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Driver Assistance

sion systems, one short-range and one long- range. The short-range system emits infrared light — which is invisible to humans — at a wavelength of around 900 nanometers. Any reflected infrared is then picked up by a spe- cial video camera mounted near the rearview mirror. On this basis, the system then gener- ates a realistic black-and-white image of the road ahead to a distance of 150 meters, which is shown on either a monitor or a head-up dis- play on the windshield. The second night-vision system features a thermal-imaging camera, which registers the temperature difference of objects in comparison to their environment at a range of up to several hundred meters.

maneuver can be carried out safely. And should the driver be unable to change lanes in time, the navigation system will have already calculated an alternative route before the turn-off point, so as to spare the driver need- less stress. In another example, a so-called electronic horizon prevents a similar scenario. As your car turns off the highway on to the exit road, it’s conceivable that the adjustable cruise-control system could lose the vehicle ahead and then accelerate to the preset speed. However, using digital maps and a GPS device, the system recognizes that your car is on the exit road and adjusts the cruise control accordingly. Networking also brings benefits

in other areas, not least when different appli- cations utilize the same sensors. For example, the small CMOS camera is utilized by the sys- tem to read road signs, the LDW system, the stop-and-go assistant and — albeit with a dif- ferent lens — the night-vision systems.

Less Can Mean More. Natural human limi- tations make it impossible to operate and read different assistance systems at the same time. “The important thing is to ensure that new systems and the readings they produce are integrated in a sensible way,” suggests Prof. Henning Wallentowitz, head of the Insti- tute of Motoring at Aachen Technical Univer- sity, Germany. “Ultimately, the quality of the man-machine interface will be the determin- ing factor in deciding whether drivers will be

Synergistic Networking. Combining vari- ous systems — a major Siemens VDO strength — brings extra benefits. If a car’s navigation system recommends leaving the highway, LDW will then monitor whether this

Driver assistance systems should be as user-friendly as possible and not disturb the driver’s concentration.


willing to accept future assistance systems,” he says.

Some of today’s upper-range vehicles al- ready feature special gas sensors that sniff the air for noxious exhaust fumes. If nec- essary, the air conditioning will then switch temporarily to circulation mode or even feed the air through an activated car- bon filter so as to remove carbon monox- ide and nitrogen oxides. “Our goal is also to filter out other unpleasant smells — such as those from smog or road resurfac- ing work — from the air inside the car,” says Dr. Maximilian Fleischer from Siemens Corporate Technology. Fleischer is cur- rently working on new odor sensors (photo). In the past, researchers had to build a separate sensor for each gas. Now, however, they are developing a silicon chip that combines a number of sensors and can thus detect around five gases. Each gas is identified by means of a special chemical coating around one square millimeter in size. Choosing the right materials for these coatings requires considerable expertise. Certain metal oxides, for example, are used to detect pollutants from exhaust emissions (Pictures of the Future, Fall 2004, p. 81). A further challenge for researchers is to design these coatings so that they only retain the gas molecule long enough for the gas to be identified and then release it so as to free up the sensor for further tests. Gas molecules are identified on the basis of the electrical pulse they generate when in contact with the coating. Fleischer’s team is also working on so-called feel-good sensors that measure the humidity, temperature and carbon dioxide content of the air inside the vehicle. If carbon dioxide content rises above 1,000 ppm (parts per million), the driver will start to tire. In a full car with no ventilation, this level is attained within 15 minutes or so. “Our goal is that vehicle occupants should feel absolutely at home in their cars,” says Fleischer. Given that activated carbon filters can only absorb a limited amount of malodorous substances, researchers are looking at other types of filtering techniques. These include odor-busting substances such as complex dyes, which can be applied to the roof liner, for example. When these dyes are stimulated by light, they temporarily bind and activate oxygen molecules from the air and can thus decompose odor molecules

Rolf Sterbak

through a process of oxidation.

Siemens VDO has therefore produced a comprehensive concept to ensure maximum user-friendliness and minimum strain on driv- ers. This includes siting display devices in lo- cations where drivers intuitively expect to find them — a TFT display in the instrument cluster, for example, or a larger screen in the center console and warning lights where they can best be seen. The centerpiece here is the fully configurable head-up display, which projects driving-related information straight onto the windshield, directly in the driver’s field of vision. Siemens VDO is currently the only company to supply such a system, which has featured in the BMW 5 series since 2003.

