VW Partners with Coodriver to Protect Children Near Roads

Children are entropic little bags of unpredictability filled with sorrow that’s just waiting to spill out. And for that reason, they can’t be trusted around roads. They just don’t understand traffic. Volkswagen, therefore, is partnering with Coodriver GmbH to integrate an app into its vehicles that will warn drivers about children before they dart out into the road.

The app is called Schutzranzen (protection satchel) and is be free to download. Once children have downloaded the app to their smartphone (or wear a GPS device) their location—in encrypted form—is made visible to cars with the app. It then calculates how far away the child is, and if it’s too close the driver is warned.

“Interconnecting with the environment will in future improve the safety of all road users,” says Dr. Volkmar Tanneberger, head of Electrical and Electronic  Development for the Volkswagen brand. “Thus the ‘Schutzranzen’ app is a further building block in future intelligent environment monitoring technologies. Moreover, the theme of ‘children’ is very important to us, because we can now better identify and protect the most vulnerable people on the roads.”

Volkswagen and Coodriver will be integrating Schutzranzen into the display and operating system of coming VWs. This is only the latest of VW’s efforts be on the leading edge of automotive safety.

Volkswagen’s next move is, reportedly, to convince deer to use smartphones so they, too, can use Schutzranzen. So far, though, the hooves have been a challenge.

Read the full press release below:

Volkswagen has signed a strategic partnership with Coodriver GmbH. The focus of the cooperation is the “Schutzranzen” (protection satchel) app that will help motorists to see children on the road in time to avoid dangerous situations. The new application will be integrated into the display and operating system of new Volkswagen models in future.

A child suddenly runs out from between two parked vehicles onto the road, right in front of an oncoming car. This is a nightmare scenario for any driver. Young children in particular are frequently unaware of the dangers of traffic and are therefore victims of road accidents. The “Schutzranzen” vehicle app aims to avoid such accidents involving children in future by alerting the driver in time about hazardous situations visually and/or audibly. The two project partners, Volkswagen AG and Coodriver GmbH, a cloud-based application service provider for traffic safety have decided to work together on this.

Dr Volkmar Tanneberger, Head of Electrical and Electronic Development of the Volkswagen brand, comments: “Interconnecting with the environment will in future improve the safety of all road users. Thus the “Schutzranzen” app is a further building block in future intelligent environment monitoring technologies. Moreover, the theme of “children” is very important to us, because we can now better identify and protect the most vulnerable people on the roads.” In the medium term, Volkswagen AG and Coodriver GmbH will be jointly developing a technology that fully integrates “Schutzranzen” into the display and operating system of the vehicle.

Once children have downloaded the app on their own smartphone, it sends their current position to the Coodriver cloud. Children who do not have a smartphone can send the signal to vehicles via a GPS transmitter integrated in their satchel. This tracker is offered free of charge by Coodriver GmbH. The position of the child and of the driver is determined by the system and transmitted in encrypted form to the cloud. The cloud server calculates the required safety distance between the child and vehicle. If it falls below a certain level, a visual and audible signal integrated in the car app warns drivers about children on the roadside. And that happens long before the driver is even able to see an approaching schoolchild. This gives drivers enough warning to be able to brake in time.