Audi will begin testing the technology this spring.
Audi's clever cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) communication technology is making roads safer. The technology has many benefits such as predicting when traffic lights will turn green and warning drivers to slow down for active construction zones.
Now, Audi is working with Applied Information and Temple Inc. and school bus manufacturer Blue Bird Corporation to develop C-V2X technologies that can communicate with cars around school buses and active school zones to help keep children safe. The C-V2X technology will initially be tested in Fulton County School District in Georgia this spring using a Blue Bird propane-powered school bus and a 2021 Audi e-tron Sportback.
Using instrument displays and audio alerts, the C-V2X technology will warn the driver when they are approaching an active school safety zone or are driving over the speed limit when children are around. It will also warn the driver when they are approaching a stopped school bus. In this application, onboard units are being developed that allow school buses to talk to cars equipped with C-V2X when the bus stop arm is extended, to tell drivers they aren't allowed to pass.
Safety beacons with flashing lights warning drivers to slow down in school zones will be fitted with C-V2X technology that can communicate the school location and reduced speed limit to vehicles. It can also adapt the speed limit accordingly if school times change such as half school days and early dismissals for weather.
Car and pedestrian accidents during schooltime account for around 25,000 injuries every year. Audi believes the technology will help prevent accidents in school zones and when children are picked up or dropped off at a bus stop. It aims to complete the project in the first half of 2021, but hasn't announced when it will be rolled out for public use.
"It is with huge passion that we hope to use C-V2X technologies to help improve the safety of school zones for our children," said Pom Malhotra, senior director of Connected Services at Audi of America. "With our partners, we aim to leverage C-V2X technologies to find viable applications and business models to fast-forward innovative technologies in Audi vehicles in the very near future and benefit all road users - especially those most vulnerable: school children."