A similar approach can be taken to promote walking and cycling. After detecting the presence of pedestrians and cyclists, traffic signals can quickly turn green or provide longer crossing time. This will make active mobility more convenient.

5. Prepare the infrastructure for self-driving

Self-driving vehicles can cause fewer accidents than human drivers, but their algorithms need to use huge amounts of data. V2X provides accurate information, therefore self-driving cars make better decisions with less data processing, and they will move faster and safer on the roads.

Details about the SS4A grants can be found on the USDOT website. Find out how to apply in their webinar series covering Action Plan Grants, Implementation Grants and the general overview of this funding opportunity.

For related Commsignia products, please contact [email protected]

How V2X solutions work

Vehicle-to-everything, or V2X solutions connect road users with each other and the infrastructure. International standards ensure that cars, motorcycles, bicycles and roadside equipment from different manufacturers send messages to each other in a language they all understand.

V2X has a range of more than half a mile and does not require a direct line of sight, expanding the space where we perceive other objects in traffic.

Connectivity in the automotive industry

Vehicles generate messages with a V2X software stack. It can run on a dedicated V2X OBU, a retrofitted on-board unit, but car manufacturers usually install it on their own electronic equipment.

V2X is like a heartbeat, vehicles typically send ten messages per second. These messages contain important parameters such as the accurate geographical location, the actual speed, velocity and direction of the vehicle, and the status of brakes and hazard warning lights.

Vehicles receiving V2X messages run applications based on this vast amount of information to display alerts of potential dangers. Messages can be read by all V2X-enabled vehicles, but only the relevant ones are used. In most cases, messages from a car on the other side of the highway are not useful from a safety point of view. Unless the data tells us that the vehicle is going off the road, possibly crossing our path.

Applications are divided into several categories according to their level of complexity.

  • Day 1 applications includes basic awareness solutions, all of which are technically feasible today. These apps provide alerts about traffic jams, accidents, objects on the road, construction zones and poor weather or road conditions. 
  • Some of the more advanced Day 2 applications are still under development or finalization. One of the best-known Day 2 apps is platooning, which coordinates autonomous and cooperative driving of high-speed caravans of trucks to move efficiently.

Road safety applications use a dedicated radio frequency on the 5.9 GHz band, because life-saving V2X solutions require direct connection with low latency. Other information that is less sensitive to response time, such as weather and traffic conditions, can be shared over 4G or 5G connections.

Smart infrastructure

The V2X RSU or roadside unit is an important part of the V2X ecosystem. It has its own processing power, sends and receives messages. An RSU also acts like a hub for roadside sensors: smart cameras, radars and lidars. These sensors are usually installed by the road infrastructure owner to look at the traffic – from a different angle than cars. RSUs play an important role in recognizing the unconnected traffic participants, particularly the vulnerable road users. 

RSUs has the ability to forward traffic data to the Commsignia Central Data and Device Manager software to enable traffic managers visualizing road events on a map. Central can also be used for device maintenance and V2X message creation.

Several elements of traditional road infrastructure can be linked to the RSUs. For example, traffic light controllers can provide signal phase and timing information via V2X for trucks and normal passenger cars. Moreover, first responders, buses and urban maintenance fleets can even request priority at V2X-enabled intersections. In Denver, Colorado, snowplow trucks cross intersections by requesting a green light, causing less disruption to traffic.

V2X solutions are essential for self-driving vehicles, because messages contain more accurate information than the vehicle’s sensors can detect. In Las Vegas, self-driving taxis are receiving traffic light information from Commsignia RSUs to improve decision making and move through intersections faster.

The evolution of V2X solutions

Security in V2X solutions

The whole V2X system is built up in a way to prevent tracking and protect the users’ privacy. The messages don’t contain personally identifiable information.

The messaging is secure, authenticated by digital signatures. No one wants to see information in a car coming from unknown sources, just as we don’t want to receive spam, scam and phishing emails in our inbox. 

Cars have certificates to prove their authenticity. They have thousands of certificates that frequently change to prevent tracking. The whole certification system has been built up in a way that no one entity, no one authority sees the whole picture. Those who roll out the certificates don’t know which car will get those certificates.

