[Researcher of the Month] Goal to Create a Safe Driving Environment
Professor Park June-young (Department of Transportation and Logistics Engineering, ERICA Campus)
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In an age where humans can rely on machines for assistance in everyday life, an infinite amount of data is interpreted by machines according to our needs. The wonders of technological advancement are developed in light of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In the automobile industry, automation has allowed sensors and algorithms to alert and maneuver vehicles under human supervision. Yet, accidents happen, even with the most cutting-edge technology. Professor Park June-young (Department of Transportation and Logistics Engineering, ERICA Campus) emphasizes the issue of safety in his research on enhancing in-vehicle driving assistance information under a connected vehicle environment.
According to Park, there are various factors that can lead to driving assistance malfunctions. Sensors can be blocked by physical objects, such as heavy rain, dust, insects, and glare from sun rays reflecting off white vehicles, which could become anomalies for vehicle cameras. Although automobile manufacturers research thoroughly to create driving assisting technology, it is impossible to factor all scenarios, added Park. A solution to this problem is Cooperative-Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS), which is a system of information sharing between V to I (vehicle to infrastructure) and V to V (vehicle to vehicle).
“Vehicles must be informed of adjacent infrastructures and should share information between V to V, vehicle to vehicle,” said Park. “Only by constantly sharing information about the number of nearby vehicles and their movements, thus acquiring their driving patterns as data, can technology assist in driving, even if the driver cannot see in front of them or their sensors are down.” Park’s research did not only focus on the driving technology of the future, but also on the driving environment of today. His objective was to develop the driving technology of vehicles, but in a safe way. He calls his vision of autonomous driving "autonomous safety-driving."
Park was part of a four-man team for a period of around three years, most of which was conducted at the University of Central Florida. Park's research focused on creating a stable environment for driving in dangerous situations, especially during fog, which is a big problem in Florida. Heavy rain and fog in the region make it difficult to see even a few meters ahead. In order to create a solution to this problem, Park oversaw the data acquisition of various driver assistance technologies of automobile companies as well as acquiring subjects to participate in test-driving scenarios. With the data acquired, Park and his fellow researchers developed a head-up display (HUD) based on emotional dimensions and design category factors by factoring in safety factors and user preference. HUDs are any transparent display that presents data without requiring users to look away from their usual viewpoints, which in the case of vehicles is usually displayed on the front window.
In 2017, the Korean government announced its goal of achieving partial autonomous driving (with manual overdrive during emergency situations) by 2030. Although Park believes this goal is achievable, he thinks it is impossible without an environment that supports autonomous driving. Park has said that not all cars have autonomy. Regular vehicles and vehicles with assistive driving capacities will have to share roads; thus, in order to coexist in such a shared traffic environment, it is necessary to find anomalies within the system “instead of having a false notion that one will control their surroundings by the car sensor’s readings and drive autonomously.”
“I wish the idea of traffic safety is widespread among people,” said Park. “The future is important, but since people living in the present are also important, I plan on working hard to make today’s traffic environment safe.”
Jung Myung-suk firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Lee Hyeon-seon
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