[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.]
Volvo Car Group in multi-year, large-scale pilot project with autonomous cars on public roads
December 02, 2013
Volvo Car Group will take a leading role in the first large-scale autonomous driving pilot project in which 100 self-driving Volvo cars will use public roads in everyday driving conditions around the Swedish city of Gothenburg.
The project “Drive Me – Self-driving cars for sustainable mobility” is a joint initiative between Volvo Car Group, the Swedish Transport Administration, the Swedish Transport Agency, Lindholmen Science Park and the City of Gothenburg. The aim of the “Drive Me” project, which is endorsed by the Swedish Government, is to pinpoint the societal benefits of autonomous driving and position Sweden and Volvo Cars as leaders in the development of future mobility.
Ford recalling Focus Electrics over electric powertrain propulsion failure
November 27, 2013
Ford Motor is recalling certain model year 2012-2014 Focus Electric vehicles manufactured from 15 September 15, 2011 through August 23, 2013. In the affected vehicles, a powertrain control module software fault may result in a sudden loss of motive power, increasing the risk of a crash.
According to the defect information report Ford filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 2,456 vehicles in the US and federalized territories are potentially affected. According to Ford’s monthly electrified vehicle sales and production report, the company has produced 2,911 units of the battery-electric vehicle in total through October 2013.
TNO developing V2V Cooperative Automatic Emergency Braking system to help prevent accidents with cyclists
November 26, 2013
Dutch research organization TNO is developing a Cooperative Automatic Emergency Braking system (CAEB) for cars and trucks to help prevent accidents with cyclists, especially at and near junctions. The system relies on vehicle-to-vehicle communication between bikes, cars and trucks.
The system is based on TNO’s intelligent Vehicle Safety Platform (iVSP)—the same platform that enables automatic driving. The iVSP draws on various information sources (radar, communication, map data), seamlessly combining these data with the information gained from vehicle sensors and other information sources (surrounding infrastructure, bikes, pedestrians). With CAEB, the bicycle transmits its own position and speed with the aid of wireless communication, GPS and internal sensors.
Toyota unveils Driver Awareness Research Vehicle
November 21, 2013
|DAR-V’s personalized information display on the side window. Click to enlarge.|
Toyota used the Los Angeles Auto Show as the forum at which to unveil a Driver Awareness Research Vehicle (DAR-V). The DAR-V was developed in partnership with Microsoft Research to help reduce driver distractions before the key is even in the ignition. Utilizing Microsoft technologies such as Kinect, the interactive systems integrated into the design of the vehicle display important, highly personalized information on the side window when the driver approaches the car.
Using a combination of gesture control, voice and the key fob, drivers can navigate information such as updates on traffic and the weather, appointments and schedules for the day ahead, and even route details that might include a gas station if the vehicle is low on fuel. By addressing these critical daily priorities before even setting foot in the vehicle, a driver potentially has more mental bandwidth to focus on driving, Toyota suggests.
Mazda suspends dealership test drives showcasing Smart City Brake Support after injury accident
November 12, 2013
Mazda is suspending all test drives intended to showcase the accident avoidance features of Smart City Brake Support until the cause of an accident with injuries in Japan involving the technology has been established and countermeasures taken.
On 10 November, there was an accident causing injury to a customer and a dealership employee during a test drive event to demonstrate safety features using a Mazda CX-5. The demonstration was organized and held by a company called Sakata Jidosha Kogyo, which runs three Mazda Autozam dealerships in Japan’s Saitama prefecture.
Euro NCAP releases first results of testing with autonomous emergency braking systems
October 29, 2013
|The tested AEB systems can offer two functions: automatic braking and forward collision warning. Source: NCAP. Click to enlarge.|
Euro NCAP (European New Car Assessment Programme) released the first results of rear-end crash avoidance systems tested against the upcoming 2014 rating protocol. The testing compared 8 vehicles with respect to their performance on the test track.
Real world claims data suggest that Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) systems can reduce rear-end crashes by one quarter or more and lead to a significant reduction of injuries. From January 2014, Euro NCAP will give credit in its rating scheme to vehicle manufacturers that equip their models with robust forward collision warning and/or automatic braking technology.
Panasonic develops high precision, wide field of view millimeter-wave radar technology for automotive applications
October 15, 2013
|The new high-precision radar keeps close objects separated. Click to enlarge.|
Millimeter-wave radar is capable of detecting pedestrians and other vehicles in night time and under poor weather conditions. Panasonic Corporation has developed high precision, wide field of view millimeter-wave technologies that are able to detect cars, pedestrians and bicycles separately in less than 0.1 seconds, on the condition that they are separated by 20 cm.
