2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-08-25 09:36
Volvo has shown the way, now automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection are also available at BMW. The car of the future can also prevent side crashes and, if necessary, drive to the side of the road.
By Sebastian Viehmann
Most chases in Hollywood films work according to the same pattern: the hero tries to shake off his pursuers, but they catch up and try to push him off the street. The hero car is rammed with a crash, tin creaks and splinters fly through the air. In the end, one of the two cars flies spectacularly off the runway and explodes. With the bad guys in a BMW, ramming could be tricky going forward.
Steering impulse to the left
The Fürstenfeldbruck crime scene: A 5 Series and an X5 drive next to each other on the former airport site. Suddenly the X5 pulls to the side - apparently the driver has not looked properly in the rearview mirror - and approaches the sedan dangerously fast. The pilot sees a warning on the instrument panel and at the same time feels a steering impulse to the left in the steering wheel. And the X5 is automatically returned to its lane - for the driver it feels like someone is holding his steering wheel.
"Lateral Collision Avoidance" is what BMW calls its side impact protection of a different kind, which is not yet ready for series production. This is of course also due to the fact that in modern cars with thick B-pillars, sloping rear ends and tinted windows, a look over the shoulder is usually no longer enough to see the side Keeping an eye on traffic. This is how the technology has to work: Ultrasonic sensors monitor the side of the car and trigger a warning if you or others are dangerously below the safety distance to other vehicles.
Further development of the blind spot assistant
The system is a further development of the "bottleneck assistant", which is supposed to guide the driver through narrow motorway construction sites. Depending on the speed, the sensors monitor an area of up to four meters on both sides of the car. The prototype of the system works up to 130 km / h. The side impact warner connects almost seamlessly to the blind spot assistant, which is available from BMW, Audi, Mazda, Ford and many other brands and warns of cars in the blind spot.
"The strength of the steering torque is comparable to driving over a ridge, the driver can override it at any time," says system developer Thorsten Tronnier. With the steering impulse, the driver gains "precisely those tenths of a second that can prevent an accident," says Tronnier. The abundance of sensors in modern cars in conjunction with electromechanical power steering makes even more possible.
Emergency braking system with pedestrian detection
The ACC adaptive cruise control is already available from many car brands. The BMW engineers want to expand the system into a column assistant. Not only can it keep the distance, it can also steer it automatically and follow the person in front at every step.
The engineers are also working on an emergency braking system with pedestrian detection by camera, as is already available at Volvo. Just like the Swedes, BMW only presented the system on a test track with an immobile dummy, so it is not yet possible to say whether the emergency braking will also work in an emergency. In a further development, the system even recognizes pedestrians when they are covered by an obstacle. Pedestrians or cyclists would have to carry a transponder with them whose signals are received by the car.
Autonomous to the roadside
The computer then calculates the distance from the signal propagation time between pedestrian and receiver, similar to the echo sounder of a bat. If a schoolchild suddenly runs onto the street behind a car, the system could prevent the accident or at least reduce the severity of the impact by emergency braking just before it. Children could wear the transponder in their school bags or joggers in their sneakers.
The researchers focus not only on children at risk of accidents, but also on the elderly. Since many people sit behind the wheel into old age, the risk of medical emergencies while driving increases. In a demonstration with several cars, BMW showed the "emergency stop assistant": At the push of a button, the car drove to the side of the road completely autonomously and with the hazard warning lights switched on, provided there was no other car in the way, and stopped there.
Cooperation with the Charité
The crux of the system is that the technology has to reliably detect a heart attack or other emergencies in which the driver loses control of the car. To this end, the researchers are working together with the Charité University Hospital in Berlin. Similar to astronauts, the driver could wear a bio-belt that records pulse, blood pressure and other vital functions. (mid)
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