What the conversation between cars and city roads should be about

Each new car is smarter than the previous ones, and we have the technology to make the evolution of automated driver assistant systems beneficial for all road users. Some automakers, for example, have decided to implement full self-driving in their vehicles using only cameras, making driver assistance technologies more affordable and accessible. Others use different sensors, such as lidars and radars, in addition to cameras. Commsignia supports both approaches, and we believe that our vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technology can help reduce the substantial cost of on-board sensors without compromise. 

At the Connected Vehicle USA 2022 conference in Detroit, Commsignia CRO Szabolcs Patay will talk about how V2X can make several vehicles, even the entire traffic, detectable without having sensors or V2X communication in every single car.

Our solution on display at the exhibition is also based on a single camera and a V2X on-board unit that detects pedestrians – the participants of the exhibition – demonstrating that the system builds up the reality of the vehicle’s environment from a combination of sensors and V2X messages. When the driver gets into a potentially dangerous situation, a warning is displayed on the instrument panel.

It may seem that V2X is not just about cars. The ecosystem has seen spectacular growth in many areas. Cities are using V2X to improve the journey times of their fleets, whether it’s buses, fire trucks or snow plows. Bicycle manufacturers have also joined V2X with Commsignia to improve road safety for people on two wheels. Whatever traffic participant is in focus, each V2X solution has a piece of software to be built into vehicles. At the end of the day, V2X is for cars: to ensure the smooth flow of traffic, driver comfort and safety.

Don’t miss a chance to see our demo at Connected Vehicle USA 2022!

NHTSA’s traffic safety report is truly shocking

NHTSA’s latest estimate of road fatalities in 2021 is a truly shocking look at traffic safety, almost 43 thousand people died in traffic crashes. Particularly striking is the 13 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities, and that fatalities in urban environments have increased by 16 percent. 

It’s the worst road safety situation in 16 years

Looking at this data, you stop and think about what could be done better, where to intervene. We have been living with this problem for a long time. We believe that today’s technologies offer a solution. As technology suppliers, it is not our job to set the US road safety strategy. We can only welcome and encourage the efforts that NHTSA and USDOT are making to improve the situation. 

We can see part of this effort in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides $6 billion over five years to support local initiatives to improve road safety. It is good to see that the Highway Safety Improvement Program explicitly supports the deployment of data-driven road safety solutions, with a significantly increased budget. This is an area where Commsignia is providing a range of solutions: V2X roadside units, on-board units and the Central data management software for data analytics.

We are confident that the NCAP roadmap, being prepared by the NHTSA, will include V2X as a technology required for a five-star safety rating, as is the case with Euro NCAP’s plans overseas. Based on our worldwide cooperation with car manufacturers, there is great interest in V2X, one of the most affordable sensor technologies with huge potential for both traffic safety and efficient traffic management.

The updated NCAP program pays particular attention to protecting road users outside the car, including pedestrians and cyclists. Commsignia has also developed a range of solutions to protect vulnerable road users. We have developed a special V2X solution for cyclists with our partners, and we can also improve safety for non-connected road users. By using data from thousands of smart sensors installed along the roads, cities can use our devices either for real-time interventions or use the insights to improve the infrastructure.

We are doing our best to help road safety efforts, as we did in the 10 years since Commsignia’s founding.

Dive deep into the data here in the NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts – PDF: https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/813298

Bicycles And E-scooters Are Safer With V2X

Commsignia is strengthening road safety by integrating micromobility, pedestrians and vehicles into smart cities through vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technologies. V2X is the umbrella term for communication solutions that enable road users to see each other, even when they are not clearly visible.

The main cause of bicycle crashes:
drivers don’t see them

Over 75 percent of bicycle road fatalities happen because drives just don’t see smaller vehicles. On-board car sensors help a lot to cover blind spots, but under certain conditions the warnings come late. V2X not only provides a real-time data flow between traffic participants in a wider area, but this technology has the added benefit of seeing through walls.

Users of V2X communicate directly with each other

  • No network coverage is needed for road safety applications
  • Anonymized identifiers ensure data privacy
  • Messages contain essential traffic information such as position, heading and speed of road users

Contextual awareness increases confidence and improves the user experience of micromobility services. V2X safety applications give riders time to prepare for an unexpected situation.

