2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-08-25 09:36
Numerous electronic helpers in the vehicle are intended to make driving safer. However, developments in this area are only just beginning.
The car sharpens the senses for safety. Because most accidents can be traced back to human error, manufacturers rely on new assistance systems. "The main cause of accidents, human error, is caused not least by the increasing complexity of the traffic situation," says Prof. Manfred Broy from the Chair of Software & Systems Engineering at the Technical University of Munich: "Targeted relief and support for the driver can help."
Image understanding still poor
Many cars can already "see" with the help of radar, infrared or video cameras. But there is still a lack of understanding of the image. That is why the industry is working on software with which such information can be evaluated. In the medium term, in this way the “perceptual ability of the vehicle will at least come close to that of humans”, believes Prof. Christoph Stiller from the Institute for Measurement and Control at the University of Karlsruhe.
Automatic emergency braking
At Mercedes, for example, vehicles should recognize traffic signs with the help of a video camera, says Jörg Breuer, who heads the development of active safety systems in Stuttgart. Cruise control should also "see" better. He can already keep the distance to moving objects and automatically brake in the column. “In the future, a system like this could also be active when there are standing obstacles,” says Matthias Strauss from the supplier Continental in Frankfurt.
Even if an accident cannot be avoided, automatic emergency braking will reduce the impact, says Rainer Kallenbach, Vice President for Automotive Electronics at Bosch in Stuttgart. "This makes the accident less serious and reduces the risk of injury."
Second camera necessary
The developers believe that a camera is not enough to sharpen the view of the car. Mercedes is therefore researching with a second camera that is supposed to enable spatial vision. As a first step, the Swabians want to recognize standing objects, explains Breuer. After that, moving objects should also be recognized and analyzed, which turn intersections into accident blackspots.
Defusing this dangerous situation is also the aim of the intersection assistant that VW is developing in Wolfsburg. According to VW spokesman Hartmuth Hoffmann, a left-turn assistant, a right-of-way assistant and a traffic light assistant were already shown in a test vehicle.
But seeing and understanding is not enough. To be even safer, cars must also be able to speak and hear. The manufacturers are testing car-to-car communication. They are working across competitive boundaries on a system that exchanges important information between cars via WLAN. Breakdown vehicles can set up an “electronic warning triangle”, explains Continental developer Adam Swoboda. "And if you get caught in a fog bank or on black ice, you automatically send a warning that is passed on like a baton to everyone behind the scenes."
However, one does not want to let the driver out of responsibility, says Mercedes researcher Prof. Bharat Balasubramian: "In our philosophy, the driver always remains the master of the ring and can override all assistance systems." Christoph Stiller sees it differently: "The time will come when sensor systems and computers can drive the vehicle more safely than humans." (dpa)
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