Auburn Hills’ Continental Creates Smart City Mobility, Transportation Hub

Wrong-Way Driver detection system
Continental’s Smart City Mobility and Transportation Hub will be able to test new technology such as the company’s Wrong-Way Driver detection system. Image courtesy of Continental

Continental, with North American headquarters in Auburn Hills, has created a Smart City Mobility and Transportation Hub to test and improve traffic flow, add convenience, reduce pollution, and increase safety at two intersections in the city.

The technology will be able to communicate hidden dangers to drivers and pedestrians. Continental’s Wrong-Way Driver detection system, which warns at-risk drivers of cars heading the wrong way, has been installed at the hub at Auburn Road and N. Squirrel Road as well as Auburn and S. Squirrel Road.

“With about 80 percent of Americans living in urban areas, a steady increase in pedestrian fatalities, and more than 43 percent of crashes taking place at intersections, a focus on improved safety at city intersections has never been more important,” says Jeremy McClain, director of chassis and safety systems and technology for Continental, North America. “By bringing together a variety of automotive-grade technologies, systems, and expertise, Continental’s smart city technologies have the potential to greatly improve the lives of everyone who enters the area.”

In its current phase, the hub is collecting information such as location and movement patterns of pedestrians, vehicles, and other intersection-related objects to create an environment model needed for infrastructure-to-everything, or I2X, communication. The model provides information about traffic participants, traffic infrastructure, static objects, and the overall road situation to connected vehicles.

McClain says the hub has short- and long-range sensors that enable functions like adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection, forward collision warning, lane assist, and more. It also has a roadside unit and electronic control unit to process data and run the environment model and functions.

He says the benefits include the ability to count the number of vehicles entering and exiting a zone to communicate the number of parking spaces available. Connections to a traffic light controller can optimize traffic flow, reducing congestion and emissions from idling vehicles.

Additional analysis and artificial intelligence can help predict the intention of pedestrians, alerting drivers.

“Auburn Hills is excited to partner with Continental to provide a real-world test location for smart city technology that will make the future of transportation safer not only for motorists, but cyclists, pedestrians, and other users within the confluence of the intersection,” says Auburn Hills Mayor Kevin McDaniel.

The Wrong-Way Driver detection system relies on Continental’s sensors, connected-vehicle systems, and a heatmapping algorithm. The self-learning system automatically defines the roadways and directions of travel then sends an alert to mobile devices or connected vehicles.

The system is also designed to fit on roadside units with low power requirements, making it suitable for solar power. It can also be installed on existing poles and gantries near the beginning of highway exit ramps.

The information and alert can also be sent to authorities, with information traveling through infrastructure to vehicle technology, vehicle to everything technology, and SMS. It could one day be integrated into navigation apps.

Continental also operates a hub in China and intelligent intersections in California and Ohio. The company plans to expand similar technology in other cities. The company’s global headquarters are in Germany.

Written by Grace Turner for dBusiness.