Guarante the safety of new modes of mobility
In the world of tomorrow's mobility and to prepare future infrastructure technologies, our teams are reinventing road markings.
We make "colors talk" to help autonomous vehicles find their way and create dynamic road markings to improve safety.
Supporting new modes of transport and preparing smart roads markings of the future
In 5 to 10 years, transportation will look completely different. Clouds of smoke, fine particles, nitrogen oxides and other pollutants, crowded subways, buses and cars running on diesel or gasoline will be replaced by new vehicles that are increasingly autonomous, intelligent, environmentally friendly and interconnected. Some will drive themselves, without human intervention, such as automated guided vehicles, or AGV.
As a leader in smart materials, we are working alongside many industrial players to develop smart roads markings to enhance the safety and guidance of these autonomous vehicles of the future.
Do you have a project, an idea to develop smart roads markings? Our experts are at your disposal.
Towards smart roads signs
Develop smart roads markings to support autonomous vehicle orientation
A self-driving vehicle, also known as an autonomous car, driver-less car, or robotic car (robo-car), is a vehicle that is capable of traveling without human input.
Self-driving cars use sensors to perceive their surroundings (road markings), such as optical and thermographic cameras, radar, lidar, ultrasound/sonar, GPS and inertial measurement units. Control systems interpret sensory information to create a three-dimensional model of the surroundings. Based on the model, cars identify appropriate navigation paths, and strategies for managing traffic controls (stop signs, etc.) and obstacles.
Nothing is yet set in stone in the field of transport automation: a fully autonomous vehicle (level 5) or a "semi-autonomous" car with various driver-supervised driving assistance systems (level 2+), or a vehicle with delegated driving (level 3). Autonomy in cars is often divided into six levels, according to a system developed by SAE International. The SAE levels can be roughly understood as Level 0 – no automation; Level 1 – hands on/shared control; Level 2 – hands off; Level 3 – eyes off; Level 4 – mind off, and Level 5 – steering wheel optional.
The orientation of these autonomous vehicles is a key issue. Ground roads markings are an essential tool for autonomous vehicles guidance and collision avoidance : they are the rails of the road and, in the case of trains, real "intelligent virtual rails" as demonstrated by the first ART (Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit) experiment conducted in China in 2017.
To develop these new smart roads markings, our teams use molecular engineering to modulate the optical properties of the material to promote detection in the ultra-violet, visible and infra-red (for example 905 nm).
This type of detection enables dialogue with image sensors (cameras, radars, lidars) whose data is processed for pattern recognition (tracks, vehicles, obstacles, signs, roadway boundaries) and orientation of autonomous vehicles or trains.
Create modular signage to prepare for future infrastructure
Until now, roads markings have been passive tools to guide vehicles. With the sensitivity of smart materials, the color of a road marking can become modular, configurable and interactive to communicate.
At OliKrom, we specialize in these smart materials. One of the challenges for our teams is to master this color intelligence to provide information to drivers, to create smart sensors.
For example, temperature, light or humidity can be used to indicate to the drivers the risk of icy roads, overheated tires, the opening or closing of a section of roads, etc.
For the engineers and doctors of our research and development center, this means integrating the notions of event duration (control time scale, number of ON/OFF cycles), choice of colors, implementation, etc.
Secure the use of GPS tools on infrastructure
Despite the deployment of GPS tools, vertical and horizontal road signs remain essential for drivers to ensure safe driving with safe directions.
- Smart road signage provides redundancy to secure the GPS orientation present in many cars or smartphones but whose update is not always reliable.
- A road sign capable of changing color without any connection, without any electricity supply is a secure alternative to GPS systems vulnerable to remote hacking. The change of color in smart materials occurs only when the threshold is crossed. It is a thermodynamic process that acts as a passive solution. It's all in the initial programming of the smart material to present the right triggering threshold.