[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.]
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.
Chevy Spark and Sonic first to offer Eyes Free mode integration with Apple’s Siri
November 27, 2012
Early next year, the Chevrolet Spark (1LT, 2LT) and Sonic LTZ and RS will integrate Apple’s Siri “Eyes Free” voice recognition technology; GM is the first automaker to implement the technology in production vehicles.
Apple had announced in June that it was working with automakers to integrate Siri (which officially still is in Beta) into select voice control systems. Through the cars’ standard Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system, customers with a compatible iPhone running iOS 6 can direct Siri to perform a number of tasks while they keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel.
Mercedes-Benz previews next-generation intelligent safety and driver assistance systems; “sensor fusion”
November 22, 2012
|Mercedes-Benz “Intelligent Drive” systems. Click to enlarge.|
Mercedes-Benz has augmented its driver assistance systems with new functions which are now able to support the driver in a broader range of situations. Using advanced sensor technology, they are able to monitor the area around the vehicle, providing the driver with warnings and support, and reducing driver workload. Mercedes-Benz calls the combination of sensors and systems to support these systems “Intelligent Drive”.
Mercedes-Benz recently previewed its next-generation intelligent safety and driver assistance systems for the next S-Class, which will make its own debut next year, at an “Intelligent Drive” TecDay in Stuttgart.
Toyota Motor introducing three new automated driver assistance safety systems; begins operations at new ITS Proving Ground
November 12, 2012
|TMC says that its PCS is effective at higher speeds. Click to enlarge.|
Toyota Motor Corporation has developed and will deploy in select upcoming vehicles three new automated driver assistance/safety systems: a Pre-Collision System (PCS) with collision avoidance that is effective at higher speeds; Intelligent Clearance Sonar that uses sonar to detect obstacles hidden from the driver’s view, automatically applying the brakes if the vehicle is at risk of collision; and Drive-start Control to control engine output to mitigate collisions that may occur as a result of erroneous gear shifting or pedal misapplication while the vehicle is stationary or moving at low speed.
TMC also began full-scale operations at its ITS Proving Ground, a new test site—within the grounds of the Higashi-Fuji Technical Center in Susono City, Shizuoka Prefecture—established with the aim of reducing traffic accidents through Intelligent Transport System (ITS) technology. The new 3.5-hectare ITS Proving Ground simulates an urban environment with faithfully replicated roads and traffic signals. The site is equipped with a road-to-vehicle communications system consisting of a vehicle detection system, a pedestrian detection system, a course monitoring system, traffic signals and control devices.
BMW showcasing urban mobility connectivity applications at ITS World Congress
October 23, 2012
The BMW Group is showcasing developments from BMW ConnectedDrive at the ITS World Congress this week in Vienna under the slogan “BMW Urban Mobility”. BMW ConnectedDrive is the BMW Group’s definition of Intelligent Traffic Systems (ITS); the BMW stand at the Congress presents App- and vehicle-based routing functions, safety systems and solutions for mobility on two wheels.
Mobility Assistant. The Mobility Assistant, currently being tested in Berlin as an iPhone app, provides individual, intermodal navigation. When one enters a destination, the mobility assistant will display various routes to allow reaching this destination cost-effectively and quickly—whether travelling by car, using suburban public transport or combining the two modes of travel.
New joint report outlines EU and US cooperation on connected vehicle standards
October 22, 2012
The United States and the European Union (EU) have been working together under a 2009 implementation agreement to develop coordinated research programs to foster international connected vehicle technology and international harmonization of the technology and standards necessary for broad deployment of connected vehicle systems.
To highlight the progress of this bilateral effort, the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) and the European Commission Directorate General for Communication Networks, Content and Technology (CONNECT) have now published the report “International Deployment of Cooperative Intelligent Transportation Systems: Bilateral Efforts of the European Commission and United States Department of Transportation.” The report describes joint accomplishments and future plans in the areas of connected vehicle safety, standards harmonization, sustainability applications, assessment tools, and driver distraction and human-machine interaction (HMI).
