Distracted driving is a problem…a big problem. Statistics vary, but most reports show that distracted driving – using a cell phone, texting, eating, reading, etc – is responsible for up to 90% of all road accidents. According to the US Department of Transportation, “Text messaging while driving creates a crash risk 23 times higher than driving while not distracted.”
The good news is that automated, integrated active safety technologies are reducing road injuries and deaths. Crash avoidance / driver assistance systems take the form of adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection, emergency braking systems, and more. In this video, we see a demo of 3D projection mapping that’s part of an autonomous emergency braking (AEB) system.
AEB systems use a combination of radar, lasers, and cameras to detect an imminent rear-end crash and can automatically apply the brakes of a vehicle. These systems are becoming more common in new vehicles, but availability is far from standardized. According to the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP), “Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) systems are completely unavailable on 79% of the car models on sale in Europe and 66% of manufacturers do not offer an AEB system on any of their new car models.”
That’s about to change.
Euro NCAP, modeled after the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) introduced in 1979 by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, has announced that they will include AEB technologies in their vehicle star rating system starting in 2014. This will push manufacturers to increase the availability of AEBs…and safer cars.
Michiel van Ratingen, Secretary General of Euro NCAP says, “A faster penetration of these technologies into new cars will make it more realistic for the European Union to reach its target to cut road deaths by 50% by 2020. Consequently, Euro NCAP has decided to include AEB assessments as part of the overall star rating from 2014 onwards and hopes that European authorities will soon require AEB as mandatory on all new vehicle types.”
The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) is currently considering AEBs as a mandatory safety requirement. The organization recently applauded Volkswagen for including life-saving crash avoidance technology in it’s new Up! small car.
According to ANCAP Chairman Lauchlan McIntosh, “The standard fitment of safety features and safety technologies is something ANCAP has been advocating for some time and all manufacturers should follow Volkswagen’s lead. The fast adoption of new technologies like AEB could see the road toll halved by 2020.”
For designers of active safety technologies, environment and weather are tremendous challenges that must be overcome. The good news is that radar-based systems are unaffected by environmental conditions. But PCB material requirements vary, depending on the radar frequency band employed.
Rogers’ RO4000 Series High Frequency Circuit Laminates are designed for short-range, 24GHz applications. The new RO4835 provides extreme stability even when exposed to the harshest automotive applications. For 77GHz automotive radar applications, the RO3003 laminate is preferred for of its high material uniformity.