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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.]

RAND study finds introducing autonomous vehicles sooner could save hundreds of thousands of lives

November 08, 2017

Autonomous vehicles should only have to be moderately better than human drivers before being widely used in the United States, an approach that could save thousands of lives annually even before the technology is perfected, according to a new RAND Corporation report.

Allowing wide use of autonomous vehicles when they are just 10% better than current American drivers could prevent thousands of road fatalities over the next 15 years and possibly hundreds of thousands of fatalities over 30 years, researchers found, compared to waiting until they are 75% or 90% better.

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NAS: concerns remain about rail transport for energy liquids, gases; pipeline, maritime have more comprehensive safety system in place

October 12, 2017

With the sharp and largely unexpected increase in the long-distance movement of domestically produced crude oil, ethanol, and natural gas since 2005, a number of concerns have arisen about the safe transport of these hazardous materials, particularly in relation to railroad track defects, rural communities’ emergency response preparedness, and the older tank car designs that will continue to be used in multi-car unit trains, according to a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

Pipelines and barges have accommodated major portions of the growth in domestic energy liquids and gases, and they have done so without major new safety problems and within the basic framework of their longstanding regulatory and safety assurance systems. The committee that carried out the study and wrote the report stressed that to the credit of transportation service providers from all of the modes as well as their safety regulators, the vast majority of these energy supplies have been transported without incident, enabling the country to capitalize on its new energy resources and manage the safety risks associated with its transportation.

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DENSO invests $1B in US automotive manufacturing; electrification and safety

October 07, 2017

Japan-based DENSO, one of the world’s largest automotive technology, systems and components suppliers, is expanding its US footprint with a $1-billion investment in its Maryville, Tennessee location. The investment is part of DENSO’s commitment to advancing automotive innovation in North America, and will significantly increase the role North America plays in the global trend toward vehicle safety and electrification.

DENSO will create more than 1,000 jobs in Maryville, Tennessee to make it a primary manufacturing center in North America for electrification and safety systems. Globally, DENSO is a leading developer of electrification systems for environmentally-friendly automobiles, sophisticated functions involved in vehicle safety and security, and new services that connect vehicles and society. These systems will play a crucial role in meeting increasing electric vehicle demand.

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Univ. of Utah study finds many infotainment systems too distracting to be used when vehicle in motion

October 05, 2017

Many of the infotainment features in most 2017 vehicles are so distracting they should not be enabled while a vehicle is in motion, according to a new study by University of Utah researchers. The study, led by University of Utah Psychology Professor David L. Strayer, found In-Vehicle Information Systems take drivers’ attention off the road for too long to be safe.

The study, conducted the study for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, reviewed infotainment systems in 30 different 2017 vehicles. Participants were required to engage in four types of tasks using voice, touch screen and other interactive technologies. The tasks were to make a call, send a text message, tune the radio or program navigation while driving.

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Buick introduces active-hood technology in China; developed with GHBMC

October 01, 2017

To help increase pedestrian safety during low-speed collisions, General Motors is introducing a new pedestrian safety system on its recently launched new Regal midsize sedan in China.

The new Regal is the first Buick to offer the automaker’s standard active-hood pedestrian safety system, which senses the imminent impact of a pedestrian from 25-48 km/h and uses a pyrotechnic actuator to lift up the back of the hood by about 10 cm in milliseconds to lessen the impact and potentially reduce injury.

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Samsung Electronics expands efforts in autonomous tech: investment in TTTech, $300M fund, new business unit

September 14, 2017

Samsung Electronics announced a strategic partnership with TTTech, a global leader in the field of robust networking and safety controls. Along with this partnership, Samsung will also make a €75-million (US$89-million) strategic investment in TTTech as the first investment from its newly established $300-million Samsung Automotive Innovation Fund (SAIF). The new partnership and investment comes on the heels of Samsung’s $8-billion acquisition of HARMAN, a leader in connected car technology, and marks another significant step for the company in the automotive space.

Focused exclusively on the automotive market, the Samsung Automotive Innovation Fund will focus on connected car and autonomous technologies, including smart sensors, machine vision, artificial intelligence, high-performance computing, connectivity solutions, automotive-grade safety solutions, security, and privacy. In addition to the fund, HARMAN, which was acquired by Samsung earlier this year, has established a new Autonomous/ADAS Strategic Business Unit (SBU).

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NTSB: driver errors, overreliance on automation, lack of safeguards, led to fatal Tesla crash

September 13, 2017

The National Transportation Safety Board has determined that a truck driver’s failure to yield the right of way and a Tesla driver’s inattention due to overreliance on vehicle automation are the probable cause of the fatal 7 May 2016, crash near Williston, Florida. (Earlier post.)

The NTSB also determined the operational design of the Tesla’s vehicle automation permitted the car driver’s overreliance on the automation, noting its design allowed prolonged disengagement from the driving task and enabled the driver to use it in ways inconsistent with manufacturer guidance and warnings. As a result of its investigation the NTSB issued seven new safety recommendations and reiterated two previously issued safety recommendations.

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Volkswagen loads up new Polo with convenience & driver assistance systems

September 01, 2017

Volkswagen is loading the new Polo with an extensive range of new assistance and convenience systems such as the Front Assist area monitoring system with City Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Monitoring; Blind Spot Monitor lane change assistant; Rear Parking Alert system; and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC).

Thanks to its MQB platform, the Polo small car features a multitude of assistance systems which are typically only found on higher-end vehicles. Even the base version of the new Polo is launching with the Front Assist area monitoring system including City Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Monitoring as standard.

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Toyota Motor to expand adoption of safety support technologies; expansion of safety awareness activities for customers

August 28, 2017

In Japan, Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) announced plans to expand adoption of safety support technologies to reduce further the rate of collisions. The company also announced an expansion of safety awareness activities for customers.

Toyota performed independent calculations based on accident data from the Institute for Traffic Accident Research and Data Analysis (ITARDA) and determined that vehicles equipped with the Toyota Safety Sense package experience an approximately 50% reduction in rear-end collisions compared to vehicles without the safety package. Vehicles with both the Toyota Safety Sense P package and ICS (Intelligent Clearance Sonar) experience an approximately 90% reduction compared to vehicles without either feature.

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Every Mazda 2017 US model tested earned IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating

July 12, 2017

All US 2017 Mazda models tested by the US Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), including the all-new Mazda CX-5, have been awarded the nonprofit organization's highest safety rating, Top Safety Pick+, when equipped with optional front crash prevention and adaptive LED headlights.

IIHS evaluates crashworthiness with five tests: moderate and small overlap frontal crashes, a side crash, a roof strength test and a head restraint and seat test that simulates a rear impact. In addition, headlight performance and frontal crash prevention by means of auto-braking and forward collision warning systems are evaluated.

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Daimler introducing first active emergency braking assistant for buses to feature pedestrian recognition

June 30, 2017

Daimler Buses and its product brands Mercedes-Benz and Setra are introducing Active Brake Assist 4 (ABA 4) with pedestrian recognition—the first emergency braking assistance system in a bus to automatically brake for pedestrians. Active Brake Assist 3 already carries out maximum full-stop braking for vehicles ahead and for stationary obstacles.

The new Active Brake Assist 4 with pedestrian recognition warns the driver visually and audibly of any potential collision with pedestrians and at the same time automatically triggering partial braking.

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Rice study finds Houston intersections with traffic lights 9x more likely to see fatal pedestrian- and bicyclist-automobile crashes

June 13, 2017

A new report from Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research has found that intersections with traffic lights in Houston are nine times more likely to see fatal car crashes with pedestrians and bicyclists than expected by chance. In comparison, intersections with stop signs were only 1.48 times as likely to have a fatal crash incident; noncontrolled intersections were 0.5 times as likely to have a fatal incident.

The report, “Dangerous Crossings: The Relationship Between Intersections and Crashes in Houston”, was authored by Yujie Hu, a research fellow at the Kinder Institute. Hu used colocation, which identifies patterns between two objects or events, to analyze the impact of development on pedestrian- and bicyclist-vehicle crashes at intersections in the city of Houston. The model identifies types of intersections that will likely attract such incidents.

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Autotalks launches bike-to-vehicle (B2V) technology to prevent motorcycle accidents

June 08, 2017

Israel-based Autotalks, a provider of V2X (Vehicle-to-Everything) communication solutions, is launching its bike-to-vehicle (B2V) solution, a technology for the prevention of motorcycle accidents. The solution is based on the B2X (Bike-to-Everything) chipset developed by the company.

Bosch announced on 23 May that it is carrying out a development B2V study that incorporates Autotalks’ B2V technology alongside Ducati’s motorcycles and Cohda Wireless’ software stack. The company also said that according to Bosch accident research, the B2V technology could prevent nearly a third of all powered two-wheeler accidents with casualties in Germany.

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Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center launches 5-year, $35M program on autonomous and connected vehicle technologies

May 31, 2017

Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center (CSRC) formally launched the next phase of its research mission, following on the successful conclusion of its first five years of auto safety research. The new research effort, named CSRC Next, will focus on the challenges and opportunities of autonomous and connected vehicle technologies over the next decade.

First announced in 2014, CSRC Next (earlier post) will direct $35 million through 2021 towards research designed to support a safe transition to the future of mobility. Projects will follow four research tracks:

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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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