A major U.S. OEM, believed to be DaimlerChrysler, is reportedly giving serious consideration to laser radar as a lower-cost alternative to standard radar for adaptive cruise control.
Winfried Menge, director of marketing electronics for Hella KGaA Hueck & Co. said that laser radar can reduce the cost of an ACC system by 50%. Hella markets laser radar-based ACC systems within its portfolio of driver assistance systems, which also include rear-end collision warning, lane-departure warning, rearview cameras, and sensors with advanced image-processing software.
For ACC, Hella offers a multibeam IDIS (Infrared Distance Management System) for ACC that is said to perform well despite adverse weather conditions. It uses a LIDAR (light detection and ranging) sensor that detects both the distance to an object and the object's lateral position and dimensions.
Hella supplies a 24 GHz, radar-based, rear-end collision warning system for Audi. The system can detect other vehicles that are behind or in the driver's blind spots and can also detect when the driver intends to change lanes. Hella's LDW system uses a small windshield camera to observe areas in front of the vehicle. Image-processing software analyzes the recorded data, calculates the vehicle's position in the lane and any curves in the roadway, and sends a warning signal to the driver if a turn signal is not activated before the vehicle leaves its lane. That application is scheduled for production in 2009. Further out, for production within the next three to four years, Hella is developing a system that will include a forward-looking LDW camera and Hella’s CHARLSS (capacitive humidity and rain/light/solar sensor) system.