The intelligent intersection

The intelligent intersection

© Continental AG

CES 2018: Continental contributes Intelligent Intersection Technology to Smart Cities for Safer Roads

  • Comprehensive concept to increase the safety of intersections through sensor-based object detection, fusion, and broadcast, for the purpose of real-time V2X safety applications.
  • Dedicated Short-Range Communication links intersection infrastructure and vehicles to protect against collisions with vulnerable road users and other traffic participants.
  • Columbus (Ohio, USA) – 2016 winner of the U.S. DOT Smart City Challenge – will be the beneficiary of one of the first real-world implementations of the Intelligent Intersection technology.

Las Vegas, NV, December 19, 2017. Intersections and T-junctions are notorious traffic trouble spots. Many accidents, which occur at intersections, are due to human error. Problems such as lack of attention, misjudging the situation, and occluded cars or other vulnerable road users account for many accidents and road fatalities worldwide. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 51 percent of all injury crashes and 28 percent of all fatal crashes in the United States occur at intersections. Technology company Continental is committed to address those horrific statistics with its advanced driver assistance, Vehicle-to-X communications, and sensor technologies to turn today’s dangerous intersections into safer, more intelligent intersections. The technology detects road users within a 360° perimeter of intersections and communicates the position and movement of these objects to all approaching vehicles, which are equipped with V2X technology.

Vehicle-to-X communications and sensor technologies turn today’s dangerous intersections into more safer, intelligent Intersections and protect vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists. © Continental AG

The Continental Intelligent Intersection concept is an end-to-end solution: It comprises the complete sensor set for an intersection, the powerful sensor fusion algorithms which generate the environment model, and the Dedicated Short-Range Communication (DSRC) units, both at the intersection, and in the vehicle. One focus is on protecting vulnerable road users (VRUs) such as pedestrians and cyclists. Another focus is on supporting drivers in complex intersection traffic scenarios like preventing left-turning cars from running head-on into traffic that approaches from behind an occlusion.

The Intelligent Intersection technology was first demonstrated on a test track in October 2017 at Continental’s development center in Brimley, Michigan (MI). The next steps include a broader test roll-out and pilot implementation of the technology at an intersection in the City of Columbus, Ohio.

“We are proud to contribute our Intelligent Intersections technology to a highly innovative city like Columbus as our contribution to the US DOT’s Smart City Challenge,” said Jeremy McClain, Head of Systems & Technology Chassis & Safety, Continental North America. “Our solution is based on transferring and adapting vehicle-proven hardware and software solutions to an infrastructure application. Cities will be able to deploy this technology to increase safety for their citizens and visitors alike. In the longer term the technology can also serve to improve inner-city traffic flow, thereby reducing travel time and vehicle emissions.”

Intelligent intersections reduce the number of accidents due to human error

Sensor-based driver assistance makes driving safer and more comfortable with each step of advancement. However, pedestrians or cyclists, for instance, will only benefit from this technology if they can be detected by vehicle sensors. Often, traffic situations typical at intersections make that difficult. Other vehicles and city infrastructure can easily occlude vulnerable road users and even other vehicles. The underlying challenge is posed by effects like sensor shading and obstruction of view. By bringing vehicle-proven technologies to the infrastructure, Continental is addressing this challenge. “With the Intelligent Intersection technology we offer a new safety element with a perfect fit for future smart cities,” said Bastian Zydek, Project Manager Intelligent Intersection. “The Intelligent Intersection is a showcase of collaborative safety and a further step towards reaching our Vision Zero – our vision of accident-free driving.”“

The intelligent intersection supports drivers in complex intersection traffic scenarios like preventing left-turning cars from running head-on into traffic that approaches from behind an occlusion. © Continental AG

Early warning to the driver makes streets safer

Sensors such as camera, radar and Lidar are positioned at the corners of an intersection. They detect every road user in the area and deliver a list of relevant objects to a sensor fusion unit, which generates a comprehensive 360° environmental model. Relevant objects are then broadcasted via Dedicated Short-Range Communication to every vehicle approaching the intersection. A DSRC control unit in the vehicle receives the messages, then an onboard system checks it for relevance and triggers and appropriate action if a critical situation is recognized. “Active monitoring of intersections provides the driver and/or intelligent vehicle system a very important time advantage to take action, even before a problem would have otherwise become visible”, added Zydek.

According to a study of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) many thousands of accidents in the U.S. alone could be avoided through Intelligent Intersection technologies such as VRU protection and DSRC Intersection Safety Functions. The benefits of the Intelligent Intersection technology for V2X equipped vehicles is that each of those will benefit immediately from the Intersections Safety Functions – already when only a single V2X equipped vehicle enters the Intelligent Intersection - so from the beginning, even at an early phase of V2X penetration: “The cars equipped will help to protect other road users”, said Steffen Linkenbach, Managing Director of Continental Safety Engineering International. Continental will also leverage of that 360° understanding of the traffic situation at intersections and upload such information into its backend. Here Continental will analyze and provide such data as a service enabling for example a better understanding of traffic flow and congestion. “In the future the granular understanding of traffic, like density, distribution of the traffic flow per lane and so on, which results from the Intelligent Intersection technology, can also help to improve the flow of inner-city traffic, supporting drivers and other road users with further new or enhanced services”, added Linkenbach.

Continental at Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2018

The Intelligent Intersection is also a topic at the CES 2018 in Las Vegas. Visit Continental at CES, Tuesday, January 9 through Friday, January 12, at North Hall Booth #6106. The Continental press conference will be held at Mandalay Bay, Level 2, Ballroom A at 10 a.m. on Monday, January 8.


Sören Pinkow

Sören Pinkow External Communications Division Chassis & Safety Phone: +49 69 7603-8492 E-mail: