FLIR Systems has developed a number of solutions that promote safety both inside and outside of vehicles. Used to relieve congestion in cities and to protect those on the road, these technologies ensure safer and more efficient roadways and help solve the increasing problem of pedestrian and vulnerable road user (VRU) deaths.
Intelligent Traffic Solutions for Outside of the Car
Recently announced, the TrafiSense™ AI with thermal imaging and the TrafiCam™ AI visible camera, both with artificial intelligence (AI), are intelligent traffic system cameras designed to safely help optimize traffic flow on roadways and at intersections. Adding the AI capability offers a fully integrated solution that enables traffic engineers and city planners to apply AI-based learnings to continuously make cities safer.
As congestion in urban centers continues to rise, designing technology to help control movement both for vehicles and pedestrians becomes increasingly important. The AI-enabled cameras help control traffic through data capture and processing to provide input to traffic signal controllers at intersections in real-time. The thermal sensor within the TrafiSense AI has the ability to makes decisions at the edge based on the heat that all objects emit to help decipher between different vehicle types, pedestrians, or bicyclists. Combined with the low-light, high-definition visible sensor within the TrafiCam AI, cities’ traffic signals have offer continuous monitoring, in all weather conditions, no matter the time of day. The cameras are also Wi-Fi enabled for travel time calculations and other origin-destination applications.
In addition, when the TrafiSense AI and TrafiCam AI cameras are combined with the FLIR Acyclica™ cloud platform, cities can apply their AI-based learnings to real-time data to make predictive traffic pattern changes and prevent congestion, creating more efficient and safer cities 24 hours a day.
Being able to adapt to future infrastructure changes, these cameras can be retrofitted with 5G cellular antennas to integrate with vehicle-to-everything (V2X) connectivity that will allow for better communication between vehicles and their surroundings to further improve road safety.
AI-enabled traffic sensors reliably detect and classify vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians.
Improving Safety Systems on the Car
In addition to the work that is happening to improve infrastructure, FLIR is evaluating ways thermal can make cars safer with all VRUs in mind. Recently, FLIR teamed up with VSI Labs to FLIR Systems to develop a proof-of-concept vehicle and testing that looks at how adding a thermal sensor and fusing the data with a radar, a visible sensor, and a trained neural network can improve pedestrian detection from current automatic emergency braking systems. In 2018 there were 6,238 pedestrian deaths, an increase of 3.4% over 2017, and 857 bicyclist deaths, a 6.3% increase over 2017, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration1. By adding thermal to current sensor suites, the testing showed significant improvement in nighttime and poor visibility scenarios, which accounts for more than 76% of pedestrian deaths.
Thermal cameras can also assist in other applications to make vehicles safer. The commercial trucking industry is exploring the use of rear-facing thermal cameras for an optimized 360-view for improved visibility. Leaders in the autonomous vehicle space are also adopting thermal as part of their sensor suites to fill performance gaps in existing advanced driver assistance systems.
An Extra Set of Eyes in the Car
Finally, with auto manufactures looking towards the future and how they can improve the connection between the vehicle and the driver, their attention is turning to the inside of the vehicle. Thermal cameras, fused with AI and radar, is a viable option used to monitor and predict the movement of the driver to quickly engage the vehicle’s safety features, preventing a possible collision.
There is a clear need to continually improve what transportation looks like as we move into the future. Between FLIR’s intelligent traffic solutions and the thermal technology that is being developed and integrated to help protect drivers, passengers, and other road users, FLIR is leading the way to make our roads and vehicles, safer and smarter.