ASCT LAAS News 970x485
Fraunhofer FOKUS supports reliable collision warnings with its highly accurate localization for a stress-free cooperation on the road Philipp Plum/ Fraunhofer FOKUS

“Location-as-a Service” supports safety and inclusion in urban traffic

News from Sep. 28, 2021

To warn drivers of a collision with a cyclist, an e-scooter rider of road damage, or to guide a blind person to the right government office or the bus door, highly accurate localization is always of fundamental importance. Fraunhofer FOKUS will be presenting its “Location-as-a-Service” at the ITS World Congress in Hamburg from October 11 to 15, 2021, at the “Reallabor Hamburg” project booth in Hall B2.

Traffic in the city is diverse: people travel by car, public transport, bicycle, e-scooter and on foot. In the near future, however, only cars and the traffic infrastructure, such as traffic lights and signs, will be digitally connected via vehicle-to-x communication. Of all people with an increased risk of injury, “Vulnerable Road Users” (VRU), who travel on foot, by bike or e-scooter, will be left out. The highly accurate localization “Location-as-a-Service” (LaaS) from Fraunhofer FOKUS contributes to the interconnection of these road users with others. Only if the exact position of a VRU is known can drivers be reliably warned of an impending collision and vice versa.

Locating a person on a bicycle is particularly challenging: The smartphone with the necessary sensor data is sometimes attached to the handlebars, frequently changing direction, and sometimes in a jacket pocket or backpack. In the case of cars, they're also usually certain to be on the road. Cyclists are mostly on the bicycle path or the street, and occasionally on the footpath.

To make the GPS signal more precise, the Fraunhofer FOKUS team uses the car's sensor data, e.g. the video camera or, in the case of automated cars, the lidar, as well as the sensor data from the VRU's smartphones. In addition, the GPS data of the people in the vicinity are compared with a digital map. In this way, implausible results, e.g. a cyclist driving through a house, can be corrected and the positions of the others can be made more precise, since the current GPS error is almost identical within a radius of several hundred meters. In this way, an accuracy of less than one meter can be achieved. For data protection, user data is anonymized in LaaS.

Dr. Ilja Radusch, director of the Smart Mobility business unit at Fraunhofer FOKUS, explains: “With LaaS, we want to increase the safety of VRU, thus making people more inclined to ride a bicycle or go for a walk in the city and thereby contributing to more climate-friendly urban traffic. We see ourselves as a technological enabler in the digitalization of the road. Developers from the mobility industry can intuitively integrate our highly accurate localization in the form of a software development kit into their app.”

In the “Reallabor Hamburg” project, Fraunhofer FOKUS is working with industry partners on solutions for VRU, such as collision warning, and is further developing LaaS for this purpose.

The Fraunhofer FOKUS research team already has many years of experience with highly accurate localization, with a focus on inclusion: The smartphone-based indoor navigation system everGuide from Fraunhofer FOKUS guides so precisely in buildings that even blind people can rely on it. The system is already in use at the House of Health and Family in Berlin and at the Foreigners' Office in Cologne.

In the Ride4All project, high-precision localization from Fraunhofer FOKUS helps visually impaired people board an automated bus. The localization is integrated into a public transport app that allows a visually impaired person to navigate directly to the bus door without the help of others.

At the ITS World Congress:

  • Visit the booth of the “Reallabor Hamburg” project in hall B2
  • Discuss with our Smart Mobility expert Dr. Ilja Radusch at the ITS World Congress in the session “SIS 3 Integration of VRU services into C-ITS: experiences from cities”:
    Monday, October 11, 2021 from 9:00 am to 10:30 am in Hall B4, Room 3.
  • Visit the Ride4All project at the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) booth in Hall B4 on October 14 or 15.