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Vehicle Sensor to Help Prevent Urban Traffic Crashes

April 19, 2007

Continental Automotive Systems' new closing velocity sensor is designed to help drivers avoid collisions when traveling at low speeds.


DETROIT, MI /PRNewswire/ -- According to the latest statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nearly 5,000 pedestrians were killed by vehicles in the United States in 2005 and almost three-fourths of these deaths occurred in urban areas. To address the issue Continental Automotive Systems announced, at the Society of Automotive Engineers trade show being held in Detroit, that is has developed an optical sensor that can help a driver reduce the severity or completely avoid collisions when traveling at speeds less than 25 miles per hour. Continental Automotive Systems is discussing the product with automobile manufacturers around the world and will launch the system next year with one of its European customers.

Closing Velocity Sensor assists in often hectic urban traffic
Continental Automotive Systems developed the closing velocity sensor system (CV) to help reduce crashes in high-stress urban traffic situations. This pre-crash system scans the space in front of the vehicle up to approximately 10 m, in three areas: to the right, the left and straight ahead. Once the CV sensor detects another vehicle, motorcycle, bicycle or pedestrian ahead it sends a signal back to a "transceiver" that is mounted near the rearview mirror. The transceiver then uses the signal to calculate the distance of the object in front of the vehicle along with its closing speed.

Enhanced brake assist enables crash-avoidance strategies
If the distance between the vehicle or pedestrian is closing so quickly that a collision is imminent, the system responds as follows:

  • The brakes are put on alert mode and sufficient pressure is built up in the braking system so the brakes can respond as soon as the driver applies the brake pedal (prefill)
  • If the driver takes his/her foot off the accelerator, the pre-crash system initiates automatic braking at up to 0.5 g (prebraking)
  • If the driver operates the brake pedal, but with too little sustained pressure, the intervention of brake assist ensures the maximum possible braking power
  • For further driver protection function, the system can also tighten the seat belt

During the development of the system it was demonstrated that these measures in combination could assist drivers avoid a crash, which could help reduce the number of collisions in urban traffic.

Benefits for road users and car manufacturers
Once a Closing Velocity Sensor and pre-crash system is integrated into a car, vehicle occupants can expect the following benefits:

  • Because the risk of a crash is significantly lower, drivers and passengers are safer
  • If a crash does occur, vehicle occupants will be better protected against injury since seatbelts will be tightened to the optimum degree
  • The CV sensor also will provide data to the airbag control unit, enabling it to better respond by assessing the extent of an impact and activating an airbag if needed
  • Vehicle repair and medical costs for all involved parties are also likely to be significantly lower since the resulting collision will be less severe

This new sensor provides the automotive industry with a system that makes pre-crash functionality affordable even for small and mid-range vehicles. "It is easily integrated into the vehicle electronics and does not require any adjustment to the vehicle structure" explains Dr. Ralf Cramer, head of the business unit electronic braking and safety systems at Continental Automotive Systems. "The new sensor system is yet more evidence of our strong position in terms of developing and manufacturing safety systems that are priced attractively enough for use in cars below the luxury range. The CV sensor highlights the functionality of Continental's APIA project that combines active and passive safety for mass-market vehicles. We strongly believe that such comprehensive safety systems should be made available to all vehicle categories". This innovative sensor system, with many of the functions described, will be launched in 2008 in a European-made car."

The Continental Corporation is a leading automotive supplier of brake systems, chassis components, vehicle electronics, tires and technical elastomers. In 2006 the corporation realized sales of EUR14.9 billion. At present it has a worldwide workforce of around 85,000.

As a worldwide leading technology partner to the automotive industry, the Automotive Systems Division of Continental AG integrates extensive know-how and uncompromising quality in the fields of driving safety, embedded telematics and hands-free communication systems, powertrain and comfort. In 2006 the Division achieved sales of approx. EUR 6 billion with a workforce of more than 30,000. Continental Automotive Systems develops and produces electronic and hydraulic brake, stability and chassis control systems, electronic air suspension systems, sensors, engine management and transmission control systems, hybrid drives, cooling fan modules, body and security electronics and also is the industry leader of embedded telematics and communication systems in vehicles.

CONTACT: Sue Frederick of Continental, Automotive Systems Division, +1-248-393-5273, sue.frederick@us.contiautomotive.com.


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