The number of traffic casualties is shrinking visibly, but the number of cyclist fatalities, which is about 200 a year, is not. Furthermore, about half of the seriously injured road users are cyclists. And sixty percent of them are involved in single-sided accidents. TNO is working on a triple approach to reduce these numbers.
We have developed an intelligent bicycle which warns the cyclist for dangerous situations, bicycle friendly cars will appear and we are developing an intelligent intersection which helps prevent accidents.
Starting from 2018 European manufactures will produce cars equipped with autonomous braking systems which, in addition to cars and pedestrians, will also detect cyclists. This is the result of efforts by TNO. The last couple of years we brought parties from the international automotive industry together to jointly develop a testing method for cars which automatically brake for cyclists. This method will be part of the European consumers tests from 2018.
'We made sure that the cyclist is on the road map of car manufacturers', says TNO-researcher Stefanie de Hair. 'The development of autonomous braking systems was mainly focused on cars and pedestrians. An autonomous braking system for cyclists is a important step in protecting the cyclist. Furthermore, TNO has played a leading role in the development of a cyclist air bag on the exterior of the car. In case of an accident with a cyclist, this airbag will mitigate the impact, which can make the difference between life and death. We have proven the technical effect. The industry has to take the next step.'
The intelligent bicycle, which we developed in cooperation with Roessingh Research & Development and the Dutch Cyclist Union, provides an early warning through vibrations in the handle bars and saddle for oncoming traffic or overtaking traffic when you are about to take a turn. Elderly people have tested this bicycle and consider this bike as a welcome solution. But also children, racing cyclists, people with a visual disability and other vulnerable road users will profit from the intelligent bicycle.
When developing technologies to improve road safety we always take three factors into account: vehicle, infrastructure and human behavior. This is reflected by the intelligent intersection. Bicycles, cars and infrastructure are equipped with sensors and by using wireless communication road users warn each other to prevent unsafe situations. For instance, a cyclist which suddenly appears from around the corner and has a high chance of colliding with a car. Sensors on the side of the road provide information on the position, velocity and heading of the cyclist to the car, such that the driver can react adequately. Cyclists are revealed to cars, even when they are out of sight of the driver. After a first field test in Helmond we would like to further develop the system in cooperation with governments and companies.
For the Dutch government and the European Commission we are researching the behavior of cyclists. For that we use the by TNO developed observation technique DOCTOR. The results are important for improving both safety of cyclists and traffic flow in the city.
If you want to know more about our innovations which improve road safety and mobility, please contact us.