Auto Electronics

ABI Research sees radar-based obstacle detection imminent

The promise of road-infrastructure-based traffic management may still be years away, but ABI Research sees some automotive manufacturers moving ahead with autonomous radar-based obstacle detection systems to increase driver and pedestrian safety.

“Vehicle manufacturers are mainly interested in active safety as a new differentiator,” says ABI Research Practice Director Dominique Bonte. “However, avoiding accidents has a huge impact on traffic congestion levels, the reduction of which remains the primary goal of ITS (intelligent transportation systems).”

Bonte said Toyota is planning to add a millimeter-wave radar system to some of its car models in Japan in 2009. The driver is warned about potential side and front collisions and when a crash is imminent automatic braking, seat belt retraction and air bag deployments are initiated. In the US a similar pre-collision system will be available an an option on the 2010 Toyota Prius. A similar feature was announced by Hyundai at CES. However, according to Bonte, the current automotive slump will delay the adoption of active safety as a standard option across all brands.

“To realize the benefits of integrated traffic management ITS requires vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication,” Bonte said. “While many successful tests based on the Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC) protocol are ongoing in Japan (ITS-Safety 2010 project), Europe (ERTICO, CAR 2 CAR Communication Consortium) and the US (DoT’s IntelliDriveSM project), full rollout is not expected before 2015.”

Bonte said several ITS subcomponents are in place. The Toll Collect consortium introduced GPS-based electronic road tolling in Germany in 2005 with more than 650,000 on-board units installed in trucks so far. In 2008, ERTICO’s Road Charging Interoperability (RCI) project demonstrated seamless interoperable tolling technology in six EU countries. Automatic emergency calling is available with Onstar and Ford Sync in the US and will be mandatory in Europe by 2013 via the eCall project.

ABI Research’s “Intelligent Transportation Systrems Market Overview,” examines the main ITS applications and how they are relevant to the global market.

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