Tomorrow’s Car Will See Around Corners And Have Outside Airbags

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Futuristic car safety systems will tell drivers about hazards they cannot see

You’re driving up a hill and immediately over the crest is a stationary tailback of traffic. You won’t know about it, but your car will. It also will warn you and automatically implement actions to stop you from piling into the back of the queue. And if you can’t avoid a collision, exterior airbags will mitigate the damage.

Headed by Daimler, these futuristic automotive developments and others are being trialed in Germany, and they could become a reality within seven years.

The simTD (Safe Intelligent Mobility – Test-field Deutschland) research project uses wireless technology based on the conventional wireless local-area networking (WLAN) standard and integrates Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) and GPRS mobile technologies to enable any vehicle to create and transmit road traffic information.

Called Car-to-X communication, it is expected to greatly expand a vehicle’s visual field, or “telematic horizon” as the experts call it. This will happen because cars will be able to communicate with each other and with fixed traffic transmission stations.

The system will “see” ahead and warn the driver about obscured and stationary traffic and unseen dangers like black ice. It also will tell drivers if there are more vehicles in front of the truck you are considering passing. In addition to these safety-related applications, convenient functions such as suggested routes to the next free parking space could be implemented.

How Will It Work?

Car-to-X communication links vehicles and infrastructure in an electronic network. Information then can be exchanged between different vehicles as well as between vehicles and traffic communication infrastructures, such as variable message signs and traffic lights (Fig. 1).

The radio technology developed for the system is based on the established WLAN standard. Each simTD vehicle uses its onboard sensors to detect traffic events. The intelligent traffic system (ITS) Vehicle Station (your car) communicates this information to other vehicles and to the ITS Roadside Stations, the roadside equivalent to the vehicle’s onboard system. The vehicle also keeps its driver informed and issues visual and auditory warnings when appropriate.

The simTD vehicle system can use mobile phone technologies such as UMTS to transmit Car-to-X messages as well, bridging any communication gaps in the network. WLAN-based and cellular radio communications have been successful in field trials where information was shared between vehicles and traffic information stations.

A fleet of 120 vehicles and three motorcycles equipped with the technology has successfully completed a 41,000-hour and 1,650,000-kilometer field trial. The main goal of the simTD field test was to prove the practical viability of the system. The scientists proved that under realistic user conditions, Car-to-X communication between vehicles, the ITS Roadside Stations, and the ITS Central Stations works.

In addition to the economic savings from reducing the number of accidents, there is an ecological advantage. Traffic flows would be improved, cutting carbon-dioxide emissions as well.

Airbags On The Outside

The future car also could feature airbags on its exterior in addition to the interior ones we already use. Although these exterior airbags would have very different functions, the overall aim is to improve occupant safety.

The concept of these airbags is not new, and they resemble those that have been used to slow fighter aircraft landing on aircraft carriers. In addition to the vehicle’s normal braking, a parachute is deployed to increase vehicle deceleration.

A newer idea has been designed into a Mercedes experimental vehicle, fitting an airbag under the front of the vehicle. A sensor system that scans the forward path of the vehicle indicates that a collision is possible. It then activates the brakes and deploys the airbag (Fig. 2).

The airbag serves two purposes. First, it adds to vehicle deceleration because of the drag factor. Second, it keeps the vehicle level, which is particularly important. While braking, the front of a car dips down. But the under-car airbag raises the front end and improves geometric compatibility with the oncoming vehicle. 

In effect, the braking airbag enhances the crumple zone. Mercedes engineers have calculated that even at a low speed of 50 kph, the additional deceleration has the same effect as lengthening the front end by 180 mm, creating additional energy absorption ability.

Preventing the vehicle’s nose from dipping under braking also improves the effects of the seat head-restraint systems and allows seat-belt tensioners to operate more efficiently. 