  • vehicle behind’, 
  • ‘hidden vehicle approaching behind the corner’ 

V2X works both ways, providing vehicle drivers alerts about micromobility riders in their blind spot, so they can avoid right and left cross crashes or door hits.

Dedicated for road safety

V2X works on the 5.9 GHz radio frequency, an open band that is dedicated for road safety applications. Commsignia’s provides the necessary IoT hardware and software components to enable V2X on vehicles.

We can also make it possible for unconnected users to be part of the V2X world. Hundreds of smart sensors and cameras installed by cities identify cars, e-scooters, bicycles and pedestrians in the traffic, and Commsignia’s roadside units can generate V2X warnings based on these detections. V2X-enabled vehicles can also receive these notifications. 

Cities are increasingly open to the use of V2X. There’s a wide range of applications at their disposal, such as the ability to adjust traffic lights by detecting vehicles. But the V2X ecosystem have a much greater potential. Vehicle data will help improve the road network in a unique way: fine details such as frequent braking of cars near micromobility road users indicate near-miss incidents which could lead to collisions in heavy traffic, but road managers can intervene before they happen.

Commsignia has been building the V2X ecosystem for more than 10 years with deployments throughout the US and Europe, and OEM deals will bring V2X technologies to millions of cars in the coming years.

How to improve work zone safety with V2X

With more than 150 people killed in road maintenance crashes in a year, it is clear that more needs to be done to improve work zone safety. To mark the National Work Zone Awareness Week, we’d like to raise awareness of how vehicle-to-everything (V2X) can help when people are on the road.

Normally, roadworks are signposted well in advance to give drivers time to slow down. When you get right up to the work area on a minor road, flaggers will stand in your way and show you if you can pass.

This is exactly what happened last week when we were traveling on a mountain road near Boulder Creek, CA. The flagger even waved us to slow down and we couldn’t understand why. Then, about 30 yards later, it became obvious: a man was kneeling down on the road, working right next to our lane.

A similar situation on the motorways is not nearly as safe. You can travel at much higher speeds, and there is no special signalling for the presence of workers.

This is where V2X can help the most

It is essential to involve vulnerable road users in the V2X ecosystem to significantly reduce road fatalities. We have the technology to equip road workers with V2X beacons so that drivers know exactly that there is a man on the road. Cars with on-board V2X can receive the messages and display a warning long before the flagger is in sight.

Accurate information is the key to confident and safe driving, and only V2X can deliver it to vehicles in a timely manner, even when the hazard is out of the driver’s line of sight.

The future of micromobility lies in communication

The benefits of light vehicles are attracting more and more people, but the future of micromobility lies in whether cities are able to protect vulnerable road users (VRUs).

Some have switched modes with confidence, but many do not feel comfortable in the current state of transition. Standing on a sheet of metal is not comparable to the safety of a car body.

There is a significant increase in the risk of unintentional road injuries and fatalities

Some cities already have an extensive network of bicycle roads, some are planning to build, others are lagging behind. Whatever the case, people traveling by bicycle or e-scooter will encounter cars during their journey. In the battle of standing on two legs vs two tons of steel, there is no doubt who will be the winner.

There’s a way to increase safety and confidence in diverse traffic. We need to connect all road users with vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technology. Commsignia brought its expertise in V2X and partnered with Spoke to build game-changer  VRU safety solutions.

One of the most common causes of VRU incidents is that the driver of the car doesn’t see the light vehicle coming.

A bicycle or e-scooter can easily go unnoticed in the vehicle’s blind spot. Turning cars can cross the path of a light vehicle passing by them or in the opposite lane, which can lead to an incident with injury. Even an ordinary event like the opening of a car door can also have serious consequences.

Real time V2X communication guarantees that vehicles nearby receive real-time alerts. They will know about each other, even if they don’t see each other, and they can avoid these dangerous situations.

Find out more about the future of micromobility and our VRU protection and bicycle safety solutions by contacting us here.

Speaking V2X – the language of mobility

If anything, we at Commsignia speak V2X – the language of mobility.

“Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.”