Fujitsu Ten developing compact 3D electronic scan mm-wave radar for automotive applications; delivery in 2014
October 19, 2012
|2D vs. 3D scanning. Click to enlarge.|
Fujitsu Ten Ltd. has developed a compact 77 GHz three-dimensional electronic scan millimeter-wave radar for automotive applications that is capable of detecting an object in three dimensions, including the elevation range in addition to distance and azimuth range. While making further improvements, the company intends to deliver this product to automobile manufacturers from 2014.
This developed product is for frontward detection usage. By sensing the three dimensions—elevation, distance and azimuth—the product can the product can identify obstacles on the road more reliably from further away. The company will describe the new radar unit in a paper at the 19th ITS World Congress.
Honda demonstrating car and motorcycle V2X communication at ITS World Congress 2012
Honda Motor Co., Ltd. will participate in the 19th World ITS Congress from 22–26 October 2012 with a demonstration of automobile and motorcycle V2X communication—how its vehicles can communicate both with each other and with road-side infrastructure to benefit road safety, the environment, driver comfort and convenience. Congress participants can also experience for themselves Honda’s ITS equipped Insight hybrid and an ITS Honda motorcycle (NC700X) by participating in the joint Car2Car and Testfeld Telematic Consortium demonstration around Vienna.
The Honda stand will showcase intelligent transportation system (ITS) technologies and vehicles covering 3 thematic uses: safety ITS, environment ITS and comfort ITS.
Nissan introducing independent control electric steering technology; to be deployed on select Infiniti models within a year
October 17, 2012
|Components of the next-generation steering system. Click to enlarge.|
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. unveiled the first steering technology that allows independent control of a vehicle’s tire angle and steering inputs. This next-generation steering technology was developed by Nissan and will be deployed on select Infiniti models on sale within one year.
A conventional steering system directs tire movements by transmitting steering inputs to the tires via a mechanical link. Nissan’s next-generation steering technology interprets driver input via force applied to the steering wheel, which is fed to the system’s multiple redundant Electronic Control Units (ECUs). The ECUs translate this into instructions to the steering angle actuator, which causes the front wheels to turn. At the same time, the system transmits information from the road—in effect, what the wheels re feeling—from the steering angle actuator back to the ECUs. The ECUs then filter this information, passing on to the steering wheel only the feedback that the driver needs.
For example, even on a road surface with minor ridges or furrows, the driver no longer has to grip the steering wheel tightly and make detailed adjustments, so traveling on the intended path becomes easier.
The result is that the systems transmits the driver’s intentions to the wheels even faster than a mechanical system and increases the direct driving performance feel by quickly and intelligently communicating road surface feedback to the driver.
Accompanying this next-generation steering technology, Nissan has also developed a camera-based straight-line stability system to further enhance on-center driving capability. Another first, this system improves vehicle stability by making small input angle adjustments so the vehicle will accurately trace and continue as planned in the lane it is traveling.
If the vehicle direction changes due to road surface or crosswinds, the system acts to minimize the effect of these conditions resulting in reduced steering input from the driver.
Using a camera mounted above the vehicle’s rearview mirror, the system analyzes the road ahead, recognizes the lane direction, detects changes in the vehicle’s direction, and transmits this information to multiple electronic control units as electronic signals. If a discrepancy occurs, the system acts to reduce the discrepancy by controlling the opposing force to the tire angle. By reducing the frequency of detailed steering input adjustments, which are a cause of fatigue on long drives, the driver’s workload is greatly reduced.
This next-generation steering technology's high reliability is achieved by multiple ECUs. In the event a single ECU malfunctions, another ECU will instantly take control, and in extreme circumstances such as the power supply being disrupted, the backup clutch will act to connect the steering wheel and wheels mechanically, enabling continued safe travel.
