The implementation of safety features and devices will go through a radical change, even more than in the current prototype evaluation stage, with the advent of autonomous driving vehicles. With driverless cars, there are lesser human touch points and interventions. Many of these features with the assistance from sensors and control algorithms increase the robustness and reliability. The actuation and response time are faster than human intervention due to the time-aligned and completely-synchronised data acquisition hardware and software.
Executing lane support, starting from lane departure warning, lane keep warnings, active cruise control and blind spot detection will be sensor-controlled and communicated through various protocols; hence, significantly reducing the variability and uncertainties of driver behaviour, eventually resulting in higher safety.
Many passive systems may not change in the upcoming XEVs and ADAS vehicles, especially the seat belts, warning signs and signals, steering collapse systems, HV battery safety and the like. On the contrary, location of airbags, and their number may change in the upcoming vehicles. The placement of batteries, the under-the-hood components, packaging and placement of other electronic systems naturally require revisiting safety systems.
Innovative safety systems are being developed by OEMs to ensure collision avoidance rather than the effects of collision. The Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), for instance, is a major leap forward in preventing vehicle collisions. It is generally provided as an option, but is increasingly fitted now as a standard. AEB uses a variety of sensors and cameras to monitor the road conditions ahead. It alerts the driver audibly to an impending collision. If the driver does not react, AEB automatically performs an emergency stop to avoid or reduce collision aftereffects. At lower speeds, most of the AEBs are anyway capable of preventing an accident altogether.
Over the years, smart electronic brake force distribution has advanced versions out of ABS that are able to distribute forces between the wheels. This manages the braking forces and also reduces the braking distance of vehicles in addition to ensuring straight line predictable stoppage. Further, the mass market deployment of Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) has been a major contributor to reducing and avoiding collisions.
ROLE OF SENSORS
The introduction of proximity sensors, vision sensors and rear view camera sensors has contributed towards promoting the safety of vehicle occupants and pedestrians. In the tyre domain, TPMS has been in existence for a while now. TPMS warns the driver and occupants of incorrect tyre pressures that helps in safe driving and braking of vehicles. Correspondingly, it helps improve the life of tyres and total cost of ownership. A major tyre manufacturer announced the new tyre architecture, UPTIS, for development with an OEM. It is a hallmark in safety and reliability for ADAS and conventional vehicles, and added peace of mind to vehicle occupants.
The most recent development is in automotive cybersecurity. In the context of road vehicles, it is about the protection of automotive electronic systems, communication networks, control algorithms, software, users, and underlying data from malicious attacks, infiltration, pilferage, unauthorised access, or manipulation. The mobility ecosystem can benefit significantly from this data on many fronts. There is policy debate regarding challenges, safety and ownership of this data being generated, managing the same, and communication across V2V, IoT and its privacy. On a personal front, vehicles generate data on usage, personal lifestyles and transfer to other devices of which most owners are ignorant. These data lakes could be the responsibility of OEMs or a consortium to be managed ethically and congenially.
In mobility, the safety net has encapsulated many fronts that will only expand with the changing ecosystem. The success to deployment is in being innovative to provide flexible systems that are adaptable and scalable, with regard to hardware, software and securely managing data on multiple facades.