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Virtual reality and simulation as a tool to investigate the safety of future mobility scenarios: opportunities and limitations in applied research
August 15, 2022 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Traffic accidents are among the leading causes of death for people aged 5–35 worldwide, causing transport externalities and thus unsustainability. At the same time, the introduction of almost fully connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) (levels 3–4 of SAE) is already a reality. Although CAVs go in the direction of smart mobility, their sustainability is still questionable because their deployment in open traffic introduces unexplored risks. Indeed, while technological progress is rapidly being pursued, there remain significant issues related to the development and integration of CAVs with physical and digital infrastructure and to their user acceptance on shared roads. The main reason is a general perception that they are not safe and thus may introduce inequality. In this context, neither the actual accident-based nor proactive methods for road safety analysis can be applied when CAVs interact with conventional users. This is primarily due to the lack of knowledge about the influence of the digital and physical infrastructure in the interactions among vehicles in mixed traffic conditions. In this framework, the use of simulation and virtual reality, combined with validation on real world scale, represents the only approach to provide the basis for new computational methods for infrastructure safety assessment in future mobility scenarios based on a rigorous scientific approach. The use of simulation at different levels combined with new Surrogate Measures of Safety (SMoS) can address the problem of the safety evaluation of the interaction between conventional vehicles and CAVs. The seminar will present how virtual reality and simulation are being used as a tool to replace naturalistic observations in the real-world and their pros and cons, in three different research projects on CAVs safety among which is a European Research Council Grant.
Dr. Carmelo D’Agostino, a Senior Lecturer of Transport Engineering at Lund University (Sweden), has consolidated and international recognized experience in modeling the relationship between safety and road characteristics, and in the development and application of these models for assessing the safety of roads and the safety effects of design and management decisions.Carmelo’s research interest is going towards how to evaluate safety in new mobility scenarios. On this topic, Carmelo has been recently awarded with a European Research Council Grant with a project proposal related to the development of new scientific method to evaluate the effects of infrastructure on the interaction of connected and automated vehicles and conventional road users.