Autonomous Emergency Steering System. Separately, in another steering technology development, Nissan announced its “Autonomous Emergency Steering System.”
This system offers a high level of collision avoidance capability by applying automatic braking and automatic steering in situations where a collision is imminent and evading obstacles by braking may not be effective. The system takes effect in situations where unpredictable risks arise, such as sudden intrusions onto the road in low speed zones, or when a collision at high speed is imminent due to the driver's delayed recognition of the tail end of a traffic jam.
Nissan has long worked on the development and commercialization of brake-based control technology. The company has recently promoted development of technology to deal with situations that cannot be mitigated through braking alone. In order to prevent an accident from occurring, technology is needed to identify potential obstacles. Nissan has succeeded in developing technology which, through high-precision sensing technology and on-board control technology, automatically steers the vehicle away from potential collisions, when braking alone is insufficient.
The Autonomous Emergency Steering System, using the information provided by the front-mounted radar and camera, the two left and right rear radars, and the five laser scanners attached around the vehicle, initially acts on a risk of collision that cannot be avoided by braking. Simultaneously, it checks if there is a forward zone free of obstacles and that there are no vehicles approaching from the rear, and then displays to the driver the direction that the vehicle should be steered. If the driver cannot immediately steer in that direction, the system takes over to automatically steer the vehicle to help avoid a collision.
|Click to enlarge.|
Volvo Car Corporation intends to lead in field of autonomous driving technology; targeting the next-generation of consumers
September 17, 2012
Volvo Car Corporation intends to gain leadership in the field of autonomous driving as the next major step forward in vehicle safety. Autonomous driving—the self-driving car—gives the human driver the ability safely to do something else besides drive, such as sending text messages or reading a book while the car drives itself. It will also likely be an important capability for attracting the next-generation of auto consumers, says Volvo Car Corporation President and CEO Stefan Jacoby.
The first focus areas in Volvo Car Corporation’s technology development are autonomous driving in slow-moving queues and, for the longer-term, road trains on motorways, as exemplified by the recently concluded SARTRE project. (Earlier post.)
GM leading current industry evaluation of BioRID rear impact crash dummies
August 28, 2012
|The BioRID ATD. Click to enlarge.|
General Motors, which has a long history of crash test dummy design, is leading current research on the potential for global auto industry use of a test dummy that would help automakers and safety experts better understand how crash victims are hurt in rear impacts.
The dummy, called BioRID (Biofidelic Rear Impact Dummy), was designed by Chalmers University in Gothenburg, Sweden in 1999 for seat restraint assessment, and is now manufactured by Humanetics Innovative Solutions. Its distinguishing feature is its vertebral column, which comprises 24 separate vertebra: 5 lumbar, 12 thoracic, and 7 cervical. A combination of torsion washers, urethane bumpers, and muscle-simulating springs provide biofidelic performance. The vertebral column is installed inside a silicone jacket featuring pin linkages to the vertebra and a water filled bladder in the abdominal region.
US DOT launches largest-yet road test of V2X connected vehicle crash avoidance technology
August 21, 2012
|Safety Pilot Model Deployment site plan. Source: UMTRI. Click to enlarge.|
The US Department of Transportation (DOT) today launched the largest-yet road test of connected vehicle crash avoidance technology in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Earlier post.) Nearly 3,000 cars, trucks and buses equipped with connected Wi-Fi technology to enable vehicles and infrastructure to communicate with each other in real time to help avoid crashes and improve traffic flow will begin traversing Ann Arbor’s streets as part of the year-long safety pilot project.
Conducted by University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), the Safety Pilot Model Deployment is a first-of-its-kind test of connected vehicle technology in the real world. The test cars, trucks and buses, most of which have been supplied by volunteer participants, are equipped with vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication devices (collectively, V2X) that will gather extensive data about system operability and its effectiveness at reducing crashes.
