Smart street radar system could soon help save lives on the road

While many cars today are equipped with radars that can detect pedestrians on the road, surrounding buildings or other cars in the area can block these systems and make them ineffective. In an effort to help overcome this challenge, a team of engineers is working on a radar that can be mounted on the streets, and thus help cars avoid accidents.

Currently being developed by Germany’s Fraunhofer research group, the system consists of infrastructure-connected radar sensors, which could be installed at pedestrian-heavy locations, including bus stops, school zones or crosswalks.

The radar works by scanning the surrounding area 100 times per second, with each of its sensors capable of distinguishing a person on a road and then detecting the speed and direction in which they’re moving. If the system detects that the person is heading towards the road at too fast of a speed, it emits a warning signal.

The signal is then picked up by the vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) system in cars close by, emitting an audio or visual signal to the approaching vehicle, encouraging the driver to pay attention, or even automatically activate the car’s brakes.

Although the street radar is still under development, the team is currently piloting the technology at a bus stop next to a university campus, where a setup with two radar sensors can monitor up to eight people at once, determining if any of them are moving towards the road during the hustle and bustle of the busy campus.

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