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JRC helps define standards to test new braking devices

18 February 2013

In the run-up to more widespread autonomous emergency braking (AEB) systems in cars, the JRC is checking the efficiency of pedestrian dummies in the testing of these devices.

The measurements have been performed in the JRC's European Microwave Signature Laboratory, located in Ispra, Italy
The measurements have been performed in the JRC's European Microwave Signature Laboratory, located in Ispra, Italy

The results of these tests by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) are now available as a a reference library with the radar signatures of the dummies, which show how visible they are for the new autonomous braking devices. Radar cross section (RCS) measurements have been collected simultaneously in the two main frequency bands, namely, 23–28GHz and 76–81GHz.

The dummies are used by the automotive industry to mimic pedestrians for the AEB sensors, and since their widespread use, there was a clear need for harmonised test and evaluation procedures and standards.

Conclusions show that results of the two frequency bands do not show significant differences. However, in the higher frequency bands, the height of the pedestrian has a clearer effect on the RCS averages observed.

Furthermore, during the testing a first qualitative comparison of the RCS signatures between dummies and humans was completed and results show that the RCS averages of the available dummies are slightly below those of the humans. The researchers also designed a dedicated set of measurements to assess the impact of clothing on the measured RCS signatures. It was found that in most cases clothing did not impact significantly on the RCS signatures observed.

Two very important functions of AEB sensors are to detect other vehicles and, more importantly, to detect pedestrians, cyclists, motorcycles and other vulnerable road users. From a technology stand point, radar sensors have the advantage of being immune to weather conditions (not as video cameras, for instance), being compact and having potentially low cost in terms of manufacturing.

The Commission wants to halve the number of road deaths in the EU by 2020. Vulnerable road users, such as riders of motorcycles, mopeds, cyclists and pedestrians represented 45% of all road deaths in 2008 and are currently still increasing.  In 2009, the overall number of deaths on the road was 35 000 and no fewer than 1,5 million people were injured. Associated costs represented 130 billion euros that year.

Currently, a wide range of new technologies including intelligent speed adaptation and radar-based collision avoidance systems are being widely deployed to improve road safety levels and reduce these casualties.

These measurements have been performed in the JRC’s key experiment facility EMSL - the European Microwave Signature Laboratory, which is used to test and validate legislative proposals on new wireless communications standards and satellite navigation services. JRC specialises in testing compatibility and non-interference between existing and emerging wireless services, such as Satellite Navigation (Galileo, GPS), 4G Broadband and automotive road-tolling (eTolling), to name a few.

The study and its results are very important for the innovation and competitiveness of the  European automotive industry to meet the latest standards for road safety. The AEB systems are the basis of classifying the new highest safety category of Euro NCAP (European New Car Assessment Programme).

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