New mobile phone app identifies driver phone use, enabling action to reduce distracted driving
August 14, 2012
A team from Rutgers University and Stevens Institute of Technology have designed and tested a smart phone application that can pinpoint where in the car a cell phone user is sitting—i.e., on the driver’s side or the passenger’s side—and then take steps to reduce distractions if its user is a driver.
For example, it can silently forward incoming calls and texts to message boxes for later retrieval. It could also respond automatically to a caller or texter, saying that the owner is currently driving and will reply later. Or it could offer to put a voice call through if a caller or texter indicates the matter is urgent.
Ford contributing 20 vehicles to simTD V2X trials
August 06, 2012
|Ford is beginning real-world testing of V2X technologies such as Electronic Brake Light (i.e., to alert for an out-of-sight braking event, e.g., smaller car in front of larger van as illustrated) as part of the simTD trials. Click to enlarge.|
Ford Motor Company is contributing 20 specially equipped S-MAX models to the simTD V2X (vehicle-to-x) project now underway in Germany. (Earlier post, earlier post.) The simTD project is fielding a fleet of 120 vehicles to to test 20 experimental driver assistance technologies. The project’s goal is to better understand the potential for car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communication technologies to improve traffic safety and personal mobility.
The increasing use of car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure technology is part of Ford’s “Blueprint for Mobility,” which was outlined by Executive Chairman Bill Ford during his keynote address at the 2012 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February. (Earlier post.) The “Blueprint for Mobility” details the company’s early thinking on how to tackle the issues of mobility in an increasingly crowded and urbanized planet between now and 2025.
TRL: all European cars to be fitted with autonomous emergency braking
July 31, 2012
The UK’s TRL (Transport Research Laboratory) reports that new regulations soon to be brought in by the European Commission will mean that all new cars will be fitted with autonomous emergency braking technology (AEB). TRL has carried out several analyses of AEBS (Advanced Emergency Braking Systems) and LDWS (Lane Departure Warning Systems) for the European Commission.
AEB systems work using radar, lidar (laser) or video technology, which sends a signal to warn the driver of a collision about to occur and primes the brakes. Some versions of the technology are also able to deal with collisions likely to occur when vehicles are travelling at a higher speed. These systems will also be able to see if a pedestrian has ventured onto the road and apply the brakes before impact.
GM developing Wi-Fi Direct driver assistance systems for wireless pedestrian and bicyclist detection
July 26, 2012
General Motors researchers are developing a driver assistance feature potentially capable of detecting pedestrians and bicyclists on congested streets or in poor-visibility conditions. The feature relies on Wi-Fi Direct, a peer-to-peer (P2P) wireless standard that can allow mobile devices such as smartphones to communicate directly with each other rather than through a shared access point such as a cell phone tower.
GM researchers have determined Wi-Fi Direct can be integrated with other sensor-based object detection and driver alert systems already available on production vehicles to help detect pedestrians and bicyclists carrying smartphones also equipped with Wi-Fi Direct. GM is looking to develop a complementary app for Wi-Fi Direct-capable smartphones that can be downloaded by frequent road users such as “bike messenger” or “construction worker” that will help Wi-Fi Direct-equipped vehicles identify them.
Battelle completing multi-year safety testing program for compressed hydrogen storage systems for vehicles
July 16, 2012
Battelle is wrapping up a multi-year safety testing program—including the development of test methods and then conducting the safety tests—for 350 bar and 700 bar hydrogen storage systems for use in vehicles. Battelle won a competitive bid contract in 2008 for the program from the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Battelle has for decades served as an integral resource for developing safety test methods for new vehicle technology; the institute provides NHTSA data and information that the agency can use to establish the federal motor vehicle safety standards for new vehicles, said Dr. Denny Stephens, Research Leader for Integrated Vehicle and Transportation Systems at Battelle, who led and managed the team on the hydrogen testing project.
