Keeping intersections safe with QNX

The incident occurred more than 20 years ago, but I'm still ****ed off about it. My wife had just stepped into an intersection when, suddenly, a car came screaming around the corner. It missed her by inches. The driver, in his infinite wisdom, had decided to run a red light, without checking to see whether any pedestrians or vehicles were nearby.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

My wife narrowly missed becoming a statistic. Not everyone is so lucky. In fact, accidents at intersections account for 30% of vehicle crashes in the US. These accidents contribute to 50% of all traffic injuries and 25% of all traffic fatalities.

Still, it would be misleading to suggest that careless, arrogant drivers cause the majority of intersection accidents. Studies indicate that, in many cases, drivers simply misjudge gaps in traffic. For instance, a driver sees an oncoming vehicle, but miscalculates how fast it is approaching. Seconds later, passersby are calling 9-1-1.

Enter the Minnesota Rural Intersection Decision Support system (IDS) system. Designed by experts from the University of Minnesota, this QNX-controlled system aims to reduce accidents by providing drivers at rural intersections with better information about oncoming traffic.

To determine the state of an intersection, the IDS relies on several subsystems, including radar sensors, laser scanners, and a communications subsystem. It then uses a “driver interface” to display the information to drivers.

The designers chose the QNX Neutrino RTOS to control several of the system’s components, including the radar stations, the lidar stations, and the main controller computer.

To learn more about the IDS, click here.

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