Collision Avoidance. The car we couldn t crash! The future for drivers. Compare the technologies. research news

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1 special edition volume three, issue two February, 2008 research news Collision Avoidance The car we couldn t crash! During the low speed bumper crash test of the new Volvo, its automatic braking system prevented the car contacting the barrier, avoiding any damage. New collision avoidance technologies represent the future of accident and casualty reduction on UK roads. Page four Compare the technologies Page seven The future for drivers

2 continued... Crash testing has driven development of secondary safety systems Secondary Safety vs. Primary Safety Crash safety The new future Crash safety is split into two areas of focus: Secondary Safety technology that helps the human occupant survive the forces of an inevitable crash; and Primary Safety technologies that help to avoid the crash in the first place. New technologies now coming forward will have a significant effect on the way the public view crash safety with cars being able to avoid or mitigate (reduce) the likelihood of a crash occurring in the first place. Over the past 50 years, vehicle manufacturers have focused mainly on the need to protect the occupant in a crash and we ve seen lots of new technology that reduces the risk of injury, such as steering wheel airbags, seat belt pre-tensioners and stronger occupant compartments. But prevention is better than cure - avoiding the crash in the first place. Electronic Stability Control ESC is an example of a technology that has been shown to reduce life-threatening crashes by up to 25%. By applying braking to individual wheels, it can help to prevent a skid or spin. These new systems also use automatic application of braking, but to reduce speed, rather than controlling the direction of the vehicle. ACC Stop/Go: Brakes automatically applied to maintain safe distance These new technologies such as low cost radar, lasers and optical sensors are now being fitted to mainstream vehicles that will enable the car to monitor both road conditions and traffic levels, and ensure that our cars do not collide. The facts of the matter 75% of crashes occur at speeds under 20 m.p.h. Front to rear low speed shunts are the most common sort of impacts. It is calculated that if every vehicle in the fleet had effective collision avoidance technologies, over 2.1bn could be saved. 125,000 injuries could be avoided. Some of these systems will be made standard on future models. two The car applies automatic braking to avoid the barrier three

3 Technologies ACC Stop/Go Low Speed Avoidance maintaining a safe distance between itself and the vehicle it s following, whatever the speed of the prevailing traffic. The latest generation of these systems have full stop/go functionality, your car coming to a complete stop when its path is blocked. The car will then start moving again once traffic conditions allow, maintaining a safe distance. Even if the car in front brakes suddenly, your car will react quickly enough and apply braking to avoid a potential crash. These systems rely on the driver to pre-set the controls and monitor the vehicle at all times. Perhaps the most significant new technology available in the near future is the low speed avoidance system from Volvo City Safety. This unique system is designed to chiefly address the most common crash type, the low speed fender bender. Typically occurring at speeds below 20 m.p.h., these accidents represent 75% of all crashes, and such a system fitted to all cars could significantly reduce whiplash injuries and repair costs. This system uses low cost laser radar (LIDAR) mounted behind the windscreen (and so out of harm s way). It constantly monitors the road ahead. Once an object is within 6 metres, the system calculates whether the driver is reacting to avoid it. If not, the system will autonomously apply up to 50% of the braking power, enough to completely avoid contact at 10 m.p.h. and mitigate the effects of a 20 m.p.h. crash by 50%. The potential for the reduction of whiplash injuries and damage repair costs is considerable. Mercedes DISTRONIC PLUS Adaptive Cruise Control is a system that links the common cruise control system with a 77 GHz radar fitted at the front of the vehicle. Essentially a comfort feature, ACC allows the driver to pre-set a speed in changing traffic conditions, with the vehicle autonomously Short and long range radars required for ACC Stop/Go systems City Safety helps the car avoid the crash entirely Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) Collision Mitigation Braking Systems use the ACC radar and warn the driver visually and audibly that a potential collision is imminent. In some cases, the system will apply up to 70% of available braking power in an attempt to avoid or mitigate the crash. Many systems will pre-charge seat belt, airbag and brake systems to obtain optimum performance in the event of a collision. Vehicles Below is a list of the primary safety technologies featured in this article and the various names used by different manufacturers. This list is not comprehensive, but an indication at the time of publication of the differing collision avoidance technologies available. Many manufacturers offer ACC systems and other driver warning Manufacturer Technology type Manufacturer s name for the technology Example fitment and cost Honda ACC Stop/Go Not available CMBS Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) Optional pack 2000 on CR-V Low speed avoidance Not available Lexus ACC Stop/Go Not available systems, such as lane departure warning and blind spot detection, but they are beyond the scope of this Research News. CMBS Advanced Pre-Crash Safety System Standard fit on LS600. Some standard fit or optional Low speed avoidance Not available pack 3750 on LS460 Mercedes ACC Stop/Go DISTRONIC PLUS Optional pack on S-Class CMBS PRE-SAFE Brake Low speed avoidance Not available CMBS applies braking to mitigate the collision (Honda CR-V) Volvo ACC Stop/Go Not available CMBS Collision Warning with Auto-Brake Optional pack 1300 Low speed avoidance City Safety End of 2008 four five

