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[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]

Sendyne introduces first isolation monitor for EVs and HEVs capable of detecting potential electrical hazards during dynamic operation

April 27, 2017

Sendyn, a provider of technologies for battery system management including current, voltage and temperature measurement ICs and modules (earlier post), has introduced the SIM100, a new type of automotive-rated isolation monitoring safety device that is capable of detecting potential electrical hazards during the dynamic operation of high-voltage unearthed systems—such as electric and hybrid vehicles.

The SIM100 module is the first device of its kind capable of unambiguously detecting the electrical isolation state of a high-voltage system while the system is active and operating, and experiencing large voltage variations. State-of-the-art technology today is limited to detecting only resistive leakages and only when the system voltage does not vary significantly. In another first, the SIM100 detects both resistive leakages and capacitively stored energy that could be harmful to human operators.

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Continental developing Road Condition Observer for active safety

April 04, 2017

Continental is developing a new system called Road Condition Observer that uses vehicle sensors and cloud data to classify a road surface as dry, wet, covered with snow or icy and to assess the grip of the road surface.

This knowledge, in turn, allows the vehicle to adjust the functions of advanced driver assistance systems to the actual road conditions, said Bernd Hartmann, Head of the Enhanced ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) & Tire Interactions project group within the Advanced Engineering department of Continental’s Chassis & Safety division.

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Volvo Cars CEO urges government & industry to share safety-related traffic data; will skip Level 3 autonomy

April 03, 2017

Volvo Cars is urging governments and car makers to share traffic data in order to improve global traffic safety, Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive, told a conference at the European Commission in Brussels on Monday. Sharing anonymized data related to traffic safety in real-time can provide a strong boost to overall traffic safety while safeguarding the privacy of individual road users, Samuelsson said.

Volvo started doing exactly this in Sweden and Norway two years ago, in collaboration with local authorities.

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Volvo Cars’ new XC60 SUV to feature automatic steering assistance for collision avoidance

February 28, 2017

Volvo Cars announced that the new XC60 SUV—to be revealed at the Geneva Motor Show next week—will feature new advanced driver assistance features that will provide the driver with automatic steering assistance or support—when required—to help avoid potential collisions.

Volvo Cars updated City Safety has been updated in the XC60 to include steering support, which engages when automatic braking alone would not help avoid a potential collision. In such circumstances, the car will provide steering assistance to avoid the obstacle ahead. City Safety helps to avoid collisions with vehicles, pedestrians and large animals. Steering support is active between 50-100 km/h (31-62 mph).

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Takata to plead guilty, pay $1B in criminal penalties for airbag scheme; 3 Takata execs indicted

January 14, 2017

Tokyo-based Takata Corporation, one of the world’s largest suppliers of automotive safety-related equipment, agreed to plead guilty to wire fraud and pay a total of $1 billion in criminal penalties stemming from the company’s fraudulent conduct in relation to sales of defective airbag inflators. An indictment was also unsealed charging three Takata executives with wire fraud and conspiracy in relation to the same conduct.

According to the company’s admissions, in the late 1990s, Takata began developing airbag inflators that relied upon ammonium nitrate as their primary propellant. From at least in or around 2000, Takata knew that certain ammonium nitrate-based inflators were not performing to the specifications required by the auto manufacturers. Takata also knew that certain inflators had sustained failures, including ruptures, during testing.

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Eighth generation Toyota Camry makes its debut in Detroit

January 09, 2017

Toyota unveiled the eighth-generation Camry in Detroit at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). Sold in more than 100 countries, the Toyota Camry is the most popular mid-size sedan in the world and is the segment leader in many global markets where it is available. Introduced in Japan in 1982, the Camry was Toyota’s first mass-produced vehicle with a transverse engine layout.

The new Gen8 Camry utilizes TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) which represents a completely new strategy to the way the company designs, engineers, and packages its vehicles. TNGA retains all of Toyota’s traditional values of superlative build quality and safety while injecting a fun driving experience that plays on all the senses. The physical manifestation is the usage of a new engine, transmission and GA-K platform.

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Study finds hands-free just as distracting as handheld mobile phone use behind the wheel

December 28, 2016

Talking hands-free on a mobile phone while driving is just as distracting as a conversation using a hand-held phone, according to a recent study by researchers at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Australia.

Dr. Shimul (Md Mazharul) Haque, from QUT’s School of Civil Engineering and Built Environment and Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety – Queensland ( ), presented the findings at a Driving Distraction Seminar held at QUT. The study is published in Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies.

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Toyota reports Intelligent Clearance Sonar has significantly reduced pedal misapplication & vehicle reversing accidents

December 26, 2016

Toyota Motor Corporation conducted a survey of accidents occurring in parking lots involving three models in Japan (the Alphard, the Vellfire, and the Prius) equipped with the Intelligent Clearance Sonar (ICS) system—a system which helps to prevent or mitigate collision damage in parking spaces.

According to the survey of data—conducted from January 2015 to June 2016—from approximately 2,500 accidents from insurance companies that cover the policies for about 60,000 of these above mentioned vehicles, pedal misapplication accidents fell by approximately 70%, and accidents related to reversing have been reduced by approximately 40%.

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Euro NCAP 2016: Toyota Prius, Hyundai Ioniq and VW Tiguan best in class

December 21, 2016

In 2016, Euro NCAP tested 18 new passenger cars and four heavy quadricycles; three cars were awarded “Best in Class”: the Toyota Prius in the Large Family Car category; the Hyundai Ioniq in the Small Family Car category; and the VW Tiguan in the Small Off-Roader category.

To define the Best in Class, a calculation is made of the weighted sum of the scores in each of the four areas of assessment: Adult Occupant, Child Occupant, Pedestrian and Safety Assist. This sum is used as the basis for comparison of the vehicles. Cars qualify for Best in Class based only on their rating with standard safety equipment. Additional ratings based on optional equipment are excluded.

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NHTSA proposes guidelines to address driver distraction caused by mobile devices in vehicles

November 23, 2016

The US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed guidelines to help address driver distraction caused by mobile and other electronic devices in vehicles. The release marks the second phase of voluntary guidelines to address driver distraction on US roads; the first phase, released in 2013, focused on devices or systems built into the vehicle at the time of manufacture. (Earlier post.)

Currently, no safety guidelines exist for portable device technologies (e.g., smartphones, tablets, and navigation devices) and aftermarket devices (i.e., devices installed in the vehicle after manufacture) when they are used during a driving task. The proposed proposed, voluntary guidelines encourage manufacturers to implement features such as pairing, in which a portable device is linked to a vehicle’s infotainment system, as well as Driver Mode—a simplified user interface.

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Volvo Cars’ 90 Series cars receive powertrain, safety and connectivity updates including Android Auto

Volvo Cars is updating its 90 series cars with new powertrain, safety and connectivity updates. The new Drive-E powertrain variants include a D3 4-cylinder diesel engine coupled to a new manual 6-speed transmission; estimated fuel economy is 4.3 l/100 km (54.7 mpg US) NEDC in the S90 with emissions down to 114 g/km CO2.

A new automatic 6-speed transmission coupled to the D3 will deliver 114 g/km CO2 and 4.3 l/100 km. The D3 will also now be available with All-Wheel Drive.

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NHTSA sets Quiet Car safety standard for new HEVs and EVs to protect pedestrians

November 15, 2016

The US Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is adding a sound requirement for all newly manufactured hybrid and electric light-duty vehicles to help protect pedestrians. The new standard, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 141, responds to Congress’ mandate in the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010 (PSEA) that hybrid and electric vehicles meet minimum sound requirements to provide an audible alert for blind and visually-impaired pedestrians.

The new federal safety standard will help pedestrians who are blind, have low vision, and other pedestrians detect the presence, direction and location of these vehicles when they are traveling at low speeds, which will help prevent about 2,400 pedestrian injuries each year once all hybrids in the fleet are properly equipped.

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GM demos 8 connected vehicle safety applications in Shanghai

November 03, 2016

General Motors demonstrated eight safety applications for its latest intelligent and connected vehicle (ICV) technology for the first time in China at the National Intelligent and Connected Vehicle Pilot Zone in Shanghai, which opened in June.

GM has been supporting the development of connected vehicle technologies for more than a decade in the US. The company highlighted six vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) safety applications, including Intersection Movement Assist, and Electronic Emergency Brake Light and Control Loss Warning enabled by V2V technology. It also introduced two newly developed vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) safety applications: Red Light Violation Warning and Reduced Speed Zone Warning.

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NHTSA issues Federal guidance to the automotive industry for improving motor vehicle cybersecurity

October 25, 2016

The US Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released proposed guidance for improving motor vehicle cybersecurity.

The proposed cybersecurity guidance focuses on layered solutions to ensure vehicle systems are designed to take appropriate and safe actions, even when an attack is successful. The guidance recommends risk-based prioritized identification and protection of critical vehicle controls and consumers’ personal data. Further, it recommends that companies should consider the full life-cycle of their vehicles and facilitate rapid response and recovery from cybersecurity incidents.

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German alliance develops new active matrix LED headlights; 1,024 individually controllable light points

October 09, 2016

A German research alliance has developed the basis for smart, high-resolution active matrix LED headlights, which takes adaptive forward lighting to a new dimension.

A demonstration model was developed by overall project manager Osram in collaboration with the project partners Daimler, Fraunhofer, Hella and Infineon. Both headlights contain three LED light sources, each with 1,024 individually controllable light points. This means that the headlight can be adapted very precisely to suit the respective traffic situation to ensure optimum light conditions at all times without dazzling other drivers.

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Volvo Trucks introduces Volvo Active Driver Assist; combining radar and camera for emergency braking

October 04, 2016

Volvo Trucks North America introduced Volvo Active Driver Assist (VADA), a comprehensive collision mitigation system that combines both radar and camera capabilities to provide emergency braking and help drivers maintain a safe following distance through alerts and interventions.