Rita Mae Brown

It’s easy to take a popular quote out of context and use them in wide variety of topics. These words by Rita Mae Brown have a very different meaning in the business of vehicle communications. We literally use V2X messages to tell where people and their vehicles come from, and where they are going.

How is V2X a language?

Now let’s get to the point. V2X has it’s own mother language defined by international standards, so every single vehicle understands each other. Although we don’t use linguistic prefixes or suffixes, the messages are well structured. Would you like to see one? Fasten your seat belt because we are going fast and very deep.

Take a look below at the beautiful structure of the standard V2X “sentence”, a Traveler Information Message (TIM) that typically contains information about actual traffic situations.

{
  "dtype": "TIM",
  "decodedMessageData": {
    "travelerInformation": {
      "msgCnt": 1,
      "timeStamp": 381239,
      "dataFrames": [
        {
          "sspTimRights": 0,
          "frameType": "advisory",
          "msgId": {
            "choiceID": 1,
            "roadSignID": {
              "position": {
                "lat": 474751745,
                "long_": 190578618
              },
              "viewAngle": {
                "bytes": "//8=",
                "unusedBits": "0",
                "from292_5to315_0degrees": true,
                "from315_0to337_5degrees": true,
                "from112_5to135_0degrees": true,
                "from135_0to157_5degrees": true,
                "from157_5to180_0degrees": true,
                "from202_5to225_0degrees": true,
                "from225_0to247_5degrees": true,
                "from022_5to045_0degrees": true,
                "from045_0to067_5degrees": true,
                "from090_0to112_5degrees": true,
                "from270_0to292_5degrees": true,
                "from247_5to270_0degrees": true,
                "from337_5to360_0degrees": true,
                "from067_5to090_0degrees": true,
                "from180_0to202_5degrees": true,
                "from000_0to022_5degrees": true,
                "bitSize": 16
              }
            }
          },
          "startTime": 73440,
          "duratonTime": 480,
          "priority": 3,
          "sspLocationRights": 0,
          "regions": [
            {
              "anchor": {
                "lat": 474753846,
                "long_": 190575238
              },
              "description": {
                "path": {
                  "offset": {
                    "xy": {
                      "nodes": [
                        {
                          "delta": {
                            "choiceID": 6,
                            "node_LatLon": {
                              "lat": 474753846,
                              "lon": 190575238
                            }
                          }
                        },
                        {
                          "delta": {
                            "choiceID": 6,
                            "node_LatLon": {
                              "lat": 474754975,
                              "lon": 190577181
                            }
                          }
                        },
                        {
                          "delta": {
                            "choiceID": 6,
                            "node_LatLon": {
                              "lat": 474751456,
                              "lon": 190582348
                            }
                          }
                        },
                        {
                          "delta": {
                            "choiceID": 6,
                            "node_LatLon": {
                              "lat": 474749460,
                              "lon": 190578308
                            }
                          }
                        },
                        {
                          "delta": {
                            "choiceID": 6,
                            "node_LatLon": {
                              "lat": 474753872,
                              "lon": 190575160
                            }
                          }
                        }
                      ]
                    }
                  }
                }
              }
            }
          ],
          "sspMsgRights1": 0,
          "sspMsgRights2": 0,
          "content": {
            "choiceID": 1,
            "workZone": [
              {
                "item": {
                  "choiceID": 0,
                  "itis": 6952
                }
              }
            ]
          }
        }
      ]
    }
  }
}

Let’s take a look at the details! Geographical coordinates are easily recognizable, they describe our engineering office in Budapest, Hungary. The start time is from the beginning of the year, from 0:00 a.m. on January 1, 2022, and is, at least officially, 8 hours a day. These values we have to input in minutes.

You can also see the “workZone” expression in the text. It usually describes an event on the road, but we are also proud to work on those roads: using our software to make them safer. Our free interpretation is not a problem at all. The ITIS code 6952 of the event only states: look-out-for-workers.

We could call ITIS codes the words and syllables of the V2X language. The codes are issued by an international body, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). SAE plays a key role in V2X standardization, without which communication between vehicles would hardly work.

Here at Commsignia we speak V2X on a native level and are happy to translate your everyday traffic problem into the language of mobility. Get in touch!