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A collision avoidance system is an automobile safety system designed to reduce the severity of an accident. Also known as precrash system, forward collision warning system or collision mitigating system, it uses radar and sometimes laser and camera sensors to detect an imminent crash. Once the detection is done, these systems either provide a warning to the driver when there is an imminent collision or take action autonomously without any driver input (by braking or steering or both)
In 2011, a question was submitted to the European Commission regarding stimulation of these "collision mitigation by braking" systems. The mandatory fitting of Advanced Emergency Braking Systems in commercial vehicles will be implemented on 1 November 2013 for new vehicle types and on 1 November 2015 for all new vehicles in the European Union. This could, according to the impact assessment, ultimately prevent around 5,000 fatalities and 50,000 serious injuries per year across the EU.
In an important 2012 study by the nonprofit research organization Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, researchers examined how particular features of crash-avoidance systems affected the number of claims under various forms of insurance coverage. They found that two crash-avoidance features provide the biggest benefits: (a) autonomous braking that would brake on its own, if the driver does not, to avoid a forward collision, and (b) adaptive headlights that would shift the headlights in the direction the driver steers. Unexpectedly, they found lane departure systems to be not helpful, and perhaps harmful, at the circa 2012 stage of development.
Collision avoidance features are rapidly making their way into the new vehicle fleet.
The full version of the system (Pre-Sense Plus) works in four phases. In the first phase, the system provides warning of an impending accident, while the hazard warning lights are activated, the side windows and sunroof are closed and the front seat belts are tensioned. In the second phase, the warning is followed by light braking, strong enough to win the driver's attention. The third phase initiates autonomous partial braking at a rate of 3 m/s² (9.8 ft/s²). The fourth phase decelerates the car at 5 m/s² (16.4 ft/s²) followed by automatic deceleration at full braking power, roughly half a second before projected impact.
A second system, called (Pre-Sense Rear), is designed to reduce the consequences of rear-end collisions. The sunroof and windows are closed and seat belts are prepared for impact. The optional memory seats are moved forward to protect the car's occupants.
Fiat's autonomous emergency braking system, dubbed City Brake Control, is a urban low-speed crash avoidance system that works between 5 and 30 km/h. It was first made available as optional on the third generation Panda; it was consequently introduced on the 500L and its variants, again as an optional. The system employs a laser Lidar sensor located on top of the windscreen, that communicates with the ESP. If an impending collision is detected it intervenes in three steps: at first with brake pre-fill, for quicker response at the driver's reaction; secondly enhancing the hydraulic brake assist sensitivity; finally, if the driver still hasn't reacted, it automatically applies the brakes and simultaneously warns the occupants through a buzzer.
Ford's Collision Warning with Brake Support was introduced in 2009 on the Lincoln MKS and MKT and the Ford Taurus. This system provides a warning through a Head Up Display that visually resembles brake lamps. If the driver does not react, the system pre-charges the brakes and increases the brake assist sensitivity to maximize driver braking performance. Ford demonstrated its Obstacle Avoidance technology relying on a mix of sensors, including a camera tucked behind the rearview mirror, to scan the road for vehicles and pedestrians and steer away if the driver does not take any action.
GM's collision alert system is featured in the 2012 GMC Terrain SUVs and uses a camera to provide warning when there is a vehicle ahead or there is a lane departure. 2013 Cadillac ATS, XTS and SRX models featured automatic braking at low speeds (in heavy traffic or even in parking lots and driveways) when a collision is imminent. 2014 Chevrolet Impala received the radar and camera based Crash imminent braking(Radar technology detects a possible crash threat and alerts the driver. If the driver does not appear to react quickly enough or doesn’t react at all, this feature intervenes to apply the brakes in an effort to avoid the crash. ), Forward collision alert, Lane departure warning, Side blind zone alert (Using radar sensors on both sides of the vehicle, the system “looks” for other vehicles in the blind zone areas of the Impala and indicates their presence with LED-lit symbols in the outside mirrors. ), Rear cross traffic alert features
Honda's Collision Mitigation Brake System (CMBS, although originally introduced with the initials CMS) introduced in 2003 on the Inspire and later in Acura, Honda's luxury brand in Canada and the United States, uses a radar-based system to monitor the situation ahead and provide automatic braking if the driver does not react to a warning in the instrument cluster and a tightening of the seat belts. The Honda system was the world's first production system to provide automatic braking. The 2003 Honda system also incorporated an "E-Pretensioner", which worked in conjunction with the CMBS system with electric motors on the seat belts. When activated, the CMBS has three warning stages. The first warning stage includes audible and visual warnings to brake. If ignored, the second stage would include the E-Pretensioner's tugging on the shoulder portion of the seat belt two to three times as an additional tactile warning to the driver to take action. The third stage, in which the CMBS predicts that a collision is unavoidable, includes full seat belt slack takeup by the E-Pretensioner for more effective seat belt protection and automatic application of the brakes to lessen the severity of the predicted crash. The E-Pretensioner would also work to reduce seat belt slack whenever the brakes are applied and the brake assist system is activated.
