X2Safe communicates with all types of traffic participants, utilizing in-car systems (V2X), but also smartphones and even smart watches, providing the warning early enough to enable autonomous and semi-autonomous systems (driver assistant systems) to take appropriate measures. According to ZF, the algorithm can be used as a basis for Vehicle-to-X, X-to-vehicle and even X-to-X applications. An industry first, the technology enables complete connectivity that includes weaker traffic participants such as pedestrians and cyclists. The technology is cloud-based. Its effectiveness with regards to avoiding accidents increases the more vehicles and persons are tied together in this interactive safety network.
The system permanently gathers motion data from the systems connected. Therefore, smartphone users (and likewise users of wearables) can potentially benefit from the technology – at least as long as they are online. The algorithm leverages the motion data to calculate the probability of a crash between any of the participants. The collision warning is issued before a visual contact is established and also before the vehicle sensors – radar, lidar, cameras – are able to identify the hazard situation. This significantly increases the safety because according to studies, car drivers at the wheel are actually distracted for more than 50% of their driving time.
The algorithm analyses the individual behavior of all traffic participants (as long as they have a smart device activated) in the immediate surroundings and then decides if it is necessary to take action. For example, if a pedestrian is crossing the street in front of an approaching vehicle (even if this vehicle is around a corner), a warning message is sent to the driver and the pedestrian’s smart device alike. With rising percentage of connected safety systems in cars and with increasing autonomy of driver assistance systems, the warning message can trigger automated countermeasures in the vehicle including evasive maneuvers or applying the brake.
The interactivity of this system exceeds well the possibilities of a pure Car-to-X or X-to-Car communication. The context of the motion data is also included – these data can not only be used to determine the motion vector and speed of the traffic participants but can assess and identify danger zones such as bus stops or confusing street courses.
Though ZF claims it to be an industry’s first, the system has some similarities with a technology introduced two years ago by Volvo. It is however unclear if the Swedish carmaker ever brought this system to series maturity.