Thousands of smart sensors are waiting for a V2X upgrade

There are thousands of smart sensors along city roads to monitor traffic, and it is worth installing a V2X upgrade to improve road safety. This is especially true for pedestrians and other vulnerable road users.

According to the USDOT, pedestrian fatalities increased by 44% between 2010 and 2019, urging improved safety

The USDOT pedestrian safety action plan mentions V2P (vehicle-to-pedestrian) solutions that sense the environment and relay that information to vehicles. The USDOT also highlights some V2X applications. For example, warning systems for visually impaired pedestrians that alert drivers of their presence at the crosswalk.

Both V2X and smart sensors are proven solutions in transport, and it’s easy to combine them. The traffic sensors are usually already connected to an IT network with built-in cyber security, which is also suitable for V2X. On the other hand, upgrading V2X roadside units with sensors is also simple, it doesn’t require disassembly of the RSU, so we can maintain the hardware and software integrity of the device.

Just as infrared cameras can detect all road users day and night, regardless of size, shape or visibility, V2X upgrades can increase road safety for all road users.

Sensors provide valuable data used in traffic management centers. V2X brings in new, more local possibilities. A roadside unit (RSU) can detect pedestrians and alert other road users immediately. The RSU also sends the data to the traffic centers in the same way. 

Roadside units in such settings broadcast various standardized V2X warnings to road users. For example Pedestrian Safety Messages (PSM) and Cooperative Perception Messages (CPM). V2X-enabled vehicles can process both of these message types. Ultimately, this will give them a more accurate picture of road events. We can even determine the position of VRUs: pedestrians, cyclists, and e-scooters.

On-board driver assistance systems can calculate a better route based on V2X data, so drivers will use only free and safe lanes.

Moreover, an RSU can take control of local traffic, which is a much more sophisticated response to dangerous situations. It is possible to turn traffic lights red to close the intersection, activate a flashing warning, or close the level crossing barrier to avoid accidents. 

The solution is always adapted to the specific situation.  

It is easy to see that a V2X car can play an active role in these events. However, non-V2X vehicles also benefit from V2X-connected sensors through on-board cloud services. These sensors already distribute information about various road events and weather updates. 

Commsignia provides solutions to identify vulnerable road users and predict their movement. This is possible using various types of sensors, including cameras, infrared sensors, lidars and radars. Our goal is to collect and combine overlapping data to get a complete picture of what’s happening on and around the road. This way, road users will have reliable information and can then make better decisions in safety and with confidence.

We’re not waiting until April Fools for misbehavior detection

Misbehavior detection is when a message is sent between vehicles and then flagged as false. Misbehavior can endanger lives, therefore both malicious and unintentionally wrong V2X messages must be filtered out on all 365 days of the year.

There’s an app for that!

Well, not on your phone, I’m not referring to the decade old commercial. It’s an app in our vehicle-to-everything stack, and it’s called misbehavior detection.

An early example of misbehavior detection is basically all about checking the values in consecutive Cooperative Awareness Messages (CAM) to expose a liar. For a starter you have to know that CAM messages contain a lot of information about a vehicle: position, heading, speed, acceleration and the vehicle’s type. The message says a car is reversing towards us at 200 km/h? Obviously nonsense. Traveling with a normal 50 km/h, but the GPS coordinates are always the same? Hardly believable. How about a 23 meters long motorcycle? Not even Batman’s bike in the movie reached that size. 

So these were the easier cases.

At the last Car2Car week event Andras Varadi, head of Commsignia research and Daniel Magyar research intern gave a presentation about much more complex issues involving multiple sensors and V2X units.

Infrastructure as a vigilante

In the first case the infrastructure helps drivers assess the situation. The information sharing is done with Cooperative Perception Message (CPM) and, as the name implies, these messages contain data about objects detected by various sensors and cameras. In our case the V2X roadside unit (RSU) at the intersection is connected to a camera. We simulate a case when its input is not verified and as a consequence it is possible that it sends a corrupted CPM message to vehicle B. The message says that vehicle A occupies the intersection.

But vehicle B’s own on-board sensors detect free space at the phantom car’s alleged location. Our misbehavior detection algorithm doesn’t just make a decision based on the vehicle’s own sensor, but also reports the RSU to the Misbehavior Authority. 

Denouncing a V2X device is an integral part of V2X safety, it prevents additional future false messages from being accepted by anyone in the traffic. However, since this process can take time, Commsinia software also helps maintain safety right away. What’s more, vehicle B shares its own view of the situation – that there is nobody in the intersection – using CPMs to contradict the roadside unit.

In the second simulated case, vehicle A plays the culprit. It sends a corrupted CAM message with wrong speed and location data, claiming that it’s fully stopped in the middle of the intersection. The RSU works correctly, recognizes that the vehicle is already away and there’s a drivable free space at the intersection. So the RSU sends out a CPM message containing freespace information.

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Vehicle B receives both the wrong CAM and the right CPM messages, and the misbehavior detection algorithm running on the vehicle’s V2X onboard unit checks both data.

Only Commsignia’s special algorithm allows vehicle B to recognize the misbehavior from the pairing anomaly, and warn the driver of a potential danger.

How 2021 will be the year of V2X

The V2X market will force car manufacturers to change

National authorities have made decisions about supported technologies, making the global V2X market directions clearer. Generation Z is becoming a purchasing power, the Zoomers, who take connectivity and automation as granted. If all that weren’t enough, the requirements will also evolve so that some kind of vehicle communication solution will be a requirement for a five-star NCAP rating. Everything points in the direction of V2X. 

Good news: V2X technology is already one of the cheapest ADAS tool, and it’s getting more affordable. Chipmakers are creating new opportunities to offer V2X on different price segments. This means that the V2X market is set to expand rapidly. 

Another part of the story is that driver assistant systems must work under any circumstances.  It comes with the scary image of design flaws causing personal injury – litigation costs are extraordinary, not to mention recalls. Another good news we have:

V2X serves as an extra layer of protective gear

Reducingliability risks and the costs involved in the higher levels of self driving make OEMs use more and more sensors. Lidars are very expensive, and carmakers’ legendary cost-awareness is really a fight over the pennies. The price of computing power is also an issue, and it really does matter whether image information and other sensory data or simple messages need to be processed. We at Commsignia are focusing on offering high performance V2X solutions with a small resource footprint to enable the rollout of V2X on more cars.

How can V2X support existing ADAS systems? It is quite certain that connected and non-connected cars will share the same roads for a while, and we conducted extensive research in situations like that. One example is providing lane change assistance and drivable area recognition supported by V2X infrastructure. We’ve found that Collective Perception Messages (CPM) help self-driving trucks in lane change maneuvers, even when there are non-connected, human driven cars in the next lane. Such applications make the transition to self driving much smoother and safer. 

There’s another argument in favor of V2X: 

onboard sensors can only perceive the present, events that are happening right now. 

On the other hand, V2X offers a glimpse into the near future, warning drivers of events they may encounter on their route very soon. A good example of this is intention sharing, when the V2X infrastructure can predict that a vehicle crossing a driver’s route will violate the red light, risking an accident. Traffic lights play a central role in our most complex V2X project in Las Vegas, where self driving buses and self driving passenger car fleets show how the infrastructure and onboard sensors can work together.

We at Commsignia see a bright future for V2X in 2021, so we can make driving safer.

In this blogpost, we summarize the webinar presented at the Automotive Tech Week – Megatrends conference, organized by Wards Auto.