Auto Electronics

ABI study calls for consumer education on obstacle detection technology

The initial cost of obstacle detection technology is still an issue but the benefits are potentially huge, according to ABI Research senior analyst David Alexander, author of a new report, “Automotive Obstacle Detection Systems.”

Alexander noted that more than 40,000 people are killed in automobile accidents each year in the United States and Europe, and countless more are injured. He said obstacle detection technologies including ultrasonic, radar, lidar, and camera-based safety systems can address many of the causes of accidents.

“Avoiding costly body and paint repairs may deliver a big enough ROI, but saving a life or avoiding an injury is priceless,” he said. Obstacle detection systems have been available for a number of years, but only at the top end of the market. “Luxury cars have had obstacle detection options long enough to get the bugs out. The first OEMs to make them available to the mass market could reap huge rewards."

Obstacle detection system costs are coming down as volumes increase, “but not by the same amount across the board," Alexander said, adding that the market is primed to take advantage of the benefits of a number of different approaches to obstacle detection. “Some of those technologies are going to drop in cost more rapidly than others.”

Alexander said that education is critical to the uptake of obstacle detection systems in the consumer market. "Car buyers need to learn more about how the technologies work, and to understand that they really will benefit from purchasing these systems, but in the absence of legislation, how many buyers will choose to pay for them? Widespread adoption is needed if we are to achieve a significant improvement in accident statistics.”

Market interest in obstacle detection systems could bode well for tier 1 system developers such as Visteon, Delphi, Siemens, Bosch, Continental, Hella, Valeo and TRW,” according to Alexander, “and coordinated public relations coverage with help from the government will deliver strong demand for the technology.”
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