Škoda Develops Pedestrian Warning Grille

Czech automaker Škoda is working on a grille mounted redlight, greenlight warning system to give pedestrians a visual alert to the proximity of the vehicle.

The system, clearly aimed at the rising numbers of ‘silent’ BEVs on the road, aims to help pedestrians to better know when it’s safe to cross the road. The technology is as part of a wider trial scheme looking to make roads safer for children, senior citizens and people with disabilities.

Currently the system is being trialed on a Škoda Enyaq iV whose backlit Crystal Face grille has been replaced with a body featuring LED strip holders. These programmable LEDs can also be controlled separately, making it possible to create unique animations.

When the car approaches a pedestrian crossing, it can warn those waiting to cross in advance that it has spotted them. It then stops and displays green arrows, for example, to tell them it’s safe to cross. Once they have crossed, and the car is about to set off, it can display a different signal to warn pedestrians that the car is moving. In more extreme examples, a car approaching the crossing that is unable to stop can send out a clear signal to pedestrians not to cross.

The symbols currently being tested include green arrows and a green person, plus a warning triangle or a red triangle with a cross, symbols that are widely recognizable. Škoda is hoping to help reduce the instances of pedestrian/vehicle collisions that are thought to become more prevalent in the electrified era of quieter vehicles.

Also included as part of a wider trial is a robotic rover called IPA2X, which has been designed to help children, seniors and people with disabilities cross the road safely. Experts from the Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics at the Czech Technical University in Prague (CIIRC), the Technical University of Munich and Škoda have been working together to develop this smart assistant, alongside the signaling radiator grille.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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