Systems to support the vision of driverless cars has advanced by leaps and bounds. The opportunities and potential of autonomous driving is exciting and an interesting proposition that is necessitating increased automotive research globally.
However, the implementation of various steps towards realising fully autonomous driving will require major evolution in technology, legal framework and also driver behaviour. In highly autonomous driving, automated systems will assume total control of the vehicle for majority of the driving situations.
Aside major modification in vehicle architecture, automated driving will also witness crucial shifts in the way drivers and vehicles communicate with each other and also with the infrastructure.
The subsequent impact of automated driving on the economy, industry and society at large still needs to be analysed completely. Adopting different approaches to address challenging driving situations. The first approach is towards equipping drivers who face challenging driving and braking situations. The need is for technology oriented companies to go beyond the regular offering of conventional actuation braking products.
Over the past few years, the automotive industry in India has witnessed such rapid development, especially with respect to the rising demands of the Indian consumer. The need today is for specific solutions and technologies that not only address mobility related issues, but also goes a step further towards enhancing the quality of life. Technology such as the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), which prevents the wheels from locking under panic brake situation, and the Electronic Stability Program (ESP) – a more advanced system which ensures vehicle stability under skidding situations by applying active braking- are two such examples.
Aside major modification in vehicle architecture, automated driving will also witness crucial shifts in the way drivers and vehicles communicate with each other and also with the infrastructure. If all vehicles were equipped with the anti-skid system, up to 80 percent of all skidding accidents could be prevented. The Electronic Stability Program system can be extended to provide value added functions. Features, such as Hill Hold Control, Hill Descent Control and Roll Over Mitigation allow for a safe and agile driving experience.
In addition, when combined with new generation sensors like ultrasonic sensors, long- and mid-range radar and stereo video camera, the system enables the implementation of an array of driver assistance functions to offer a more comfortable and safer driving experience.
To make systems available post-crash is necessary. What if an accident was inevitable? In such scenarios, the implementation of airbag electronic control units (ECU) and sensors could prevent the driver and occupants from being severely injured. At this juncture, it is interesting to note the concept of Integrated Safety System (IIS) where activities could be sequenced, such as the pre-tensioning of seat belts before accident and calling for emergency care post-accident to help save lives.
An informed Indian driver can drive the demand for improved technologies the second approach is gradually paving way to the third, which is aimed at reducing human error in different driving scenarios. This approach will include the development of a suite of functions broadly housed under an umbrella portfolio called ‘Driver Assistance’.
Using ultrasonic sensors, camera based systems and radars information can be provided to enable active interventions. This is geared towards realising the vision of accident free driving.
Parking and lane change are growing to become major challenges of urban mobility, and India is no different. Scalable ultrasonic-based parking and driver assist systems offer OEMs the freedom to offer the right solutions to their customers.
The demand for technologies like ABS, ESP, airbags, integrated safety systems, park assist and AEB will continue to rise rapidly as the awareness among consumers continue to improve. With the Indian consumer now rating safety and comfort among his/her top three criteria when purchasing a car, we are hopeful this will spur the implementation of technologies in a phased, but certain manner.
Published in ET Auto (April, 2016)