These technologies will be applied to 79GHz radar, and utilized in detection sensors to avoid accidents occurring at intersections, accelerating the adoption of advanced safety support systems. These technologies also allow the operation of multiple millimeter radars, enables for a wider field of view (FOV) system.
Toyota to launch advanced driving support system using automated driving technologies in mid-2010s; new pedestrian safety system
October 11, 2013
Toyota Motor Corporation has developed a next-generation advanced driving support system—Automated Highway Driving Assist (AHDA)—which uses automated driving technologies to support safer highway driving.
AHDA links two automated driving technologies to support safer driving and reduce driver workload: Cooperative-adaptive Cruise Control, which wirelessly communicates with preceding vehicles to maintain a safe distance; and Lane Trace Control, which aids steering to keep the vehicle on an optimal driving line within the lane.
Nissan LEAF with semi-autonomous driver assistance systems cleared for public road testing in Japan; moving to Autonomous Drive
September 26, 2013
|The LEAF with semi-autonomous ADAS. Click to enlarge.|
Nissan President and CEO Carlos Ghosn took delivery of Japan’s first license plate for a car equipped with semi-autonomous advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). It clears the way for a Nissan LEAF equipped with the technology to be tested on the public roads in Japan for the first time. The research program will accelerate the development of technologies fundamental to Autonomous Drive (AD).
The systems are designed to allow the driver to manually take over control at any time. The license plate includes the number 2020, which reflects Nissan's goal to be ready with multiple, commercially-viable Autonomous Drive vehicles by the year 2020. (Earlier post.)
SwRI to launch Automotive Consortium for Embedded Security (ACES)
As vehicles become increasingly dependent on computers to operate integrated systems, from engine timing to anti-lock brakes, it is crucial to safeguard those systems from outside threats. To investigate leading-edge technologies and understand and reduce the risk of attack, Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) is forming the Automotive Consortium for Embedded Security (ACES).
The joint industry program aims to provide pre-competitive and non-competitive research in automotive embedded systems security to protect the safety, reliability, brand image, trade secrets and privacy of client members’ future products. It is open to original equipment manufacturers and affiliated businesses in the automotive industry.
Ko-Fas project finds cooperative transponders and cooperative perception technology could bring significant road safety benefits
September 25, 2013
The 17 partners—including vehicle manufacturers BMW and Daimler; suppliers Continental and Delphi; and universities, institutes of applied science and research establishments—in Germany’s €25-million (US$34-million), 4-year Cooperative Vehicle Safety (Ko-FAS) research initiative presented the final results from the project last week in Aschaffenburg, Germany. The results showed that use of cooperative transponder technologies in combination with cooperative perception technologies could bring important benefits for road safety.
The aim of this project was to improve road safety significantly, with an attendant reduction in the number of road traffic accidents and fatalities. The approach centered on accurate detection of traffic environments using cooperative sensing and perception, comprehensive situation assessment to precisely evaluate collision risks, and subsequent activation of appropriate advance protection measures.
NHTSA adds rearview video systems to list of recommended safety technologies to encourage broader use
The US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will add rearview video systems to its list of recommended features under its New Car Assessment Program (NCAP). NHTSA made the addition to the list of Recommended Advanced Technology Features to encourage improved rearview visibility for the nation’s motor vehicle fleet and to help prevent backover accidents while NHTSA researches implementation of a rear visibility rule in the form of an amendment to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) Nº 111 (rearview mirrors).
NHTSA will be including rearview video systems into the NCAP program in two phases. First, starting immediately, the agency will begin to identify on www.safercar.gov vehicle models that have rearview video systems. Next, as soon as the agency is able to verify that the vehicle model has a rearview video system meeting certain basic criteria, the agency will recognize those vehicle models as having this Recommended Advanced Technology Feature on www.safercar.gov.
Mercedes-Benz S-Class INTELLIGENT DRIVE drives autonomously over 100km interurban and urban route with near-production technology
September 11, 2013
|Networked sensor systems of the S 500 INTELLIGENT DRIVE research vehicle. Click to enlarge.|
Mercedes-Benz has demonstrated the feasibility of autonomous driving on both interurban and urban routes with its S 500 INTELLIGENT DRIVE research vehicle. The company set the vehicle to cover a 100 km (62-mile) route from Mannheim to Pforzheim—retracing that taken by motoring pioneer Bertha Benz exactly 125 years ago when she set off on the first long-distance drive.
The self-driving S-Class had to deal autonomously with a number of highly complex situations such as traffic lights, roundabouts, pedestrians, cyclists and trams. The successful drive was achieved with the aid of near-production-standard technology, very similar to that already found in the new E and S-Class. The project thus marks a milestone along the way that leads from the self-propelled (automobile) to the self-driving (autonomous) vehicle, the company said.
Honda demonstrates advanced vehicle-to-pedestrian and vehicle-to-motorcycle connected vehicle safety technologies
August 29, 2013
In Detroit, Honda demonstrated two experimental safety technologies based on Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) aimed at reducing the potential for collisions between automobiles and pedestrians and between automobiles and motorcycles.
These new technologies Vehicle-to-Pedestrian (V2P) and Vehicle-to-Motorcycle (V2M) technologies, while still in the research and testing phase, are part of a comprehensive effort being undertaken by Honda to develop leading-edge safety and driver assistive systems that can help predict and avoid traffic accidents through advanced sensing and communications technologies.
Tesla says Model S comes out on top in US-NCAP crash testing with lowest Vehicle Safety Score
August 21, 2013
|Formulation of the overall vehicle rating according to US-NCAP based on weighted Relative Risk Scores (RRS). Source: NHTSA. Click to enlarge.|
Tesla Motors announced that in recent US-NCAP (New Car Assessment Program) testing, the Model S earned an overall 5-star safety rating from NHTSA as well as 5 stars in each component test. The Model S also earned the lowest combined total Vehicle Safety Score (VSS) achieved by any vehicle that has undergone that testing since 2011: 0.42. In this case, lower is better: VSS is essentially a weighted average risk of personal injury resulting from the different NCAP crash tests.
The NCAP crash testing is used to formulate the 5-star safety rating applied to vehicles by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). While NHTSA does not publish a star rating above 5, Tesla said that safety levels “better than 5 stars” are captured in the VSS data for the vehicles that have been tested. Based on the data, Tesla said, it achieved a combined record of “5.4 stars”. While the Model S is a sedan, it also exceeded the safety score of all SUVs and minivans, according to Tesla.
Volvo Car Group introducing autonomous steering, other new safety and driver assistance technologies on XC90 next year
July 05, 2013
Volvo Car Group will introduce a number of safety and driver assistance technologies in the all-new Volvo XC90 at the end of 2014, including the use of autonomous steering functions to avoid accidents and make driving more comfortable, according to Thomas Broberg, Senior Safety Advisor Volvo Car Group.
Pedestrian detection at night. According to STRADA (Swedish TRaffic Accident Data Acquisition), 44% of all the pedestrian fatalities occurred in darkness, at dusk or dawn. In the US, the traffic fatality rate is 3–4 times higher in darkness (VTI). Volvo’s new Pedestrian Detection in darkness feature will enable Volvo’s detection and auto braking technology to work effectively at night. The technology includes detection and auto brake for other vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists.
New Freescale microcontroller and 77 GHz radar transceiver chipset for mainstreaming automotive radar
June 25, 2013
Freescale Semiconductor has released its new Qorivva MPC577xK microcontroller (MCU) and MRD2001 77 GHz radar transceiver chipset which provide the embedded technology for affordable radar-based advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) solutions with fewer components, helping increase adoption in mainstream vehicles.
The Qorivva MPC577xK MCU provides the highest level of digital and analog integration in a single-chip solution for radar applications, removing up to four additional major printed circuit board (PCB) components and reducing system-level cost, PCB space and software complexity.
Mercedes-Benz to introduce smartphone-based Car-to-X technology in production vehicles by year-end
June 17, 2013
Mercedes-Benz will introduce Car-to-X (C2X) communication technology into series production vehicles by the end of the year. Through the use of C2X communication, information on potential road traffic dangers can be passed on to drivers at an early stage so that they can take appropriate action and even help to avoid critical situations arising in the first place, the automaker noted. (Earlier post.)
As part of the initial deployment of the technology, Mercedes will use the Drive Kit Plus, which, in combination with a smartphone and the Digital DriveStyle app developed by Mercedes-Benz, turns the vehicle into a simultaneous transmitter and receiver of information.
Cohda, BMW and Honda in V2V motorcycle study as part of DOT Safety Pilot Model Deployment
June 10, 2013
As part of the US Safety Pilot Model Deployment of connected vehicle technologies (earlier post), the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) will launch a motorcycle study to determine how cars, trucks, buses and motorcycles interact using V2V (Vehicle-to-Vehicle) communications technology.
Two tasks will be conducted in the Safety Pilot Model Deployment Geographic Area as a proof of concept for incorporating motorcycles into the connected vehicle environment: motorcycle communications feasibility testing and motorcycle-to-vehicle performance testing. UMTRI has partnered with two motorcycle manufacturers: Honda and BMW. Australia-based Cohda Wireless is providing the V2V connected vehicle equipment.
DOT to award up to $45M for vehicle-to-infrastructure application projects
May 03, 2013
The US Department of Transportation (DOT) is soliciting (FOA DTFH61-13-RA-00004) applications for cooperative pre-competitive projects designed to enable the successful deployment of vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) crash avoidance and driver information applications in passenger vehicles. Projects will last 60 months; estimated total program funding is up to $45 million.
V2I applications are those applications which vehicle-based sensors and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications are not considered adequate for development of information, alerts, or warnings for drivers. These V2I applications require additional information from the infrastructure to be enabled. These applications, however, are vehicle-based, in that they are programs resident in the on-board equipment of the vehicle.
SAE CRP1234-4 analysis of R-1234yf nears completion; finding refrigerant safe and effective in automotive applications
April 23, 2013
The SAE International Cooperative Research Project (CRP1234-4) team, formed last year to perform an updated engineering safety analysis of the low global warming potential (GWP) R-1234yf refrigerant (earlier post), met during the SAE World Congress in Detroit. The team includes European, North American and Asian OEMs including Chrysler/Fiat, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, PSA, Renault and Toyota.
The SAE CRP has carefully evaluated the extensive testing conducted by its members. The fault tree analysis was subsequently updated with regard to actual collision scenarios and is now complete pending final review.
Toshiba launches Visconti3 line of image recognition processors for automotive applications
April 02, 2013
|First device in the new Visconti3 series. Click to enlarge.|
Toshiba Corporation recently launched the third generation of its Visconti series of image recognition processors, Visconti3.
Toshiba initially developed the Visconti series of image recognition processors to advance the creation of camera-based vision systems for automotive applications. The processors recognize traffic lanes, vehicles, pedestrians, traffic signs and more. Both the Visconti2 and 3 series devices incorporate image processing accelerators that detect pedestrians with high level detection ratio in real time.
Honda tests congestion minimization technology on public roads in Indonesia, finds >20% improvement in fuel efficiency
March 21, 2013
|The amount of traffic and pattern of changes in average speed with vehicles equipped with the system. Click to enlarge.|
Honda Motor Co., Ltd. conducted public-road testing of its new traffic congestion minimization technology (earlier post) in Indonesia and verified the effectiveness of the technology in delaying the development of congestion and in improving fuel efficiency by more than 20%. The public-road testing was conducted from September 2012 through February 2013 on a toll road between Ulujami and Pondok Ranji in Jakarta.
Traffic congestion is caused by the disorderly flow of the traffic. Therefore, to minimize congestion, the driver of each vehicle needs to adjust driving behavior to the surrounding vehicles. Honda developed a smartphone app which changes the colors of the smartphone display to help the user to check at a glance whether his/her driving is aligned with surrounding vehicles.
Down to the wire for final round of public voting in DOE Apps for Vehicles challenge
Nearly 40 teams initially submitted ideas for the $50,000 Apps for Vehicles Challenge that seeks to improve safety and fuel efficiency through data innovation. Eight finalists were selected to move on to this second and final phase of the competition based on the business plans and product prototypes they submitted during the first phase.
Volvo Car Group introduces world-first Cyclist Detection with full auto brake
March 05, 2013
Volvo Car Group used the venue of the Geneva Motor Show to introduce new safety technology that detects and automatically brakes for cyclists swerving out in front of the car.
The new functionality is an enhancement of the present detection and auto brake technology, and the package will be called Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection with full auto brake. New advanced software, including more rapid vision processing, has made it possible to extend the present detection and auto brake technology also to cover certain cyclist situations. All cars equipped with pedestrian detection will also incorporate cyclist detection.