Volvo Car Corporation developing new safety systems with autonomous driving support
July 09, 2012
Volvo Car Corp. is developing several new safety systems—factoring in driver behavior in the modern traffic environment—towards achieving its 2020 goal that nobody should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car.
Modern driver behavior has significantly changed from past behavior, Volvo says, noting that surveys from three different research institutes in the US show that modern drivers spend 25 to 30% of their time behind the wheel doing other things, such as focusing on mobile communication. Since these situations affect the driver’s attention on the road, they have to be taken into account when developing new technologies.
euroFOT study demonstrates how driver assistance systems can increase safety and fuel efficiency
June 26, 2012
|euroFOT brought together 28 partners testing 8 functionalities using more than 1,000 vehicles. Source: euroFOT. Click to enlarge.|
The euroFOT consortium published the findings of a four-year study focused on the impact of driver assistance systems in the Europe. The €22-million (US$27.4-million ) European Field Operational Test (euroFOT) project—which began in June 2008 and involved 28 companies and organisations—was led by Aria Etemad from Ford’s European Research Centre in Aachen, Germany.
The study looked at existing technologies and their potential to both enhance safety and reduce environmental impact. euroFOT also revealed a link between these systems and improvements in driver behavior, fuel efficiency and traffic safety, as well as overall cost savings.
New A-Class to offer radar-based collision prevention assist as standard along with array of other advanced safety options; fuel consumption down by up to 35%
|Mercedes-Benz A-Class, A 180 CDI Click to enlarge.|
Mercedes-Benz’s new 5-seat A-Class hatchback, which will offer a range of engines from 80 kW (109 hp) to 155 kW (211 hp) (earlier post), with emissions as low as 98 g of CO2/km and a best-in-class drag coefficient of 0.27, will also include in the standard specification a radar-based Collision Prevention Assist system.
The A 180 CDI will be the first Mercedes-Benz to emit only 98 g of CO2 per kilometer. The A 220 CDI (available from December 2012) already meets the Euro 6 emission standard which only comes into force in 2015. All engines of the new A-Class feature the ECO start/stop function as standard. The engines can be combined with the new six-speed manual transmission or optionally with the 7G-DCT dual clutch automatic transmission. Fuel consumption is down by up to 35% compared to comparable preceding models, accompanied by a considerable power increase.
EPA researcher calls for development of evaluation methodologies and tools to understand positive and negative impacts of algae industry
June 22, 2012
While algae are among the most potentially significant sources of sustainable biofuels in the future of renewable energy, issues remain regarding human exposure to algae-derived toxins, allergens, and carcinogens from both existing and genetically modified organisms (GMOs), as well as the overall environmental impact of GMOs, according to a critical literature review paper by Marc Y. Menetrez of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Risk Management Research Laboratory, Air Pollution Prevention and Control Division.
In a paper published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology Menetrez identifies and discusses human exposure and environmental impact issues, as well as current research and development activities of academic, commercial, and governmental groups.
GM studying operator behavior in semi-autonomous vehicle operation; increased driver focus on road ahead
June 20, 2012
General Motors and its research partners recently studied how non-driving activities influence driver behavior in self-steering, semi-autonomous vehicles. The researchers are preparing a report on the work, which is still a few months away from publication; however, one key finding is that driver attentiveness can be improved through advanced driver assistance and safety features.
The GM study examined the demands on the driver’s visual attention in hands-on steering and automated steering, both with full-speed range adaptive cruise control engaged. The studies took place in a driving simulator at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis and with Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) on a GM test track in Michigan.
WHO IARC classifies diesel exhaust as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1)
June 13, 2012
After a week-long meeting of an expert working group, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization (WHO), classified diesel engine exhaust (DEE) as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1), based on sufficient evidence that exposure is associated with an increased risk for lung cancer. The summary of the evaluation will appear in The Lancet Oncology as an online publication ahead of print on 15 June 2012.
