The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Vehicle Electronics Evolving to Networked Driver Assistance Systems

May 24, 2005

FLAT ROCK, MI — During a driving event at its proving grounds in Flat Rock, Mich. on May 20, the Robert Bosch Corp. showed that giving independent vehicle electronics the ability to interact offers a more comprehensive image of the vehicle's environment, which in turn results in more reliable information and the potential to react to dangerous driving situations at an early stage. Many of these new functions are based on the networking of sensors that already exist within the vehicle. "The ability to use existing vehicle technologies in new and innovative ways benefits automakers and consumers," said Dave Robinson, president, electrical and electronics division, Robert Bosch Corp. "For consumers, it provides enhanced safety and convenience features, and for the automakers, it helps manage costs." During the technology demonstration on May 20, Bosch showed several future technologies that represent this transition, including ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control) full speed range, predictive safety systems and lane departure warning, as well as technologies available today, such as roll over mitigation and trailer sway mitigation.

  • ACC full speed range relies on a radar sensor to identify and maintain an appropriate distance from a vehicle that precedes the ACC-equipped vehicle. Driver comfort is improved as the system operates at stop-and-go traffic speeds and can slow the vehicle down to a standstill.
  • Predictive safety systems use the sensors and electronic control unit from adaptive cruise control (ACC) to recognize emergency braking situations. Predictive safety systems function in three key stages. First, the brake system prepares for emergency braking by placing the braking pads on the brake discs as a matter of precaution, and setting the hydraulic brake assistant into a state of "alert." In the second stage, the driver receives a warning through a noticeable brake jerk that an emergency situation is imminent. In the last stage, when a collision is unavoidable, automatic braking occurs with maximum deceleration to reduce the severity of the accident.
  • Lane departure warning relies on a front-end camera to identify the road's boundaries and ensure the driver stays within the lane. If the vehicle unintentionally strays from the lane, the system intervenes and alerts the driver. Video sensors will play an important role in driver assistance systems because of their ability to interpret visual information and apply it in an active way.
  • Rollover mitigation (ROM) utilizes existing electronic stability control (ESC) sensors. ROM helps to reduce a vehicle's rollover risk by determining when a vehicle is experiencing extreme lateral tire force, and activating to reduce those forces when necessary. This is accomplished through a series of events, beginning with the braking of the outer front wheel.
  • Similar to ROM, trailer sway mitigation (TSM) also relies on existing ESC sensors. TSM uses a special algorithm to detect trailer sway during a towing situation. To eliminate the motion, the vehicle's brakes are precisely applied through active brake pressure control, helping the driver maintain control even in critical situations.

    "Forecasts indicate driver assistance systems will likely exceed $1.3 billion worldwide by the end of the decade," said Robinson. "The U.S. will be a significant region for this growth."

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