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For parents, nothing is more prevalent than the thought of keeping their children safe. With the addition of everything 2020 has thrown into the mix, considering precautions to protect school-aged children is top of mind. Audi is stepping into the mix by offering a much-needed solution in an area vehicles have lacked in the past.

The auto industry has focused on how to keep children safe inside a vehicle for decades. These measures have ranged from the LATCH system for car seats to driver-assistance technologies innovations, such as Hyundai’s safe exit assist. Now, Audi is working to take the next step – by protecting kids outside of the vehicle.

Audi’s latest tests indicate a safer future

A blue 2020 Audi e-tron driving down a city street
A 2020 Audi e-tron driving in a city | Photo via Audi

Audi of America announced its latest safety project via a press release. The manufacturer and its tech partners will test its two latest child-protection applications in Alpharetta, Ga. The trial, which Audi expects to complete in the first half of 2021, will utilize a modified Audi e-tron with C-V2X technologies. It’s no surprise that Audi chose this model to test its new connected technology. The e-tron is a top contender to other forward-thinking models like the Tesla Model X.

“Using next-generation cellular technology, we have an opportunity to help save lives of some of the most vulnerable road users — school children,” said Pom Malhotra, director of Connected Services at Audi of America via the press release. “We’re proud to work with Applied Information and Temple to help make our roads safer. Around the country, Audi continues to take a leading role, working with partners in communities to show how C-V2X and the 5.9 GHz band can help reduce traffic hazards and improve congestion management when these technologies become ubiquitous.”

What are these two innovations, and how might they help protect young lives? Let’s take a closer look at these futuristic safety systems.

How are connected services being used to protect kids?

A school bus driving past a school zone safety beacon
A school zone safety beacon | Photo via Audi

Have you ever been ticketed for speeding in a school zone? Or perhaps you didn’t notice a school bus dropping off children along the side of the road, resulting in you slamming your brakes. Audi realizes these instances occur much too often, which is why its latest innovations aim to alert drivers of when schoolchildren are present.

How does this work? First, we must understand C-V2X technologies to comprehend these new safety systems. C-V2X, or cellular vehicle-to-everything, works to transmit and receive data via a cellular network. This allows a vehicle to virtually interact and share information with infrastructures.

Audi’s first innovation will use this technology to alert drivers of an upcoming active school zone. This will help ensure the motorist is obeying the speed limit and remain aware of any present children. This is accomplished by the C-V2X system inside the vehicle picking up a signal broadcast by activated roadside units placed inside school zone safety beacons. This system is even programmed to account for varying times, including half-days and early dismissals. 

The second system works in a similar fashion. School buses outfitted with onboard units on the bus stop arm transmit a safety message to C-V2X-equipped vehicles. This indicates that the driver should not pass the school bus, as it is dropping off or picking up children at a bus stop.

When can you buy an Audi with these child-protection technologies?

Considering Audi is still in the testing phase, don’t expect to see these connected services in your vehicle or your city for quite some time. This innovative solution is a giant step forward in the effort to protect kids in every way possible. However, this will take extraordinary planning to work with cities to set up the necessary infrastructure in school safety beacons and school buses.
While the latest advancements could be years away, Audi vehicles are still very child-friendly. For instance, the 2020 e-tron is incredibly safe, which could make it the right choice for your family.


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