Knowing that as many as 100 deaths and more than 25,000 injuries occur in school zones, Audi, school bus producer Blue Bird and other partners have completed a demonstration of connected technology designed to alert drivers when approaching school buses and school zones.
In its news release, Audi reports that in the demonstration in Alpharetta, Georgia, communications technology connecting vehicles to each other and to the surrounding infrastructure was installed in a school zone and on a Blue Bird bus to alert drivers of a specially equipped 2021 Audi e-tron Sportback with a visual warning and an audible signal to slow down.
“This is especially helpful on curvy or hilly roads where a driver might not be able to see the bus,” Audi reported. “Studies show that stop-arm violations — when a car drives past a stopped school bus illegally — continue to be one of the most significant dangers to children and other vulnerable road users around school buses with an estimated 17 million stop-arm violations in the U.S. in 2019.
Audi noted that the technology could be used because of a Federal Communications Commission ruling in November 2020 allotting a portion of the 5.9 GHz cellular band for vehicle applications.
“The decision paved the way for automakers to deploy standardized messages for vehicles to speak to one another, including the above school zone and bus use cases,” Audi said.
“Moving forward, the partners see significant opportunities to deploy (these) C-V2X systems nationwide so that vehicle manufacturers, companies that create roadside infrastructure, and local authorities can deliver increased road safety that particularly benefits school children.”