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IPA2X Robotic Rover: A Smart Solution for Safe Pedestrian Crossing

The IPA2X robotic rover is a novel invention developed by a collaboration of experts from the Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics at the Czech Technical University in Prague, the Technical University of Munich, and Škoda. The primary objective of the robot is to assist children, seniors, and people with disabilities in crossing the road safely. This article delves into the details of this innovative technology, its features, and potential benefits.

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Pedestrian safety is a critical issue in urban mobility, and the IPA2X robot aims to address this challenge by providing a smart solution. The robot is over two meters tall and looks like a mobile traffic light. It is equipped with sensors located at a height of two meters, enabling it to see over a line of parked cars. The IPA2X robotic rover will help pedestrians and approaching drivers to cross the road safely.

Smart Features

The IPA2X robot has several smart features that make it stand out as a unique solution to pedestrian safety. The robot is designed to make its way to the middle of the pedestrian crossing, where it displays a green light, indicating that pedestrians can cross. It monitors its surroundings and can detect when a car is approaching the crossing. It then shows the approaching driver a stop sign and sends a warning to the car itself, which is displayed as an animation on the infotainment display. When people have crossed the road, the robot goes back to the kerb, and the warning on the dashboard disappears.

Signalling Grille for Cars

An exciting innovation developed by Škoda is the signalling grille on the front of the car, allowing it to communicate with its surroundings. This grille has built-in LED strips that display pictograms and entire animations. Škoda has made a new body with LED strip holders, and the LEDs are programmable, with each one controlled separately, making it possible to create animations. The grille is capable of displaying green arrows, a green figure of a man, the colours we’re all used to from traffic lights, a warning triangle, or a red triangle with a cross, which are symbols that everyone understands.

Testing and Potential Benefits

The IPA2X robot has been tested in three European cities: Milan, Modena, and Ljubljana, near schools and senior citizens. The tests showed that the robot is a useful and effective tool for pedestrian safety. The project has the additional benefit of reducing noise and pollution and cutting costs, as it does away with the need for humans to officiate at pedestrian crossings.

Feedback from Children

During the testing phase, the developers received valuable feedback from Italian schoolchildren. They found it strange that the robot did not talk, that it did not have arms, or that it moved too slowly. The children’s suggestions are valuable and can help improve the robot, making it more user-friendly and effective in assisting pedestrians.

The IPA2X robotic rover is a smart solution to the problem of pedestrian safety. Its innovative features, such as the signalling grille for cars and its ability to communicate with pedestrians and drivers, make it a valuable tool for urban mobility. It reduces the need for human traffic officials, reducing costs, and increasing safety. The robot has undergone testing and received positive feedback, with potential deployment on the streets by 2025. The IPA2X robot is a step towards making cities safer and more accessible for everyone.

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