The multi-camera system, a "world first," provides total visibility of the vehicle's immediate environment so that the driver can maneuver easily and safely. Five miniature digital cameras scan the area around the car, transmitting their data to a control unit that prepares and optimizes the images before they are displayed on the color navigation screen. At the rear, a reversing camera is coupled with the ultrasonic park-assist sensors to provide an image of the area behind the car. A series of bars superimposed on this image shows the driver how much space is available. Two other cameras are installed on the left and right ends of the front bumper, enabling the driver to view pedestrians, cyclists or other vehicles arriving at a low-visibility intersection or when exiting a parking lot. The last two cameras are installed at the base of the external rear-view mirrors and provide a view of the sides of the car, to help the driver maneuver with precision in tight spaces. This system is being introduced on the new Land Rover Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, and Discovery and on the new BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo. During 2010, four more models will be equipped with this feature.
Cross Traffic Alert allows drivers to back out of a parking space in complete safety, even when there is no visibility. Two radars—electronic sensors scanning 150°—installed in the rear bumper determine the distance, speed, and direction of other vehicles in the traffic lane behind the vehicle. A display or sound signal informs the driver when it is safe to perform the reversing maneuver. This system is particularly useful when visibility is obstructed by other vehicles. It is already available in the U.S. on the Lincoln MKT and MKZ, Ford Fusion and Taurus, and the Mercury Milan.
A new multifunction sensor warns of the risk of mist forming on the windshield—in addition to the traditional functions of switching on the headlights and windshield wipers—thanks to smart air-conditioning management. This function, which plays a key role in safety, works by measuring the temperature and relative humidity at the surface of the windshield to precisely quantify the risk of misting. Smart air-conditioning management enables the risk to be eliminated, maintaining perfect visibility for the driver. By controlling the humidity in the cabin, the system also improves comfort for the occupants, especially the driver, who is then better able to concentrate. Finally, the precision of the air-conditioning saves energy through the close management of the compressor, contributing to reduced fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Valeo has combined all these functions in a single sensor so small that it can easily fit into the support arm of the inside rear-view mirror. The Porsche Panamera will be sporting this feature as a world first.
Valeo is an independent industrial group fully focused on the design, production, and sale of components, integrated systems, and modules for cars and trucks. Valeo ranks among the world's top automotive suppliers. The group has 121 plants, 61 R&D centers, 10 distribution platforms, and employs 50,100 people in 27 countries worldwide.