Exit warning technologies warn vehicle occupants when a vehicle or bicycle is approaching from behind. Some systems may prevent vehicle occupants from opening car doors.
This project aims to evaluate the performance and limitations of some of the exit warning features currently available on the market.
In order to evaluate exit warning systems, Transport Canada conducts testing at a closed-track facility. Having a state-of-the-art test site allows testing to be conducted safely using motorized dummy cars and cyclists. Test scenarios are developed to target the functionalities of the systems to better understand their performance. For instance, in studying these systems, the goal is to record the timing of the alerts to the driver and how much time this provides occupants to make a sound decision about opening their door. Understanding the timing of warnings is critical to assessing the effectiveness of the system’s ability to mitigate the risk of dooring incidents. Testing was designed to understand how and when the systems are activated, and how warnings are affected by obstructions to the sensors. Parameters such as cyclist and vehicle speed, distance of objects at warnings and environmental parameters were recorded.
Since no standard method existed for testing this technology when the work was initiated, a test protocol was developed by the Transport Canada Innovation Centre based on previous experience and the operational design domain (ODD) of the vehicle was studied. The ODD defines the intended usage of the system and how it is designed to operate, alert, and warn the driver to mitigate the risk of injuries to other road users. In summer 2019, Transport Canada conducted a series of tests on a first vehicle to validate approach. The proposed test protocol was used on a second vehicle during the summer of 2021.
Additionally, in winter 2021, Transport Canada evaluated an exit warning system on school buses. The system is designed to alert the driver and students exiting the bus of an illegal passing while the bus is stopped and the lights are flashing.
Data and lessons learned
Testing of the school bus exit warning system found that the system worked in all weather conditions tested, and warnings were provided at least two seconds prior to collision.
Additional data and lessons learned will be provided once findings from the project become available.
Tests on the exit warning systems are now complete. The next step is to put the results together and compare the systems. Results and analyses from the tests will serve to better evaluate upcoming systems available on the market.