Volvo currently is the only OEM to fully integrate the system into its Driver Information Display, so no additional display units or prep kits are needed. Volvo made the announcement during the American Trucking Associations (ATA) Management Conference & Exhibition in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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USDOT proposes speed limiters for large commercial vehicles; potential savings up to ~$1B in fuel each year depending on limit

August 26, 2016

The US Department of Transportation’s (DOT’s) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) are proposing equipping heavy-duty vehicles with devices that limit their speeds on US roadways, and requiring those devices be set to a maximum speed, a safety measure that could save lives and more than $1 billion in fuel costs each year.

Specifically, NHTSA is proposing to establish a new Federal motor vehicle safety standard (FMVSS) requiring that each new multipurpose passenger vehicle, truck, bus and school bus with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 11,793.4 kilograms (26,000 pounds) be equipped with a speed limiting device.

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NTSB issues preliminary report for investigation into Tesla Autopilot fatal crash

July 27, 2016

The US National Transportation Safety Board issued its preliminary report for the investigation of the fatal 7 May 2016, highway crash in Florida involving the Tesla Model S and Autopilot. The preliminary report does not contain any analysis of data and does not state probable cause for the crash.

The preliminary report details the collision involving a 53-foot semitrailer in combination with a 2014 Freightliner Cascadia truck tractor and the 2015 Tesla Model S. According to system performance data downloaded from the car, the indicated vehicle speed was 74 mph (119 km/h) just prior to impact; the posted speed limit was 65 mph (105 km/h).

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CMU study: even partially-automated crash avoidance delivers financial and safety benefits

July 19, 2016

A new cost-benefit analysis by researchers at Carnegie Mellon College of Engineering shows that the public could derive economic and social benefits today if partially-automated collision avoidance features were deployed in all cars.

In a paper published in the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention, they evaluated the benefits and costs of fleet-wide deployment of three such technologies: blind spot monitoring; lane departure warning; and forward collision warning crash avoidance systems within the US light-duty vehicle fleet.

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Consumer Reports calls on Tesla to disable and update auto steering function, remove “Autopilot” name

July 14, 2016

Consumer Reports is calling on Tesla to disable the automatic steering function in the Autopilot driving-assist system available in its Model S vehicles until the company updates the function to confirm that the driver’s hands remain on the steering wheel at all times.

The consumer organization, which has owned and tested three Teslas (2013 Model S 85, 2014 Model S P85D, and 2016 Model X 90D), said that Tesla should also change the name of the Autopilot feature because it promotes a potentially dangerous assumption that the Model S is capable of driving on its own.

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CDC: US has highest motor vehicle crash death rate among high-income countries; could be cut in half with proven strategies

July 07, 2016

About 90 people die each day from motor vehicle crashes in the United States, resulting in the highest death rate among 19 high-income comparison countries, according to the latest Vital Signs report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There were more than 32,000 crash deaths in the US in 2013, with more than $380 million in direct medical costs.

Athough the US has made progress in road safety—reducing crash deaths by 31% from 2000 to 2013—other high-income countries reduced crash deaths by an average of 56% during the same period. Lower death rates in comparison countries, as well as the high prevalence of risk factors in the US, suggest that more progress can be made in saving lives, according to the CDC. Compared with other high-income countries, the US had the:

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NHTSA projects 7.7% increase in US traffic fatalities for 2015 year-on-year; significant increase in motorcyclist and non-occupant deaths

July 02, 2016

A just-released National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistical projection of traffic fatalities for 2015 estimates that 35,200 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes—an increase of about 7.7% as compared to the 32,675 fatalities reported in 2014. If the 35,200 figure turns out to be accurate, this will mark the highest level of fatalities since 2008, which saw 37,423 fatalities.

Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) preliminary data shows that vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in 2015 increased by about 107.2 billion miles—about a 3.5% increase. The fatality rate for 2015 increased to 1.12 fatalities per 100 million VMT, up from 1.08 fatalities per 100 million VMT in 2014—about a 3.7% increase. Fourth quarter of 2015 represents the fifth consecutive quarter with year-to-year increases in fatalities as well as the fatality rate.

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BMW Group, Intel and Mobileye partner on open platform to bring fully autonomous driving to market by 2021

July 01, 2016

BMW Group, Intel, and Mobileye are collaborating to bring solutions for highly and fully automated driving into series production by 2021. The three are creating an a standards-based open platform—from door locks to the datacenter—for the next generation of cars.

The goal of the collaboration is to develop future-proofed solutions that enable drivers to not only take their hands off the steering wheel, but reach the “eyes off” (level 3) and ultimately the “mind off” (level 4) level transforming the driver’s in-car time into leisure or work time.

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NHTSA begins preliminary evaluation of Tesla Model S Autopilot fatality

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) has begun a preliminary evaluation of a fatal highway crash involving a 2015 Tesla Model S operating with Autopilot activated. ODI is opening the preliminary evaluation (PE16007) to examine the design and performance of any automated driving systems in use at the time of the crash.

In a blog post, Tesla Motors was quick to point out that this is the first known fatality in more than 130 million miles driven with Autopilot activated. Tesla also pointed out that among all vehicles in the US, there is a fatality every 94 million miles; worldwide, there is a fatality approximately every 60 million miles.

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