Under the MobiWise project, two research groups (Radio Systems and Network Architectures and Protocols) from IT in Aveiro, joined forces in order to boost crosswalk awareness. The initial goal was to develop a sensor without battery that would increase the safety of citizens, pedestrians and drivers in the crosswalks. A sensor, placed near the crosswalk entrance, would detect when someone wants to cross it and transmit this information to the cars driving on that direction.
To accomplish this, we needed to put together different areas of knowledge and integrate them in a unique solution. The development involved concepts of energy harvesting, backscatter communications and vehicular networks.
In order to power the sensor, a matrix of piezoelectric materials was developed and placed near the crosswalk. Whenever someone steps on this matrix it generates energy that supplies the sensor. With that energy, the sensor is capable of performing backscatter communication, reflecting and modulating a continue wave transmitted by the Road Side Unit (RSU). After receiving the modulated wave, the RSU forwards this information to the vehicles that have high probability of traversing the crosswalk.
At this moment, this information arrives to the driver by the means of a mobile phone, however such information can be integrated in the vehicle’s Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) or even used by autonomous vehicles without interference or awareness of the driver.