New system leverages vehicle and roadside technologies to thwart head-on collisions caused by wrong-way drivers
Researchers at UCF and the Central Florida Expressway Authority have designed and developed a comprehensive system that can help prevent head-on collisions by identifying and stopping drivers who wrongfully enter mainline highways. The inventive concept integrates existing transportation infrastructures and driver assistance technologies in cars, so that they work together to detect, alert, and stop wrong-way drivers (WWDs) before they reach mainline oncoming traffic. With the invention, the systems can also warn drivers in the vicinity, authorities and police.
Many roadway authorities use detection technologies such as Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacon (RRFB) activation signs and LED flashing signs at highway exit ramps. However, such deterrents are usually not enough to stop drivers who are severely intoxicated, confused or suicidal. As well, “connected vehicles” or CVs, with features such as Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), automatic braking, wireless communications, and heads-up displays, still leave the public vulnerable to such WWDs.
Fortunately, with the invention, transportation authorities and car manufacturers can seamlessly integrate existing roadway infrastructure technologies with those of CVs. Together, the technologies form a fast, reliable system that can immediately warn WWDs and, if necessary, disable their vehicles while alerting the traveling public, transportation authorities, and law enforcement.
The wrong-way vehicle countermeasure concept integrates CV technology, such as driver-assisted steering and stopping, and the wrong-way driving detection technology of roadway infrastructures. Based on the inventive concept, the technologies coordinate with each other using motion detectors, controllers, countermeasure commands and telecommunication devices. In an example application of the concept, an expressway authority uses an RRFB sign to detect a wrong-way vehicle at an exit ramp. As a first response, the sign flashes warning lights and alerts the existing transportation system’s infrastructure, which then issues a countermeasure command to the CV’s heads-up display. The display tells the driver that he/she is going the wrong way and should turn around. If the driver continues up the ramp, the system then issues another countermeasure to activate the vehicle’s LKAS, which steers it to the side of the road and applies the brakes until the vehicle stops completely. The system also alerts mainline (right-way) CV drivers and authorities about the WWD. Thus, the system prevents the vehicle from entering the mainline and endangering other drivers.
- Cost-efficiently coordinates and enhances the use of existing infrastructures and technologies
- Reduces the need for unnecessary dynamic message signs to alert the public about WWDs
- Prevents possible injuries and fatalities
- Vehicle and software manufacturing
- Departments of transportation and expressway authorities
- National and international transportation agencies