The way ahead for vehicle safety
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As global traffic volumes increase, so does the need for motorists to be more aware of ever-changing driving situations, and to be able to react appropriately, instinctively and instantly.
To answer the ongoing requirements for increased vehicle safety, many manufacturers have adopted Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS).
Many new cars are adopting these features, which will, in turn, flow down into the used car market. If you have a car that features ADAS functions, it’s important to know what they do and how they may impact your drive so we’ve rounded up 10 of the most common features.
1. Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) senses the presence of a vehicle that may be in the driver’s blind spot, to the rear and side of the vehicle being driven. The warning is normally a visible alert, in the form of a light in the front-door mirror.
2. Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) works in conjunction with the blind spot detection system, warning the driver of approaching cross-traffic when reversing out of a parking place. The warning can be audible and/or visible.
3. Activating Park Assist engages a group of sensors that help the driver to see if a space is large enough to park in. In most cases, it can control the steering while the driver controls the accelerator and brakes. Some systems also control the accelerator and brakes as well as steering.
4. Intelligent Headlamp Control (IHC) uses cameras, steering angle sensors, infra-red LEDs etc, to adapt the illumination range of a vehicle by constantly monitoring its driving mode and traffic situation.
5. If Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) senses that a vehicle is likely to impact an object but the driver has not taken any braking action. The system will issue an audible and or visual alarm. If the driver still does not take action and a collision is imminent, it will apply the brakes automatically.
6. Forward Collision Warning (FCW) is similar to AEB but it issues a warning only, and will not apply any automatic braking.
7. Lane Departure Warning (LDW) monitors a vehicle’s position within its lane. If the vehicle starts to move out of its lane, it provides the driver with a warning that is visual, audible or vibrating.
8. Lane Keep Assist (LKA) is similar to LDW, but as well as giving a warning, it will apply corrective steering or braking to keep the vehicle in its lane.
9. Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) allows drivers to set the desired speed and distance to be maintained between their vehicle and the one in front. The system then monitors and maintains the distance by regulating the throttle and, if necessary, applying the brakes. It will resume the pre-set speed once the detected risk has gone.
10. Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR) works off a camera that reads and displays speed limit signs and “no overtaking” signs, so the driver is made aware of the command even if he or she failed to notice the sign. The system is informative only and does not take corrective action to reduce the vehicle’s speed.
There are three main sensor types used in ADAS systems that provide information allowing complex software and algorithms to assess the situation, and decide whether to take any necessary preventative action.
● Lidar is a short-range light detection sensor that employs a laser to measure distances, and can be used for city safe, urban systems such as AEB and FCW.
● Radar sensors use radio detection and can be short and long range although these days both are used to support systems such as ACC, AEB, FCW, BSM and RCTA. A single system such as ACC may use a combination of short- and long-range radar by cross-referencing separate detections to produce secure and confident responsive actions.
● Cameras can be used in mono (single) or stereo (double) form in the following systems: AEB, FCW, LDW, LKA, Intelligent Headlamp Control, and Traffic Sign Recognition.
Safety advancement is also necessary to maintain a vehicle’s five-star ANCAP safety rating, as the electrics are packed full of smart technology designed to keep motorists and other road users and pedestrians safe, and ultimately prevent road accidents. To keep these systems operating efficiently, the sensors must be able to detect objects around them, so passing your vehicle through a carwash may need to become a more regular pastime.