A sophisticated control system regulates which information is displayed where and in what kind of driving situation. This, according to Wallentowitz, is essential if the technology is to be user-friendly. Information is distrib- uted on the basis of both ergonomic findings and usability tests with typical drivers. In gen- eral, the information with the highest priority is shown in the head-up display, while less im- portant data appears in the instrument clus- ter or on the screen in the center console. The system also presents information in locations most convenient for the driver. For example, the warning light for the LDW system is mounted in the door panel, near the side

Jürgen Goroncy




Facts and Forecasts

Driver Status

Vehicle Vicinity Status

Vehicle Status

Electronics: Driving Automotive Innovation D in Europe until 2006, although growth potential is considered to be very high. emand is increasing steadily for a broad range of active driver assistance systems. According to a study conducted by Frost & Sullivan (F&S) in 2004, the anti-lock braking system (ABS) and the Electronic Stability Pro- gram (ESP) will account for the lion’s share of a 3.5 billion euro European market in 2010. Other systems, such as adaptive cruise con- trol, lane deviation warning, blind spot warn- ing and tire pressure monitoring systems, are gradually entering the market and demand is growing. Whereas almost all new cars are of- fered today with ABS, only about half of them come with ESP. However, this share is ex- pected to rise to nearly 70 percent by 2010. The market for automatic tire pressure control systems is expected to increase more than fourfold by 2010, to just under 337 million euros. As a result, this system will then be found in one half of all new cars sold. WHEN ASSISTANCE SYSTEMS WILL ARRIVE Driver Drowsiness Warning Lane Deviation Warning Whereas elec- tronics and soft- ware made up only 16 percent of a vehicle’s total value in 1990, this figure had in- creased to 25 per- cent by 2001. By 2010, their share of a car’s total value is expected to climbed to al- most 40 percent, according to a study conducted by the Center for Automotive Research, PriceWaterhouseCoop- ers, VDA and the city of Leipzig. Intelligent Speed Adaptation Speed Recognition / Warning Traffic Sign Recognition Collision Warning System Lane Change Assistant Blind Spot Detection Proactive Diagnostics Reactive Vehicle Diagnostics Indirect / Direct Tire Pressure Monitoring (TPMS) Direct TPMS Seat-belt Warning Pre-2001 2004 2007 2010 Starting from Scratch. Although the market for lane deviation warning and blind spot warning systems is barely on the radar, it is expected to start growing in 2006. It is antic- ipated that lane deviation warning systems will generate sales of over 16 million euros in Europe in 2010. The market for night vision systems is expected to be comparable in size. Market researchers at Frost & Sullivan fore- cast that assistance systems that help drivers change lanes will post sales of almost 26 mil- lion euros in Europe by 2010. According to F&S, head-up displays, which provide drivers with information directly in their field of vi- sion, will not have any market significance car owners surveyed said they found elec- tronic assistants to be helpful. And although 39 percent of car buyers have had problems with electronics, they believe that the draw- backs are outweighed by improved safety and comfort. Vehicle safety is a particularly impor- tant purchasing criterion in Germany, where society is aging. According to calculations made by the Federal Statistical Office, the share of the German population over 60 will increase to almost 35 percent by 2030. How- ever, it is particularly older drivers who want t o h a v e e n h a n c e d s a f e t y e q u i p m e n t w h e n “We don’t expect to see any ground-break- ing innovations for mechanical parts,” says Dr. Alexander Borusan, head of the Fraunhofer Institute for Software and Systems Engineer- ing (ISST) in Berlin. “Electronics and software account for 90 percent of innovations.” Con- sidering this trend, it is not surprising that mid-range cars have 30 to 50 control units, while upper-range vehicles have up to 80. In a recent study conducted by Dekra, an international certification and consulting company, 85 percent of the 1,300 German S y l v i a T r a g e buying a new car.


€ millions

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14.8 59.2

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54.8 10.7 10.2 135.8

60.9 18.5 13.7 183.8

85.7 22.5 14.4 252.9












































83.8 25.9 16.4 336.8




A d a p t i v e C r u i s e C o n t r o l B l i n d S p o t W a r n i n g / L a n e C h a n g e A s s i s t a n t L a n e D e v i a t i o n W a r n i n g / L a n e K e e p i n g S y s t e m T i r e P r e s s u r e M o n i t o r i n g S y s t e m s ( d i r e c t o n l y ) A c t i v e S t e e r i n g E l e c t r o n i c S t a b i l i t y C o n t r o l S y s t e m s ( l i k e E S P ) A n t i - l o c k B r a k i n g S y s t e m ( A B S )

Pictures of the Future | Fall 2005

Source: Frost & Sullivan, 2004

Source: Frost & Sullivan, 2004. Base year 2002


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