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Australian engineers develop system to prevent driveway deaths
By Mike Costello, CarAdvice.com.au • 18/12/2014
A team of Melbourne-based Bosch engineers have designed a new reverse auto-braking system designed to prevent driveway accidents and deaths that it hopes will rollout within two years.
The system is called Back Over Avoidance, and it works by applying radar and ultrasonic sensors to detect a small object behind a reversing car — such as a child — and apply the car’s brakes automatically.
Furthermore, Bosch claims the system is able to distinguish between “ground objects” and people to determine whether or not the vehicle should automatically brake. The point at which the brakes are applied is calibrated to the vehicle so it brakes as late as possible, minimising interventions.
There’s a strong Australian connection, given the system was both designed and developed by Bosch engineers in Melbourne, with the support of a grant from the Victorian and federal governments' Automotive New Markets Program.
Bosch cites statistics that say, tragically, 50 children are killed or seriously injured on Australian driveways each year, while that figure in the US climbs to 15,000.
As it points out, backover deaths can be attributed to a number of things: children can be hard to see through the rear window via the rear-view mirror, while children’s movements can also be unpredictable around moving vehicles.
The increasing standardisation of reversing cameras on affordable vehicles has no doubt helped here, but automated braking systems of this type are a logical next step.
Similar systems do exist. For example, Infiniti has a back-up collision system in its arsenal. But with Bosch acting as a key technology supplier to a large number of automative brands worldwide, the prospect of increased proliferation is great.
Indeed, the company is in talks with Australian and overseas vehicle manufacturers for inclusion in future vehicles, and hopes we might see it on local roads inside two years.
Bosch Australia President Gavin Smith called the development of Back Over Avoidance technology “a huge step forward in preventing driveway fatalities and injuries”.
“The Back Over Avoidance system has been a major project over the last 18 months for the Bosch Australia Automotive safety team and we are extremely proud of this innovation,“ he said.
Robert Bosch (Australia) Pty Ltd is a regional subsidiary and part of the massive global Bosch Group, and has had a presence here since 1907. It employed more that 1300 people in Melbourne and Sydney in 2012.