GM announces broad global strategy for embedded 4G LTE; first rollout in 2014 with MY2015 vehicles; AT&T first carrier partner
February 25, 2013
|The demo screen of a research Cadillac ATS equipped with 4G LTE connectivity, first shown at the 2013 Mobile World Congress. Click to enlarge.|
At the 2013 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, General Motors announced a broad global strategy to deliver a new generation of connected cars and trucks with embedded 4G LTE mobile broadband, the largest announced deployment of the technology in the automotive industry to date.
Most MY2015 Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac models available in 2014 in the US and Canada will be the first GM cars, trucks and crossovers with embedded 4G LTE; connectivity will be delivered through AT&T. GM will announce more carrier and supplier relationships in coming months to expand 4G LTE capabilities in markets around the globe. (In January, Audi unveiled the 2013 Audi A3 with 4G LTE wireless connectivity, and will be offering a fully integrated LTE link for Audi connect services in the A3 this year. Earlier post.)
TMC unveils Lexus advanced safety research vehicle at CES; elements of autonomous driving, but a focus on better drivers
January 07, 2013
|The Advanced Safety Research Vehicle. Click to enlarge.|
Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) and its Lexus Division unveiled its advanced active safety research vehicle, based on a Lexus LS hybrid, at the International CES today to demonstrate ongoing efforts around automated vehicle safety technologies and explain Toyota’s approach to reducing global traffic fatalities and injuries.
While key components of the research efforts could lead to a fully autonomous car in the future, the vision is not necessarily a car that drives itself. Instead, Toyota and Lexus envision technologies that enhance the skills of the driver, believing a more skillful driver is a safer driver.
Toyota agrees to fund a settlement valued up to $1.4 billion for unintended acceleration cases
December 27, 2012
Toyota has agreed to a settlement valued between $1.2 and $1.4 billion in a class action suit by Toyota vehicle owners who claim that their vehicles are prone to sudden, unexplained acceleration. The estimated settlement is the largest of this type in US history in terms of dollars paid out and number of vehicles involved. The settlement includes direct payments to consumers as well as the installation of a brake-override system in an estimated 3.25 million vehicles.
The case was filed in 2010 after drivers across the country began reporting that Toyota vehicles suddenly and unintentionally accelerated. Toyota has long maintained that the vehicles were free from electronic flaws causing the acceleration.
Continental focusing on automated driving as key long-term technology strategy; receives approval to test automated vehicles on Nevada roads
December 20, 2012
|Vehicle automation is set to be rolled out in stages, starting with partially automated driving from 2016; high levels of automation from 2020; and fully automated systems available from 2025. Click to enlarge.|
The development of products and systems for automated driving is one of the central themes of international automotive supplier Continental’s long-term technology strategy. The Continental Executive Board’s strategic and budget planning for the coming year includes all of the necessary elements that need to be implemented step-by-step across the board so that fully-automated driving becomes reality by 2025, said Dr. Elmar Degenhart, Chairman of the Executive Board of Continental, after the end of the company’s recent Strategy Workshop.
As a reflection of this focus, Continental has just received approval from the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to test autonomous vehicles on the state’s public roads. Continental’s testing license is for the company’s highly automated vehicle, and represents the first license granted by the Nevada DMV to an automotive supplier.
SAE publishes standards for first responders to hybrid, EV accidents; FEMA awards $1M to NAFTC for first responder training
December 13, 2012
SAE International’s Hybrid Technical Committee has completed the technical standard “J2990—Hybrid and EV First and Second Responder Recommended Practice,” which offers recommended practices for emergency personnel responding to incidents involving hybrid or electric vehicles.
Separately, the US Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded a new grant for nearly $1 million to the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC) at West Virginia University for a program to educate the nation’s first responders on the best ways to handle accidents involving alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles. (Earlier post.)
Lotus Engineering Phase 2 lightweighting study for ARB shows crashworthiness of low-mass body structures and potential for cost-effective mass production
December 06, 2012
|Phase 2 body-in-white material usage front three-quarter view. Source: Lotus Engineering. Click to enlarge.|
Building on a Phase 1 Lotus study published in 2010 (earlier post), the Phase 2 study demonstrated the crashworthiness of a low mass body-in-white (BIW) using computer aided analysis and simulation. The study also illustrates how a holistic, total vehicle approach to system mass and cost reduction can help offset the additional cost of a 37% mass reduced body structure. This study’s findings also indicate that the 30% mass-reduced vehicle could be cost-effectively mass-produced in the 2020 timeframe with materials and techniques technically feasible by 2017.