The working group also concluded that gasoline exhaust was possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B), a finding unchanged from a previous evaluation in 1989. In 1988, IARC classified diesel exhaust as probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A). An Advisory Group which reviews and recommends future priorities for the IARC Monographs Program had recommended diesel exhaust as a high priority for re-evaluation since 1998.
FTA to award $400K for pedestrian/cyclist collision warning system on buses
June 10, 2012
The US Federal Transit Administration (FTA) will award (FTA-2012-010-TRI) up to $400,000 for one or more pilot projects to increase pedestrian/cyclist safety through demonstration of advanced pedestrian warning system on transit buses.
As background for the award, FTA notes that pedestrians represent a considerable portion of traffic-related (cars, trucks and transit) injuries and deaths on our nation’s highways. In 2008, 4,378 pedestrians were killed and 69,000 were injured in traffic crashes in the United States. This represents 12% and 3% of all the traffic fatalities and injuries, respectively. The majority of these fatalities occurred in urban areas (72%) where pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicular traffic, including transit buses, commingle.
US Transportation Secretary LaHood issues “Blueprint for Ending Distracted Driving”; $2.4M for California, Delaware pilot projects
June 07, 2012
US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood released a “Blueprint for Ending Distracted Driving” that offers a strategy to address the growing and dangerous practice of driver’s use of handheld cell phones behind the wheel. While unveiling the plan, Secretary LaHood also announced $2.4 million in federal support for California and Delaware that will expand DOT’s “Phone in One Hand, Ticket in the Other” pilot enforcement campaign to reduce distracted driving.
The “Blueprint for Ending Distracted Driving” outlines a plan that builds on the steps that Secretary LaHood and USDOT have taken for the last three years. Recognizing the extent and complexity of the problem, the plan:
SARTRE road train premieres on public roads; focus now shifts to fuel consumption
May 28, 2012
|SARTRE public road test. Click to enlarge.|
Vehicle platoon tests in the SARTRE (Safe Road Trains for the Environment) project—a joint venture between Ricardo UK Ltd, Applus+ Idiada, Tecnalia Research & Innovation, Institut für Kraftfahrzeuge Aachen (IKA), SP Technical Research Institute, Volvo Technology and Volvo Car Corporation—are making progress. (Earlier post.)
For the first time a road train comprising a Volvo XC60, a Volvo V60 and a Volvo S60 plus one truck automatically driving in convoy behind a lead vehicle has operated on a public motorway among other road users.
New DOT research shows drivers support connected vehicle technology, appreciate potential safety benefits
May 23, 2012
|Participants in the driver acceptance clinics strongly desired the V2V safety features. Source: DOT. Click to enlarge.|
An overwhelming majority of drivers who have experienced technology that allows vehicles to communicate with each other have a highly favorable opinion of its safety benefits, according to data released by the US Department of Transportation (DOT).
Together, the DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Research and Innovation Technology Administration (RITA) have been working with the auto industry, state and federal partners to research the effectiveness and feasibility of connected vehicle technology that enables vehicles to "talk" to one another (vehicle-to-vehicle, V2V) with Wi-Fi-like technology that could help prevent crashes altogether. (Earlier post.)
NHTSA proposes federal rule requiring electronic stability control systems on large commercial trucks and buses
May 17, 2012
The US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed a new federal motor vehicle safety standard to require electronic stability control (ESC) systems on large commercial trucks, motorcoaches, and other large buses (gross vehicle weight rating of greater than 11,793 kg / 26,000 lbs) for the first time.
ESC systems use engine torque control and computer-controlled braking of individual wheels to assist the driver in maintaining control of the vehicle and maintaining its heading in situations in which the vehicle is becoming roll unstable (i.e., wheel lift potentially leading to rollover) or experiencing loss of control (i.e., deviation from driver’s intended path due to understeer, oversteer, trailer swing or any other yaw motion leading to directional loss of control).