Automotive collision avoidance systems operate under the guiding principle that even if an unavoidable collision is unavoidable, the right remedial measures can reduce the severity of the crash. By reducing the severity of an accident, any damage to property and personal injury or death is also reduced. To do this, collision avoidance systems use various sensors that are capable of detecting unavoidable obstacles in front of a moving vehicle. Depending on the particular system, it may issue a warning to the driver or take any number of direct corrective actions.
Why are car collision avoidance systems being implemented?
Government agencies such as the NHTSA and the European Commission regularly conduct research into new security technologies in addition to third parties. In some cases, compelling evidence is emerging pointing to the potential of new technology to save lives. In other cases, the results are less convincing. Collision avoidance technologies have performed well in controlled studies, and studies conducted by the IIHS have determined that certain collision technologies can have a huge impact on rear impact reduction.
Research in the European Union came to similar conclusions, and vehicle collision avoidance system mandates were handed over by the European Commission in 2011. This regulation set a 2013 deadline for all new commercial vehicles to be equipped with automatic braking systems although automakers have until 2015 to introduce the technology into passenger cars. With that in mind, every major OEM has their own collision avoidance system technologies that are available in both EU and non-EU markets.
How do collision avoidance systems work?
Most automotive collision avoidance systems rely on existing technology. Because these systems require front-facing sensors, they often receive data from the same sensors used by the adaptive cruise control system. Depending on the specific system, these sensors may use radar, lasers, or other methods to map the physical space in front of the vehicle.
When it receives data from the front sensors, the collision avoidance system performs calculations to determine if there are potential obstacles. If the difference in speed between the vehicle and any object in front of it is too great, then the system may be able to perform several different tasks. At this point, the simplest collision avoidance systems issue a warning that we hope will give the driver enough advance warning to slam on the brakes or avoid an obstacle.
In some cases, the collision avoidance system can also pre-charge the brakes in combination with an automatic braking system or a emergency braking . This can provide the driver with significant braking power at the moment he presses the pedal, which can effectively reduce the severity of an accident.
Some automotive collision avoidance systems are also capable of taking direct corrective action. If one of these systems determines that a collision is imminent, it can apply the brakes rather than just pre-charge them. Other systems such as ABS and electronic stability control can also act to prevent the vehicle from skidding, which can help the driver control the vehicle.
In addition to automatic braking, some collision avoidance and collision avoidance systems may also include: