[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.]
Coodriver GmbH and Volkswagen sign strategic partnership; using smartphone or GPS transmitters to alert drivers about children
April 22, 2016
Volkswagen has signed a strategic partnership with Coodriver GmbH, a cloud-based application service provider for traffic safety, on the integration of a connected vehicle application into new Volkswagen models that will help motorists to see children on the road in time to avoid dangerous situations.
Coodriver developed the “Schutzranzen” (protection satchel) app that uses smartphone or GPS transmitters to alert drivers in time about hazardous situations visually and/or audibly.
IIHS: Speed limit increases in US caused 33,000 deaths over 20 years
April 14, 2016
A new Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) study shows that increases in speed limits over two decades have cost 33,000 lives in the US. In 2013 alone, the increases resulted in 1,900 additional deaths, essentially canceling out the number of lives saved by frontal airbags that year.
Charles Farmer, IIHS vice president for research and statistical services and the author of the study, looked at deaths per billion miles traveled by state and roadway type. Taking into account other factors that affected the fatality rate—including changes in unemployment, the number of potential young drivers (ages 16-24) and per capita alcohol consumption—he found that each 5 mph increase in the maximum speed limit resulted in a 4% increase in fatalities. The increase on interstates and freeways, the roads most affected by state maximums, was 8%.
RAND: Autonomous vehicles cannot be test-driven enough miles to demonstrate their safety; alternative testing methods needed
April 13, 2016
Autonomous vehicles would have to be driven hundreds of millions of miles and, under some scenarios, hundreds of billions of miles to create enough data to clearly demonstrate their safety, according to a new report from RAND, a non-profit research organization.
Under even the most-aggressive test driving assumptions, it would take existing fleets of autonomous vehicles tens and even hundreds of years to log sufficient miles to adequately assess the safety of the vehicles when compared to human-driven vehicles, according to the analysis.
Nissan, Savari, UC Berkeley and City of Sunnyvale collaborate on real-world V2X testbed with DSRC
March 29, 2016
Nissan Motor Company, Savari, UC Berkeley Partners for Advanced Transportation Technology (PATH), and the City of Sunnyvale have collaborated on a real-world V2X (Vehicle-to-Everything) testbed spanning 4.63 square miles with three public intersections in Sunnyvale, California. The City of Sunnyvale pilot is examining the role of V2X communications and its potential benefits on easing traffic congestion, and enhancing fuel economy and public safety.
Savari is a provider of V2X safety communication technology; its smart city deployments now span 130 square miles of public roadways. Prompted by Nissan’s vision initiative to establish a V2X testbed, PATH deployed Savari StreetWAVE road-side-units (RSUs) and coordinated with the City of Sunnyvale and Nissan on the project, which started in August 2015 and is continuing to provide data.
Toyota and Lexus making automated braking standard on nearly every model and trim level by end of 2017; 4 years ahead of NHTSA/IIHS target
March 21, 2016
Toyota will begin to include the and Lexus Safety System+ and Toyota Safety Sense packages, anchored by automatic emergency braking (AEB), on almost every new vehicle by the end of 2017—four years before the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) 2022 target. (Earlier post.) Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota Motor North America. made the announcement at the New York Auto Show.
Already available as a low-cost option on a broad range of Lexus and Toyota vehicles, Lexus Safety System+ and Toyota Safety Sense are designed to help address three key areas of driver assistance: preventing or mitigating frontal collisions – including pedestrians; helping keep drivers within their lane; and enhancing road safety during nighttime driving. Technologies include Toyota’s Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert, and Automatic High Beams.
Munich Re America launches transit bus collision avoidance pilot in Washington with Mobileye Shield+ system
March 17, 2016
Munich Reinsurance America, one of the largest reinsurers in the US, in collaboration with the Washington State Transit Insurance Pool (WSTIP), has launched a pilot program equipping transit buses with the award-winning collision avoidance system Mobileye Shield+. Rosco Vision Systems is the official North American provider and driver-interface manufacturer of this system.
Mobileye is a technology leader in the area of software algorithms, system-on-chips and customer applications that are based on processing visual information for the market of driver assistance systems (DAS). Shield+, designed for large vehicles operating in urban environments, enables early detection of cyclists and pedestrians by using an array of strategically placed artificial vision smart cameras.
New Buick LaCrosse upgrades computing power from 17 to 31 ECUs; new electronic control system
March 16, 2016
The all-new Buick LaCrosse, which launches this week in China, features significant upgrades in computing power and networking to advance connectivity and safety features.
There are 31 ECUs distributed in the all-new Buick LaCrosse—its predecessor utilized only 17. This 82% increase in the number of ECUs helps to optimize calculating efficiency. In order to facilitate the handling of large quantities of data, a specific data bus is arranged to connect ECUs, each of which can process data independently.
NHTSA proposes updating electrical safety requirements for fuel cell and mild hybrid vehicles; alignment with int’l standards
March 04, 2016
The US Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to update electrical safety requirements for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and mild hybrid vehicles.
The NPRM proposes adding an optional method for post-crash electrical safety into the standard, FMVSS No. 305, that involves physical barriers to prevent electric shock due to direct or indirect contact of high voltage sources. This proposed optional method affords the same level of electric shock protection as the other methods for electrical safety currently in FMVSS No. 305 and would enable innovative powertrain technologies. The proposed updates to FMVSS No. 305 align the standard with international regulations and the latest version of the voluntary industry standard, SAE J1766, “Recommended Practice for Electric and Hybrid Electric Vehicle Battery Systems Crash Integrity Testing”.
New algorithm improves speed and accuracy of pedestrian detection; cascade detection + deep learning
February 08, 2016
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have developed a pedestrian detection system that performs in near real-time (2-4 frames per second) and with higher accuracy (close to half the error) compared to existing systems. The technology, which incorporates deep learning models, could be used in “smart” vehicles, robotics and image and video search systems.
The new pedestrian detection algorithm developed by Nuno Vasconcelos, electrical engineering professor at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, and his team combines a traditional computer vision classification architecture—cascade detection—with deep learning models.
Bosch says its haptic gas pedal can reduce fuel consumption up to 7%; safety warnings via nav and V2X systems
January 25, 2016
The automotive industry has been exploring the use of haptic gas pedal technologies as a way to reduce fuel consumption and increase safety by signaling the driver using a mechanism such as a vibration or a counterforce in the accelerator pedal. Continental announced its Accelerator Force Feedback Pedal in 2010, Frost & Sullivan anticipates wide premium-segment deployment of the active gas pedal technology post-2018 (earlier post); and Mercedes-Benz offers the technology in the C 350 PLUG-IN HYBRID (earlier post).
Bosch now says that its active gas pedal allows drivers to reduce fuel consumption by as much as 7%. This is possible because the gas pedal can be networked with other automotive functions, such as the transmission. Up to now, the only indication drivers have had of the best time to shift gear has been in the form of small arrows on the instrument display. The active gas pedal comes with the option of a palpable indication of the best time to shift gear.
SAE’s highest technical safety award goes to hydrogen fueling paper
January 21, 2016
At the Awards Ceremony at the SAE 2016 Government/Industry Meeting, SAE International honored the recipients of the Ralph H. Isbrandt Automotive Safety Engineering Award, including the lead author, Jesse Schneider, (BMW); along with co-authors Jihyun Shim (Hyundai); Graham Meadows (IMPCO); Steven R. Mathison (Honda); Michael J. Veenstra (Ford); Rainer Immel (Opel); Morten Wistoft-Ibsen (H2 Logic); Manfred Greisel (Wenger Engineering); Spencer Quong (SQI); Timothy McGuire (MB RDNA); and Peter Potzel (Daimler).
The Ralph Isbrandt Award annually recognizes the author(s) delivering the most outstanding paper at an SAE Society or section meeting on the subject of automotive safety engineering. The 2016 Ralph Isbrandt award recognizes the advancement to SAE literature of the recipients’ SAE World Congress Technical Paper on Hydrogen Fueling, “Validation and Sensitivity Studies for SAE J2601, the Light Duty Vehicle Hydrogen Fueling Standard” (SAE 2014-01-1990). (Earlier post.)
IAV and Microsoft demonstrate connected highly automated driving vehicle for enhanced safety; cloud-based analytics and big data
January 11, 2016
At CES 2016 last week, IAV and Microsoft demonstrated a connected highly automated driving (CHAD) vehicle capable of connecting with the Microsoft Azure cloud and Windows 10 to enable communication that helps prevent vehicle and pedestrian accidents and increases driving comfort and convenience. This vehicle-2-x communication (V2X) connectivity approach uses data from the vehicle’s surroundings to improve smart service for convenience and enhance safety by anticipating and mitigating potential hazards.
The two demonstrated a use case pf the approach: a pedestrian with a wearable device is walking toward the road, concealed by a parked vehicle. The device is located by nearby intelligent roadside infrastructure that is connected to the Azure cloud. The CHAD vehicle then receives a V2X warning that permits the safe, convenient adjustment of its driving dynamics in order to detect and avoid the hazard.
Virginia Tech report finds national crash rate for conventional vehicles higher than crash rate of self-driving cars
January 09, 2016
A new report, “Automated Vehicle Crash Rate Comparison Using Naturalistic Data,” performed by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and commissioned by Google, shows that the crash rates for self-driving cars are lower than the national crash rate of conventional cars.
Results show that when data is adjusted for unreported crashes and take into account accident severity, the national crash rate for conventional vehicles is higher than the crash rate of self-driving cars.
IHS: connectivity, infotainment, safety to drive growth in automotive display systems to $18.6B by 2021; > 11% CAGR
December 30, 2015
Driven by continued innovation in vehicle connectivity and safety technologies, global revenue from automotive display systems will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 11% to $18.6 billion by the end of 2021, according to a new forecast by IHS Inc. This will add nearly $9 billion in annual revenue compared to 2015.
Data from the Automotive Display Systems Forecasts from IHS represents production of instrument cluster systems, head-up display systems and center stack display systems as full automotive modules, not just display panels. Center stack display systems are expected to account for half of the overall revenue growth, while head-up display (HUD) systems will deliver the strongest revenue CAGR at nearly 21% from 2015.
UCLA researchers develop exceptionally strong and lightweight new metal nanocomposite
December 24, 2015
A team led by researchers from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science has created a super-strong yet light structural metal nanocomposite with extremely high specific strength and modulus, or stiffness-to-weight ratio. The new metal is composed of magnesium infused with a dense and even dispersal of ceramic silicon carbide nanoparticles. It could be used to make lighter airplanes, spacecraft, and cars, helping to improve fuel efficiency, as well as in mobile electronics and biomedical devices.
To create the super-strong but lightweight metal, the team developed a new way to disperse and stabilize nanoparticles in molten metals. They also developed a scalable manufacturing method that could pave the way for more high-performance lightweight metals. A paper on their work is published today in Nature.
Continental to demonstrate dynamic eHorizon technology during CES; Connected Energy Management and Blind Curve Warning
December 16, 2015
Continental will demonstrate its latest generation of eHorizon technology during CES next month in Las Vegas. Continental will show with two use cases based on dynamic eHorizon technology—Connected Energy Management and Blind Curve Warning—how data from the cloud can predict the road ahead, ultimately reducing fuel consumption and making vehicles safer. Both demonstrations will be conducted on public roads in Las Vegas.
Continental has already shown that the static eHorizon—introduced commercially in 2012—which uses certain data from a static map stored in the vehicle, enables a significant reduction of fuel consumption (around 3% on average). As a result of this success, Continental has taken the development of eHorizon even further by using the cloud and crowd intelligence to enhance the digital map in the dynamic eHorizon Backend with fresh and accurate information.
Mercedes adding semi-autonomous Active Lane Change Assist to new E-Class in spring
December 09, 2015
Mercedes-Benz will expand the new Driving Assistance package of the future E-Class for the market launch in spring with the semi-autonomous Active Lane Change Assist function. The radar- and camera-based assistance system supports the driver in changing lanes—for example, when passing on multi-lane roads. The system offers a significant further increase in comfort and can help to prevent collisions.
Active Lane Change Assist is a sub-function of DRIVE PILOT and thus a component of the Driving Assistance package from Mercedes-Benz, which will have its world premiere in the new E-Class next year. The new E-Class will be launched in Germany in spring 2016.
Researchers develop computer model for crash injury risks based on precrash occupant position
November 13, 2015
Researchers led by Ashley Weaver, assistant professor at the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University Center for Injury Biomechanics, have developed a method to compute crash injury metrics and risks as functions of precrash occupant position.
The process allows for quantification of the sensitivity and uncertainty of the injury risk predictions based on occupant position to understand further important factors that lead to more severe motor vehicle crash injuries. The modeling results provide details not available from using crash test dummies (anthropomorphic test devices, or ATDs).
UMTRI preliminary analysis of autonomous vehicle safety
October 30, 2015
Researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) have performed a preliminary analysis of the cumulative on-road safety record of self-driving vehicles for three of the ten companies that are currently approved for such vehicle testing in California (Google, Delphi, and Audi).
The analysis compared the safety record of these vehicles with the safety record of all conventional vehicles in the US for 2013 (adjusted for underreporting of crashes that do not involve a fatality). The study, by Brandon Schoettle and Michael Sivak, made four main findings:
2016 Prius c hybrid gets big safety boost with Safety Sense-C system
October 17, 2015
Toyota gave its Prius c—the smallest of the brand’s eight hybrid models—a major styling and interior upgrade for 2015; for 2016 the big enhancement is the available Toyota Safety Sense C (TSS-C), which equips the car with an array of driver-assist technologies: Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Assist, and Automatic High Beams.
In adapting Toyota’s hybrid technology to the Prius c platform, each of the system’s major components benefitted from a design focus to reduce weight and size while improving efficiency. Toyota’s hybrid technology integrates a gasoline engine, an electric motor within a Continuously Variable Transaxle, a nickel-metal hydride battery, a power control unit (inverter), a DC-DC converter, a step-up converter and a hybrid control computer.
$90M UR:BAN research initiative presenting results on ADAS and traffic management for cities; intelligent vehicles
October 07, 2015
In Düsseldorf, the 31 partners—automobile and electronics manufacturers, suppliers, communication technology and software companies, research institutes and cities—involved in the UR:BAN research initiative (Urban Space: user-friendly assistance systems and network management) presented the results of four years of work in a two-day event.
UR:BAN’s goal is to develop advanced driver assistance and traffic management systems for cities, with a focus on the human element in all aspects of mobility and traffic. The project pursued its objectives in three main thematic target areas: Cognitive Assistance; Networked Traffic System; and Human Factors in Traffic.
Toyota testing new Highway Teammate automated driving vehicle; aiming for commercialization around 2020
October 06, 2015
Toyota has been testing a new automated driving platform, a modified Lexus GS called Highway Teammate, with the aim of launching related products by around 2020. In addition to demonstrating the capabilities of next-generation safety technologies, the vehicle represents Toyota’s view of the evolving driver-car relationship in the age of artificial intelligence.
Toyota believes that interactions between drivers and cars should mirror those between close friends who share a common purpose, sometimes watching over each other and sometimes helping each other out. Toyota refers to this approach as the Mobility Teammate Concept. Highway Teammate represents an important first effort to give form to this concept.
Caltech, JPL designed megasupramolecule fuel additive reduces intensity of post-impact fuel explosions
October 02, 2015
Researchers at Caltech and JPL used statistical mechanics to design a polymeric fuel additive that can self-assemble into “megasupramolecules” (≥5000 kg/mol) at low concentration (≤0.3 weight percent) and thus can reduce the intensity of post-impact fuel explosions that occur during accidents and terrorist acts.
Furthermore, preliminary results show that the additive can provide this benefit without adversely affecting fuel performance. The work is published in the journal Science.
Study comparing crash risk of EU and US vehicles indicates differences in performance
September 28, 2015
An international research study examining the safety performance of US and EU motor vehicles has found differences in performance between the two. The study is the first side-by-side comparison of predicted risk for EU-regulated and US-regulated vehicles and was conducted collaboratively by The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI); and Safer Vehicle and Traffic Safety Centre at Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden), in association with Centre Européen d’Etudes de Sécurité et d’Analyse des Risques (CEESAR), France, and Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), UK.
The investigation of safety performance was motivated by the ongoing negotiations between the EU and the US concerning the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement.
10 automakers commit to making automatic emergency braking standard in US
September 11, 2015
Ten major vehicle manufacturers have committed to making automatic emergency braking (AEB) a standard feature on all new vehicles built, the US Department of Transportation, its National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) announced today.
The announcement, made at the dedication of IIHS’s newly expanded Vehicle Research Center, represents a major step toward making crash-prevention technologies more widely available to consumers. The 10 companies—Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mercedes Benz, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo—will work with IIHS and NHTSA in the coming months on the details of implementing their historic commitment, including the timeline for making AEB a standard feature. The Department and IIHS encourage all other light-vehicle and trucking manufacturers to bring automated vehicle technology to all vehicles on US roadways as soon as possible.
J.D. Power: automakers spending billions on technologies many consumers don’t use; user preferences for smartphones and tablets
August 26, 2015
Automakers are investing billions of dollars to put connectivity technologies in their cars and light trucks that are not being used by many of the owners of those vehicles, according to the J.D. Power 2015 Driver Interactive Vehicle Experience (DrIVE) Report. The 2015 DrIVE Report measures driver experiences with in-vehicle technology features during the first 90 days of ownership.
The report finds that at least 20% of new-vehicle owners have never used 16 of the 33 technology features measured. The five features owners most commonly report that they “never use” are in-vehicle concierge (43%); mobile routers (38%); automatic parking systems (35%); head-up display (33%); and built-in apps (32%).
FCA to pay record $105M over recall failures
July 27, 2015
In a consent order with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has acknowledged violations of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act’s requirements to repair vehicles with safety defects and will submit to federal oversight, buy back some defective vehicles from owners, and pay up to $105 million in penalties and remediation—the largest such settlement yet imposed by the Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The company must pay a $70-million cash penalty—equal to the record $70 million civil penalty the agency imposed on Honda in January. In addition, Fiat Chrysler must spend at least $20 million on meeting performance requirements included in the Consent Order. Another $15 million could come due if the independent monitor discovers additional violations of the Safety Act or the Consent Order.
GM opens new $14M Active Safety Test Area at Milford; 22 different active safety technologies across GM MY2016 US lineup; V2V and autonomous driving
July 25, 2015
GM officially opened its new $14-million, 52-acre Active Safety Test Area at its Milford Proving Ground near Detroit. GM’s brands—Chevrolet, Buick GMC and Cadillac will offer 22 different active safety technologies across their 2016 model year US lineups, ranging from driver alerts to those that automatically intervene and assist the driver in critical situations.
Safety engineers will develop and test these and other safety technologies for products around the world at the new Active Safety Test Area. Cynthia Bay, director of Active Safety Electronics and Controls said the facility is also ideal for testing vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technologies, which will be standard on the 2017 Cadillac CTS.
The most recent J.D. Power APEAL study found that the increasing number of safety-related technologies equipping new vehicles are making those vehicles more appealing to their owners. (Earlier post.)
J.D. Power: growing usage of safety technologies in new vehicles contributes to increasing vehicle appeal
July 24, 2015
The safety-related technologies with which manufacturers are increasingly equipping their new vehicles are making those vehicles more appealing to their owners, according to the J.D. Power 2015 US Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study.
The APEAL Study, now in its 20th year, examines how gratifying a new vehicle is to own and drive. Owners evaluate their vehicle across 77 attributes, which combine into an overall APEAL Index score that is measured on a 1,000-point scale. The overall APEAL score has increased by 4 points year over year to 798 in 2015. The study finds that some safety features can contribute to a significant boost in APEAL scores. For example, the overall score among owners of vehicles with blind-spot monitoring and warning systems is 38 points higher than among those without them.
New safety test environment for high-speed flywheels for energy storage systems; new high-speed imaging techniques
July 07, 2015
The Ricardo-led FlySafe research collaboration—involving a range of leading industrial and academic partners including the University of Brighton’s Centre for Automotive Engineering—has delivered an innovative flywheel safety test environment to enable the development of next-generation flywheel energy storage systems.
The FlySafe project is investigating the potential failure mechanisms and behaviors of high-speed flywheel systems. Operating at extremely high rotational speeds, these systems offer a practical and potentially cost-effective mechanical means of saving fuel and reducing carbon emissions through the mechanical storage and reuse of energy in applications such as regenerative braking. The FlySafe research aims to provide best-practice design guidelines for the safety containment systems of high speed flywheels, appropriate for commercial mass market deployment of these systems. A key output of the project in this respect will be a proposed BSI flywheel safety standard.
Jaguar Land Rover’s Sixth Sense R&D: monitoring driver heart rate, respiration and brain activity to reduce accidents
June 23, 2015
Jaguar Land Rover revealed a set of new road safety technology research projects being developed to reduce the number of accidents caused by drivers who are stressed, distracted and not concentrating on the road ahead.
The Jaguar Land Rover “Sixth Sense” research projects utilizes advanced technology from sports, medicine and aerospace, to monitor the driver’s heart rate, respiration and levels of brain activity to identify driver stress, fatigue and lack of concentration. The UK-based team is also looking at innovations that would reduce the amount of time the driver’s eyes are off the road while driving, and how to communicate with the driver via pulses and vibrations through the accelerator pedal.
US DOT releases summary of vehicle-to-pedestrian technologies; 86 V2P technologies ID’d so far
June 05, 2015
The US Department of Transportation (USDOT) has released a summary of available vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P) technologies. The objective of the technical scan was to review available literature and to scan existing technology to identify pedestrian collision warning applications and assess their suitability to be adopted under the Intelligent Transportation System Joint Program Office (ITS JPO) Connected Vehicle Program.
The scan and subsequent database outlines the current V2P technological landscape. In total, 86 V2P technologies have been identified. While a number of the technologies are camera-based (17), others are likely to gain traction as the broader technological landscape evolves-making more advanced devices more easily accessible and less expensive. The data base also include crowd-sourced technologies such as WAZE.
Study using real-world data finds low speed autonomous emergency braking leads to 38% reduction in rear-end crashes
May 13, 2015
A study by a team of researchers from Europe, Australia and New Zealand has found that Low Speed AEB (autonomous emergency braking) technology leads to a 38% reduction in real-world rear-end crashes. The study, published in the journal of Accident Analysis & Prevention, also found that there is no significant difference between urban and rural crash benefits. The study also concluded that Low Speed AEB technology needs widespread fitment for maximum benefits.
Autonomous Emergency Braking is one of the more promising safety technologies that is becoming increasingly common on modern passenger cars. The low speed option normally consists of an automatic brake function that operates for speeds up to 30 km/h or 50 km/h (18.6 mph and 31 mph). Previous studies have predicted significant expected benefits of AEB technology in low speed rear-end crashes but, so far, there has been little evidence that they really work.