Discuss this Blog Entry 14

on Jul 3, 2013

Can't wait for parachutes at the back of the car.

on Jul 18, 2013

I would like to see airbags installed in the front and rear bumpers to reduce vehicle damage and occupant injuries when a collision occurs. They could also be designed to reduce injuries when a vehicle hits a pedestrian. The goal would be to soften the blow and prevent them from being run over by the vehicle. Not only would bumper airbags save lives but they might also lead to a substantial reduction in insurance rates.

on Aug 3, 2013

Silly. Star Trek Transporter Devices will be in place before these futuristic car features will be universally adopted.

on Dec 12, 2013

Seven years is a long time, I hope the new cars will come out sooner! The reads these days are too crowded to ensure safe transportation, so the cars improvements are more then welcome. Until that happens I'll drive one of the cars I got on DPAA, it's a sure place to get a good deal!

on Feb 1, 2014

Many multiple features were added in our vehicles now days. So it can give a better driving experience to the driver as well as safety also. Most probably airbags and other equipments were installed in our vehicles to provide safety to the driver. Therefore here we have found certain features that help during accidents. Otherwise we are suffering from life risk and need to be repairing our vehicle at any certified service center.

on Feb 14, 2014

Now a days vehicles are all around all the varieties of vehicles are designed having new style, model , beautifully designed and having all comforts safety. Auto Care Tips

on Feb 15, 2014

Car driving and traffic system is very necessary on the roads because it prevents us from accident. But if you are coming from a road and not aware about the traffic system then it might create problem for you. To prevent this the researchers found out the air bag facility that signifies the traffic post is coming near to you. And it automatically slows down the speed. For further information regarding the BMW Repair Shop Los Angeles you can go through the link.

on Feb 19, 2014

medical billing srv Thanks for the update about the upcoming technologies in the field of automotives. It will be a great innovation, as the car in which this technology is implemented will have the capabilities of viewing the corners as well as outside airbags.

on Feb 19, 2014

While buying a new car we always firstly watch its design, color, brand , each and every features. We want our car to be the best one. A car should have all the good features and all the good qualities , with all the safety guidelines and features. Adaptive headlights. And also safety airbags like trusty seat belt provided the sole form of passive restraint in our cars. There should be debates about their safety, especially relating to children, but over time, much of the country adopted mandatory seat-belt laws. Airbags protect occupants during vehicle crashes by supplementing the seatbelt restraint system in such a way that the occupants experience a more gradual deceleration and are less likely to suffer severe impact with hard objects. Volkswagen Repair Oxnard

on Feb 19, 2014

Now-a-days you can get the new technology and concept of every car, most of the company do the production as per the market strategy. In most of the car there are some extra facilities and operation added like the software system, air bags, color. For the safety purpose there are some safety devices fixed and generally air bags used for the safety.

on Feb 28, 2014

Modern cars are beautifully designed luxurious car . It has many uses and benefits . Firstly , the most important benefit is it is free of pollution , no illusion, Eco friendly . And Economic and environmental factors are the top reasons for considering . Electric power engine alternatives to vehicles that run on conventional fuels such as gasoline, propane and diesel. Specially , electric cars can save money. electric vehicles produce "zero emissions." Porsche Repair Encino

on Mar 25, 2014

The technology to expand a vehicle’s visual field is as futuristic as any thing possible this will give the driver an extra yard to drive safe and extra eyes. The airbags fitted exterior to the car can be very helpful to keep the people in the car safe and hence making it more safe to drive through any area. this will definitely bring done the number of accidents accruing every year in the state specially in the hilly areas.
BMW Repair University Park

on Mar 29, 2014

Day by day the technologies are increase in an increasing rate. Every sector has developed due to this. Automotive industries are one of them. The industries are improved technologies in its cars, So that people can enjoy while driving. This industry can develop things like lithium ion battery, Adaptive headlights, digital quality music system, dashboard, sensors,qr codes and the air bags etc. Air bags are mainly used for protecting the vehicles from accident. So,that every car manufacturing companies are decides to use the air bags at the outer side of the vehicle.
Auto Body Shop Portland

on Apr 12, 2014

I think you think about a measure problem faced by normal car holder. Traffic problem become a great issue for us. Our daily life got disturb and road accident tales place. Thanks to give your concentration towards it and give the solution.

It is essential to be careful at the time of driving for all car holder. Car breakdown also a measure point for car accident. We should do car repair and service at right time. Again I thankful to your for this informative and useful blog. Saab Repair Winston-Salem

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Paul Whytock

Paul Whytock is European Editor for Penton Media's Electronics Division. From his base in London, England, he covers press conferences and industry events throughout the EU for Penton...
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