Mobility for all – and long into old age – has become an essential guideline for mobility policy-making in the European Union. But despite improvements in road safety over time, pedestrian fatalities and serious injuries remain high and are declining more slowly than with other means of transport.
In Slovenia, in the last five years (2017-2021), there were 2776 road accidents involving pedestrians, of which one-fifth were at a pedestrian crossing. Two-thirds of these accidents affected children or the elderly. The most common reason was a failure to yield the right of way to a pedestrian, for example, due to inappropriate speed or lack of visibility of the pedestrian.
AV Living Lab wants to follow the EU’s bold goal of achieving a “Zero-accident society” and bring it to Slovenia. We have joined a consortium led by the Technical University of Munich with the cities of Milan and Modena as partners, as well as Škoda, the Technical University of Prague and Evidence, Lifetouch, and Hipert.
The IPA2X (Intelligent pedestrian assistant to everyone) robot will be the first assistant to help pedestrians cross the road at pedestrian crossings without traffic lights.
In addition to the cities of Milan and Modena, AV Living Lab will carry out a pilot in Ljubljana’s BTC City, which has transformed over the years into an advanced ecosystem for testing new mobility solutions. In Ljubljana, we will involve the elderly, while in Modena and Milan, we will involve school children.
“Before fully autonomous vehicles take to our roads to improve the safety of all road users, we can improve safety in different ways. For example, in driving simulators, or by using robotic assistants to help the most vulnerable cross the road,” points out Blaž Vukelić, IPA2X project coordinator at AV Living Lab.
The technology partners highlight real-time response as the biggest challenge of the project. The robot will use sensors that will assess the movement of vehicles and pedestrians and assess when it is safe enough to cross the road.
The AV Living Lab will test the IPA2X robot in BTC City Ljubljana in the autumn and, through feedback from participants, assess its applicability to cities around the world looking to improve pedestrian safety. Blaž Vukelić stressed that AV Living Lab sees the value of technology in how people adopt and use it. “This is, after all, the added value we offer to developers of mobility technologies by testing new technologies in a real-world environment at the AV Living Lab.”
The IPA2X project is funded by the EU and the EIT Urban Mobility, which invests in future mobility technologies.
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