PORTLAND, Ore.--Active collision avoidance systems will eventually be built into every vehicle, according to Freescale Semiconductor, which also predicts that drivers are only getting a taste of the totally driverless options slated for adoption circa 2020. For this decade, however, active collision avoidance--today available only on luxury models--will slowly become the norm, according to Freescale, which has a new chip set to make the transition smoother.
The market could eventually include every vehicle worldwide. In fact the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is currently soliciting public comment to adding crash-avoidance ratings to its current five-star evaluations by 2015. The European version of NHTSA has already announced that it will mandate crash-avoidance systems in its five-star rating system starting in 2014. Insurance providers are on-board too, saying that cars with Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) report 27 percent fewer rear-end collisions and 14 percent fewer front-end collisions, along with a combined reduction in injuries. And that's just from the luxury models with radar today.
"Today active-radar systems are proven to increase safety, but are quite expensive. Also the size of their boards is too large for use all around the car--two challenges to using radar more commonly in vehicles." said Mark O'Donnell, a senior product manager at Freescale. "Freescale's new chip set addresses both these challenges with a solution that watches all around the vehicle and is inexpensive enough that vehicle manufacturers can offer radar across their whole vehicle lineup--not just the premium line cars."
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Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) today watch the road ahead and behind, preforming routine tasks like cruise control and parking assistance most of the time, but during emergencies can actively brake or steer to avoid a collision. ADAS requires both a foolproof radar range finder and reliable intelligent algorithms that can ascertain active control braking and steering tactics to avoid accidents.