Audi of America will develop cellular vehicle-to-everything signals to alert drivers when they are entering school zones or near school buses. - Photo courtesy Audi of America

Audi of America will develop cellular vehicle-to-everything signals to alert drivers when they are entering school zones or near school buses.

Photo courtesy Audi of America

Audi of America has teamed up with Applied Information, a provider of intelligent transportation system solutions, and Temple Inc., a supplier of traffic control equipment, to develop two future connected vehicle applications that can help improve safety in school zones and around school buses.

The first application, using cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) technology, is designed to warn drivers when they are approaching an active school safety zone and exceeding the speed limit when students are present, according to a news release from Audi. The second application is designed to warn drivers when they are approaching a school bus stopped to pick up or drop off students. Both applications are reportedly expected to be complete in the first half of 2021, according to the automotive manufacturer.

“Using next-generation cellular technology, we have an opportunity to help save lives of some of the most vulnerable road users — schoolchildren,” said Pom Malhotra, director of connected services for Audi of America. “We’re proud to work with Applied Information and Temple to help make our roads safer.”

When active, roadside units (RSU) installed in school zone safety beacons — flashing signs that are intended to slow drivers down as they pass by a school — will broadcast messages to vehicles indicating the location of the school and the reduced speed limit in the area. This initial deployment will also help alert drivers to the changes in speed limit as school times change due to circumstances, such as half school days and early dismissals for weather, according to Audi.

In the second deployment application, onboard units (OBU) will broadcast C-V2X safety messages from school buses to C-V2X-equipped vehicles when the bus’s stop arm is extended to indicate no passing is allowed.

Modified Audi e-tron test vehicles (the automotive manufacturer’s first battery-electric model) will implement C-V2X capabilities that Audi hopes to bring to consumers in future vehicle generations. Applied Information plans to supply the school bus OBU and school beacon RSUs, which Temple will deploy, according to Audi.

The applications will be developed at the Infrastructure Automotive Technology Laboratory (iATL) in Alpharetta, Ga., which is home to 55 connected traffic signals that are capable of direct C-V2X communication between a vehicle and a signal using short-distance cellular communication. The signals help optimize green light timing and traffic flow as well as Traffic Light Information equipped in many Audi vehicles.

The iATL was established to encourage automakers to test connected vehicle technology in a true streetscape setting featuring real-world interferences and obstructions. The iATL is licensed to operate fixed and mobile C-V2X (PC5) communications technology in a 75-square-mile area around the laboratory.

“Improving safety in school zones and at bus stops is a top priority of our connected vehicle development program,” said Bryan Mulligan, president of Applied Information and executive director of the iATL. “We are pleased to be working with Audi and Temple to help bring this advance in safety technology to the community.”

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