Oct 7, 2015
Rüsselsheim. Most driver assistance systems today focus on traffic situations outside urban areas. However, inner-city driving represents an even bigger challenge for modern drivers. There is so much happening at once and there are so many cars, trucks, buses, cyclists and pedestrians to keep an eye on. Higher safety in this complicated mobile environment is the goal of several assistance systems under development at Opel, which can warn the driver or briefly take control of the vehicle.
The Rüsselsheim-based car-maker is working on innovative driver-assistance systems as part of its role in the UR:BAN research project (user-oriented assistance systems and network management). The aim of the project, which is partly funded by the German government, is to provide drivers with forward-looking support, tailored and customized to driving in urban traffic. Thirty-one partners from the automotive industry, electronics and software companies, together with research institutes and local authorities, are developing intelligent assistance and cooperative traffic management systems.
Especially in urban traffic, situations frequently occur where ordinary drivers may not react in time – cars emerging unexpectedly from parking lots, children unseen behind parked cars suddenly dashing into the road. Opel has built an Insignia demonstration vehicle that not only warns the driver of such dangers, but can also avoid collisions with vehicles and pedestrians by taking automatic evasive action through steering combined with braking.
The car is equipped with advanced camera and radar, and modified braking and steering systems, which can intervene in the control of the vehicle.
Another Opel demonstration vehicle shows the potential for further development of driver assistance systems through studying driver behavior. Using vehicle data, a front camera and a head-tracking camera, a specially developed algorithm analyzes driver behavior patterns to predict at an early stage, for example, whether the driver will perform a lane change maneuver or not. Such enhancements will optimize the performance of driver assistance systems such as side blind-zone alert by avoiding unnecessary warnings and driver irritation, helping to increase the acceptance of active safety features in the future.
In addition to avoiding collisions, Opel is also working on improving inner-city traffic conditions for the benefit of motorists, city dwellers and the climate. Opel has built a demonstration vehicle based on the Insignia Sports Tourer that shows how information sent via Wi-Fi from the traffic management infrastructure and other vehicles can generate recommendations for driving at intersections. The recommendations can help the driver approach the intersection smoothly, safely and without wasting fuel, and preferably without stopping. They are displayed via an advanced Man-Machine-Interface (MMI) using the Driver Info Center in the instrument panel, with secondary information shown in the central console.
In order to improve inner-city driving Opel can call on years of experience in car-to-X communications and research into automated driving. But despite rapid progress in assistance systems and cars that can drive automatically, the company remains committed to keeping the driving experience enjoyable. At Opel, driving is fun when it is neither boring nor over-demanding, and those are precisely the conditions the company’s driver assistance systems are aiming at.
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