4 Repair Costs The future for drivers WARNING! These systems are not infallible. The driver always remains in control and responsible for the vehicle. The systems are only an aid to the driver, and do not allow the driver to pay less attention to road conditions. An expensive radar unit mounted in the front grille could lead to a costly repair The cheaper LIDAR unit mounted inside the front windscreen is much better protected These primary safety technologies can help to reduce the risk of a collision. However, in some circumstances a crash that is unavoidable could end up costing twice as much to repair, due to the high cost of some of the sensors used. The location of the sensor is critical. For example, the radar units may be fitted at the very front of the vehicle to help them sense a collision partner as quickly as possible. However, many of these are in the vulnerable area around the front bumper and a typical 1300 repair cost could double, if the sensors are unprotected. Volvo have chosen a better position for their low speed collision avoidance sensor. Behind the windscreen, it is protected from damage. Manufacturer System Sensor Sensor location Sensor replacement cost inc. VAT Honda Lexus Collision Mitigation Braking System Advanced Pre-Crash Safety System Radar Front Grille 1907 Radar Front Grille 3973 Stereo Camera Inside windscreen 3700 Infra-red projectors Front headlights 4393 Technology continues to influence vehicle design at a great pace, with more and more of these new systems being introduced onto new vehicles to help avoid crashes occurring in the first place. The next generation of primary safety systems are expected to have functionality capable of identifying and reacting to pedestrians as well as vehicles. Active steering systems could also help to avoid crashes where a vehicle is drifting out of its lane. However, a great unknown in this technological rush is how the driver will react to such systems. How will they adapt to, or even drive to the technology? Will risk compensation mean that any increased safety margins that these new technologies offer result in drivers giving less concentration to the road condition and a greater reliance on the technology to get them from A to B? The driver, although better protected than ever, remains the great unknown. Thatcham s Future Research Thatcham will continue to investigate these technologies on behalf of the British insurers, and there will be information on the website www. thatcham.org/tcas. Thatcham will be evaluating primary safety systems, and monitoring their effectiveness for reducing crash injuries and vehicle damage in the real world. The aim is to promote best practice amongst the vehicle manufacturers, such as a common naming system, so that the car buyer understands clearly the function of the system being purchased. Thatcham is also encouraging systems that operate autonomously, intervening at the last second, so as to avoid risk compensation. A common interface for the systems is also needed, so that the driver clearly understands the system regardless of which car is being driven. Mercedes DISTRONIC PLUS Radar Front Grille 1435 Volvo Forward Collision Warning with Auto-Brake Radar Front Grille 1009 City Safety LIDAR Inside windscreen Not available six seven

5 What next for the crash test dummy? Member Companies Admiral Insurance Co Ltd Allianz Insurance plc Amlin Insurance Services Ansvar Insurance Co Ltd AXA Insurance UK plc Brit Insurance Ltd Chaucer Insurance Co-operative Insurance Society Ltd Direct Line Insurance plc Ecclesiastical Insurance Grp Equity Red Star Motor Policies Esure Insurance Ltd Fortis Insurance Ltd Groupama Insurance Company Ltd Highway Insurance Company Ltd HSBC Insurance (UK) Ltd Illium Managing Agy Ltd Insurance Corp of Channel Islands Ltd Jubilee Motor Policies at Lloyd s KGM Underwriting Agencies Ltd Landmark Insurance Co Ltd Legal & General Insurance Ltd Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Ltd MIT Syndicate 3210 at Lloyd s MMA Insurance plc Norwich Union Insurance Ltd Provident Insurance plc QBE Insurance Co (UK) Ltd RBS Insurance Royal & Sun Alliance plc The NFU Mutual Ins. Society Ltd Trafalgar Insurance plc UK Insurance Ltd Zurich Insurance Co Thatcham is a not-for-profit organisation. Our aim is to carry out research targeted at containing or reducing the cost of motor insurance claims, whilst maintaining safety and quality standards. Colthrop Way, Thatcham Berkshire RG19 4NR Tel: Fax: eight

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