In late 2004, Honda developed an Intelligent Night Vision System, which highlights pedestrians in front of the vehicle by alerting the driver with an audible chime and visually displaying them via HUD. The system only works in temperatures below 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit). This Intelligent Night Vision first appeared on the Legend.
Mazda's Smart City Brake Support system uses lasers to detect vehicles or obstacles in front of the car. The system is able to apply the brakes and cut engine power, and if the difference in speed between the car and the obstacle is 30 km/h (19 mph) or less, the system can avoid or at least lessen potential damage from a collision.
Mercedes' Pre-Safe system was unveiled in the fall of 2002 at the Paris Motor Show on the 2003 S-Class. Using ESP sensors to measure steering angle, vehicle yaw and lateral acceleration and Brake Assist (BAS) sensors to detect emergency braking, Pre-Safe can tighten the seat belts, adjust seat positions including rear seats (if installed), raise folded rear headrests (if installed) and close the sunroof if it detects a possible collision (including rollover). A later version of the Pre-Safe system was supplemented by an additional function that can close any open windows if necessary.
Pre-Safe Brake, Mercedes-Benz's first forward warning collision system, introduced in the fall of 2005 on the redesigned 2006 W221 S-Class, is cooperating with simultaneously introduced Brake Assist Plus (BAS Plus) and Distronic Plus systems and provides all the functions of previous Pre-Safe system while adding a radar-based system that monitors the traffic situation ahead and provides automatic partial braking (40%, or up to 0.4g deceleration) if the driver does not react to the BAS Plus warnings and the system detects a severe danger of an accident.
At the 2009 North American International Auto Show, Mercedes unveiled Attention Assist on the 2010 E-class, which, based on 70 parameters, attempts to detect the driver's level of drowsiness based on the driver's driving style. This system does not actually monitor the driver's eyes. Also in 2009, Mercedes added the first fully autonomous braking feature that provides maximum braking force approximately 0.6 seconds before impact.
In 2013, Mercedes updated Pre-Safe on the redesigned W222 S-class. Pre-Safe added pedestrian detection, and a system called Pre-Safe Plus uses a rear radar, which tightens the seat belts, flashes the rear hazard lights and applies braking to minimize collision occupant forces. Pre-safe, also with pyrotechnic pretensioners, will tension the seat belt just prior to the collision.
Skoda introduced four new security system in 2013, alongside other car models of the VW group. The systems include Multi Collision Brake, Crew Protect Assist, Lane Assistant and Front Assistant. The first Skoda model with these new systems was the Skoda Citigo in June 2012, along with the VW up! and the Seat Mii, the new Skoda Octavia (2013).and the Skoda Superb (2013 facelift).
In 2008, Subaru introduced their ja:EyeSight (Japanese) system to Japanese drivers on the Legacy sedan, wagon and Outback, which, unlike radar-based systems, uses two CCD stereo cameras mounted to the roof beside the rear view mirror. This system also offers lane departure warning and adaptive cruise functions. As of model year 2014, the Legacy, Forester and Impreza are now optionally installed with the technology internationally. The technology is only installed on vehicles with the automatic or CVT transmission. In 2014 Subaru further updated the system using cameras that can detect color (brake lights) and reducing the bulk of the system.
