Initiatives to Reduce Collisions Involving Pedestrians and Vehicles Utilizing 5G and Cellular V2X Technologies

Automotive vehicles play a large role in people’s daily lives as part of the social infrastructure that provides freedom of mobility as well as the distribution of goods. On the other hand, they are also the cause of traffic accidents, and there is a need for the development of new technologies to reduce these traffic accidents. In particular, communication technologies are expected to help expand the range of areas where information, including warnings and alerts, can be provided, and to encourage the utilization of sensing data from other vehicles. SoftBank’s Research Institute of Advanced Technology has been working to reduce road accidents by utilizing 5G and “Cellular V2X (hereafter referred to as C-V2X)” as the next-generation of safety technology.

“V2X (Vehicle-to-Everything)” is a communication technology that enables the exchange of information between vehicles and everything around them. Vehicles connect to nearby vehicles, road infrastructure (for example, traffic lights, road signs, and parking lots), pedestrians and networks, and those that use mobile networks such as LTE and 5G are called C-V2X.

C-V2X is expected to be utilized in a wide range of areas, including services concerning safety such as the reduction of accidents, as well as autonomous driving, and MaaS※1. As of such, various research and development projects are underway for this technology.

  • ※1MaaS: A service that integrates various forms of transportation services into a single mode of transportation.

C-V2X uses two transmission modes: “PC5” and “Uu”.

PC5 refers to direct communications between devices such as vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V), vehicle-to-infrastructure communication (V2I), and vehicle-to-pedestrian communication (V2P). This mode is being considered for use in communications over relatively small areas within a range of several hundred meters in which low latency is required.

Uu refers to communication between vehicles and networks via base stations, which is called the vehicle-to-network (V2N). This mode is being considered for use in communications over the more extensive areas that are covered by base stations, which allow for some latency.

SoftBank has been promoting the spread of C-V2X in Japan, such as by becoming the first telecom operator in Japan to acquire a license to use the 5.9 GHz band, which is being globally considered for future allocation as the frequency band for PC5.

Three Use Case Verifications with Honda R&D

We have been examining C-V2X as a safety driver assistance technology for automotive vehicles, and working together with Honda R&D Co., Ltd. (hereafter referred to as Honda R&D), Honda Motor’s research and development subsidiary, to realize a society where both pedestrians and drivers can enjoy mobility safely with peace of mind. As part of this initiative, we have tested three use cases, with the aim of reducing traffic accidents involving pedestrians and vehicles.

Use Case 1: Reducing collisions involving pedestrians who are visible from the vehicles

In an environment where pedestrians can be visually recognized from a moving vehicle, and when the risk of a collision is recognized by the vehicle’s on-board camera, such as when a pedestrian has stepped onto the road, an alert urging caution will be sent to the pedestrian’s mobile device directly from the vehicle or via a Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) server. By taking evasive action upon receiving the alert, the pedestrian can prevent a possible collision with the vehicle.

Use Case 2: Reducing collisions involving pedestrians who are not visible from the vehicles

When a moving vehicle is in an environment where it cannot visually recognize pedestrians due to obstacles such as parked cars on the roadside, the vehicle sends out queries to nearby mobile devices and other vehicles about the presence or absence of pedestrians in the area with poor visibility.

If there is a pedestrian present, a notification will be sent to the pedestrian’s mobile device alerting them of the approaching vehicle. At the same time, a notification is also sent from the pedestrian’s mobile device to the approaching vehicle to inform it that there is a pedestrian in the area with poor visibility.

In addition, when there is another vehicle located in a position where it can visually recognize a pedestrian in the area with poor visibility, that vehicle will send a notification to the approaching vehicle that there is a pedestrian in the area with poor visibility. High-speed data communications between moving vehicles, pedestrians and other vehicles can prevent collisions.

Use Case 3: Reducing collisions involving pedestrians by sharing information about areas not visible to vehicles

In this use case, moving vehicles send information about the areas with poor visibility to the MEC server, and the MEC server then organizes this information and notifies vehicles driving in the vicinity.

When a vehicle receives the notification and approaches the area with poor visibility, it sends queries to the MEC server about the presence or absence of pedestrians. If there is a pedestrian present, the MEC server sends out an alert notification to the vehicle and the pedestrian.

High-speed data communications between the MEC server, vehicles and pedestrians can prevent collisions. In this use case, by sending out information on the area with poor visibility, even to vehicles that are not equipped with a camera with recognition functions, collisions between vehicles and pedestrians can be prevented regardless of whether or not the vehicles have recognition functions.

  • *Video in Japanese Only

The Research Institute of Advanced Technology will continue to conduct technology verifications focusing on the integration of vehicles and C-V2X, with the aim of creating a cooperative society where all road users, including pedestrians and vehicles, can enjoy mobility safely and experience peace of mind by connecting to the network. We will continue to conduct verifications of technologies, focusing on the cooperation between vehicles and C-V2X.

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