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Audi reveals initiative to make urban driving safer with four US universities

Audi has announced a three-year initiative with four major USA universities to make urban driving safer. Dubbed ‘Audi Urban Intelligent Assist’ (AUIA), the aim of the program is to take connected car, driver assistance and infrastructure electronics to the next level of providing detailed information, so that motorists have a better sense of the driving conditions surrounding them. The universities involved in the AUIA initiative include the University of Southern California, University of California at Berkeley, University of California at San Diego and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI).

Audi has stated that there is a pressing need to focus on driving in urban centers, as a result of the recent population explosions. According to Audi, in the USA, urban populations have increased to about 85% of the country’s total, which translates into expanding but denser cities and megacities. The German car-maker has signed an agreement with the four research universities, each with expertise to pursue a number of specific topics including ‘Urban Crash Analysis’. UMTRI will conduct a study using extensive accident databases, with the aim of finding ‘accident hot-spots’ in urban centers. The idea is to understand what scenarios in urban driving environments pose the higher threats and difficulties for drivers, leading to a higher number of accidents.

UC Berkeley PATH will handle ‘Urban Diagnostic’, which focuses on getting and aggregating historic and real-time urban data from multiple sources to support the overall goal of the initiative. This data will include local vehicle and pedestrian information from onboard vehicle sensors for local awareness, as well as aggregated traffic and traffic controlling information, in order to get an up to the minute snapshot of the city.

UC San Diego is responsible for ‘Driver Diagnostics’, focusing on understanding the driver and their preferences, and tailoring the urban driving experience to fit the personal needs of each Audi customer. The major research questions are to determine what aspects of urban mobility distract and stress individual drivers, and what kind of metrics can be used in order to support and assist each user;

USC, in collaboration with UC San Diego and UC Berkeley PATH, will deal with ‘Urban Assistance’, which involves finding the correct way to bring relevant urban information to the driver, minimizing distraction, information overload and stress. The research focus is on determining critical information in urban situations and then finding the correct medium to convey this information to the driver. USC is also handling ‘Urban Navigation’, which will use urban information collected from multiple on and off board sources to predict how the city flows through the day, using the information in combination with the driver diagnostic information, to generate the most comfortable and efficient route for each driver.
 

January 20, 2011

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