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.
So how does this affect those people driving older cars who can't afford buying driver assistance systems? Another thought: what research has been done regarding the effects of all this radar on people's health? There are already questions about the effects of RF from cellphones. I would think this would have just as much effect or more!
DrQuine, well put. I do wonder about the same thing. I am not saying decisions by a driver are always the safest. But what happens what a driver was intending to do was different from what a car wants to do? Who trumps whom?
When I learned to drive, there were about 45,000 motor vehicle fatalities per year, at a rate of 3.25 fatalities per 100 million miles driven in the US. In 2010, there were 33,000 total deaths for a rate of 1.11 per 100 million miles driven.
The two vehicles I drive both have excellent visibility - because that's one of my key criteria. They also have 150,000 and 180,000 miles on them and are still going strong. I'll take that over older cars any day.
Now, I would not want to lose the freedom to drive, should I want to, but I would welcome the freedom to make the choice to drive or sit back and be driven. I'd also welcome to freedom from the risk of being crunched by drunk, careless or unskilled drivers.
Give us all active collision avoidance and I expect that we'll be safer on the highway at 120 mph than we are now at 60. I'd like the freedom to drive 120, or be driven at 120.
Some accidents waiting to happen have multiple "solutions". I'm wondering what happens when the automatic accident avoidance system implements plan "A" as I'm implementing plan "B". Years ago as anti-lock brakes were being introduced, many of us got at cross purposes with the accident avoidance systems. Driving an unfamiliar (rental) car and pumping the brakes at the same time that the anti-skid system was pumping the brakes meant we both lost. I'm more worried about steering strategies that differ or the car deciding to accelerate around a problem while I'm planning to stop quickly. Even if my approach takes priority, the automated system has started me down the wrong path.
I cannot fathom why anyone would be comfortable with all this "drive-by-wire" in their vehicle. What ever happened to true driver training and education? Today's version is so watered down by litigation happy attorneys that we are raising a bunch of airheads behind the wheel. I would much prefer to drive a vehicle without deadly/injurious airbags, "5 mph bumpers", anti-lock brakes, DRLs, and visibility reducing beltlines, etc. Today's cars are just overpriced pieces of crap. And hybrids/e vehicles are at the bottom of the pile with their huge initial carbon footprint and pollution footprint from lithium mining, as well as the ensuing end-of-life battery problem. Sorry, but I just cannot embrace this encroachment on my freedom.
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