Saturday, August 5, 2017

Technology behind the collision-free cars of the future


Sensors, automatic braking systems, and self-driving vehicles are all part of the plan to make our roads collision-free by 2030.
Honda’s General Manager for customer and communication Scott McGregor realises that 2030 is only, really, a few years away, but believes it’s time enough to achieve the company’s global vision.

“The collision-free future is exactly what it sounds like,” he told  “To get there, you consider what kind of technologies and innovations would be required to get that outcome, you’re talking autonomous vehicle technology, you’re talking electronic driver aids, and potentially how vehicles need to talk to each other.”
Like just about every other car brand on the planet, the manufacturer is committed to pursuing autonomous driving technology, better known as driverless cars. And while early tests of driverless vehicles have occasionally caused crashes, the technology is a big part of avoiding collisions once and for all.
The Honda NeuV is an electric ride-sharing concept car. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied
“If you think about for example how far autonomous driving has come in the past five years, you’re already seeing many vehicles on the road now with red eye cruise control etc, and there are lots of different automotive brands working on similar technologies,” he said.
But it’s not necessarily just about driverless vehicles.
“Even vehicles that are piloted by humans needs to have technology which assists vehicles avoiding accidents,” he said.
“Auto emergency braking, lane keep assist, collision avoidance with autonomous driving. This is our vision, and part of the challenge is developing a plan forward to achieve that. It’s a global vision, so we need to consider locally what that means.”
In order to address this challenge, the company enlisted the expertise of the University of Technology Sydney’s top interdisciplinary students.
Considering the manufacturer’s existing technologies, teams of students collaborated with Honda for a week to come up with new technology and safety measures that help make our roads collision free.
What they came up with included detailed visions for the future and ideas for crash avoidance technology the top car producer hadn’t even thought of.
“We were really impressed with what the students came up with,” UTS subject co-ordinator George Peppou said.
“Almost all of the groups viewed full automation as inevitable. There was almost no question that the transport system wasn’t going to be piloted in 20 or 30 years’ time. The question was more, how is that going to look like, and what are going to be the social or technological consequences.”
Key features of the IRIS modular vehicles, developed by UTS students.
Key features of the IRIS modular vehicles, developed by UTS students.Source:Supplied
The IRIS concept focuses on the concept of space-saving modular vehicles that link and disconnect from other cars to reduce traffic congestion.
The IRIS concept focuses on the concept of space-saving modular vehicles that link and disconnect from other cars to reduce traffic congestion.Source:Supplied
Students agreed the crash-free cars of the future would be a lot smaller and lighter, and that some of the space and weight that automation freed up, could be used for installing extra safety provisions.
“They had drop panels, inflatable equipment, so that if there was a collision the damage could be minimised or avoided,” Mr Peppou said.
“It was less about how do you avoid crashes, because with automation that’s almost a given, and more what opportunities are there, what can you do with that.”
One of the most impressive ideas, chosen by Honda, was for an “interconnected responsive intelligent system” called “IRIS”, that would allow automated vehicles to communicate with each other and avoid congestion.
The project focused on “space-saving modular vehicles that link and disconnect from other cars to reduce traffic congestion”.
Mr McGregor said it was important that students, or younger people, were involved in developing the future technologies that would be used to improve road safety and innovation, because they were the ones that would be using them.

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