Toyota Motor Corporation's Pre-Collision System (PCS), the first production forward-warning collision system, is used on the manufacturer's Lexus and Toyota brand vehicles. It is a radar-based system that uses a forward-facing millimeter-wave radar. When the system determines that a frontal collision is unavoidable, it preemptively tightens the seat belts, removing any slack, and pre-charges the brakes using brake assist to give the driver maximum stopping power instantly when the driver depresses the brake pedal. Toyota launched PCS in February 2003 on the redesigned Japanese domestic market Harrier, and in August 2003 added an automatic partial pre-crash braking system to the Celsior. In September 2003, PCS made its first appearance in North America on the Lexus LS 430, becoming the first such system offered in the US. In 2004, Toyota advanced the system by adding to the radar a single digital camera to improve the accuracy of collision forecast and warning and control levels. It was first available on the Crown Majesta.
In 2006, the debut of the Lexus LS featured a further advanced version of the PCS; this newer version, dubbed Advanced Pre-Collision System (APCS), added a twin-lens stereo camera located on the windshield and a more sensitive radar to detect for the first time smaller "soft" objects such as animals and pedestrians. A near-infrared projector located in the headlights allows the system to work at night. By using the LS's Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) and electric Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS), the system can change the suspension damper firmness, steering gear ratios and torque assist to aid the driver's evasive steering measures in a system known as "Collision-avoidance Steering Support". The Lane Keep Assist system will make automatic steering adjustments to help ensure that the vehicle maintains its lane in case the driver fails to react.
Also unveiled for the 2007 model year, the world's first Driver Monitoring System was introduced on the Lexus LS, using a CCD camera on the steering column. This system monitors the driver's face to determine where the driver is looking. If the driver's head turns away from road and a frontal obstacle is detected, the system will alert the driver using a buzzer, and if necessary, pre-charge the brakes and tighten the safety belts. A later version of the Driver Monitoring System found in 2008 on the Crown monitors the driver's eyes to detect the driver's level of wakefulness. This system is designed to work even if the driver is wearing sunglasses, and at night.
Other advancements to the PCS appearing on the 2007 Lexus LS include the first rearward-facing millimeter-wave radar mounted in the rear bumper. This system adjusts the active head restraints by moving them upward and forward to reduce the risk of whiplash injuries if an imminent rear collision is detected.
Toyota began using Night View on the JDM 2002 Toyota Landcruiser Cygnus and on the 2003 Lexus LX 470 available in the US market. In 2008, Toyota added a pedestrian-detection feature on the Crown, which highlights pedestrians and presents them on an LCD display located in front of the driver. The latest Crown also uses a GPS-navigation linked brake assist function. The system, which is designed to determine if the driver is late in decelerating at an approaching stop sign, will then sound an alert and can also pre-charge the brakes to provide optimum braking force if deemed necessary. This system works in certain Japanese cities and requires Japan specific road markings that are detected by a camera.
In March 2009, on the redesigned Crown Majesta, Toyota again further advanced the PCS, adding a front-side millimeter-wave radar to detect potential side collisions primarily at intersections or when another vehicle crosses the center line. The latest version tilts the rear seat upward, placing the passenger in a more ideal crash position if it detects a front or rear impact.
Front Assist on the 2011 Volkswagen Touareg can brake to a stop in case of an emergency and tension the seat belts as a precautionary measure. In 2012, Volkswagen introduced their Proactive Occupant Protection, which will close the windows and retract the safety belts to remove excess slack if the potential for a forward crash is detected. The newest version of the system was shown in the new VW Passat B8 2014. A pedestrian recognition is a part of the system. It uses a sensor fusion between a camera and the radar sensor. Furthermore, there is an "emergency assist". In case of a non-reacting driver, the car takes the control of the brakes and the steering until a complete stop.
Volvo's Collision Warning with Auto Brake (CWAB), developed in cooperation with Mobileye N.V., was introduced on the 2007 S80. This system is powered by a radar/camera fusion and provides a warning through a Head Up Display that visually resembles brake lamps. If the driver does not react, the system pre-charges the brakes and increases the brake assist sensitivity to maximize driver braking performance. Later versions will automatically apply the brakes to minimize pedestrian impacts. In some models of Volvos, the automatic braking system can be manually turned off. The V40 also included the world's first pedestrian airbag. At the 2013 Geneva Autoshow, Volvo introduced the first cyclist detection system. All Volvo automobiles now come standard with a laser sensor that monitors the front of the roadway, and if a potential collision is detected, the safety belts will retract to reduce excess slack. Volvo now includes this safety device as an optional in FH series trucks.