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Germany:'Smart' safety systems nearing use on the road, suppliers say

By EDMUND CHEW | Automotive News Europe

FRANKFURT -- Futuristic radar and camera systems that reduce accidents are not fantasy. They will be available for the next generation of cars.

Auto suppliers at the Frankfurt Motor show said the introduction of "smart" systems that anticipate potential accidents and actively help drivers to avoid a collision are closer than many people think.

A large range of devices and systems for tracking and interpreting the environment in and around the car were introduced by suppliers at Frankfurt, including a new range of sensors and emerging driver assistance applications.

"These things are not fantasy. They are at the door and will be available in the next generation cars," said Continental-Teves' boss Wolfgang Ziebart.

Continental-Teves showed its Active Passive Integration Approach system which links active safety systems, such as steering and brake systems, with passive safety systems such as seat belts and airbags to provide a staged response to avoid or minimize the impact of crashes.

The system uses improved environmental sensors, such as 24 GHz radar sensors, and new image processing camera systems.

Delphi Corp. exhibited a range of vision-based technologies for interior and exterior applications. Advanced passenger occupant detection systems inside cars have moved from simple weight-based systems to a dynamic tracking feature that allows for much finer passenger classification, said Volker Barth, Delphi Vice President, Europe.

These systems will allow more appropriate airbag deployment strategies, said Barth. He expects them to be in cars by 2008.

Delphi also showed a lane departure warning system that uses a digital camera to track up to 25 meters ahead of the vehicle and can be used to determine if the car is drifting out of lane.

Valeo showed a new blind spot detection system, developed with Raytheon, the defense electronics group.

The system uses a radar sensor with a range of up to 60 meters. It is expected to enter production in 2005 or 2006.

Valeo also exhibited an Assisted Parallel Parking system. The system records the position of the parked cars as the car goes past a parking position and works out the moves required to reverse into the parking place.

Omron Corp., a Japanese supplier, showed sophisticated camera system already used in airports that could be introduced into cars.

Omron expects the High Dynamic Range camera to be taken up by a number of first tier suppliers for a wide range of applications such as pre-crashing sensing, collision avoidance, lane keeping and blind spot detection.

My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.

My next Ford.....
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