'Turn left assistant' to stop SMIDSY crashes
SO in the UK it should be called the “turn right assistant” but BMW's latest safety prototype is a device that physically stops car drivers from turning right into the path of oncoming bikes.
“With the left turn assistant we’ve developed an assistance system which helps drivers when turning off to the left by warning them of the risk of not seeing oncoming traffic. If necessary, it can prevent collisions by automatically applying the brakes,” said Project Manager Arne Purschwitz.
BMW's own explanation of the system says:
'The left turn assistant is activated automatically in the BMW 5 Series test vehicle as soon as the car’s sensors detect that it is entering the left-turn lane and the car registers the driver’s wish to turn off. Recognition of the left-turn lane takes place on two levels. The vehicle positioning function of the navigation system allows the location of the car to be fixed to within a metre at intersections. And a mono camera, comparable with standard cameras already in use, registers the turn-off lane markings and lane borders on the road. With the left turn assistant activated, three laser scanners in the front end of the car map the area up to 100 metres in front of the car. The laser scanners pick up not only cars and trucks, but also motorcycles. If the sensors detect vehicles approaching from the opposite direction but the car continues to move into the intersection, the left turn assistant activates an automatic braking input in a low speed range up to 10 km/h to prevent a collision. At the same time, a warning sound and relevant warning symbols in the instrument cluster and Head-Up Display advise the driver of the reason for the intervention. This automated action is triggered deliberately without a prior warning stage, as a rapid response is vital in this situation to prevent the car from moving into the intersection and presenting an obstacle to oncoming traffic. If the driver first had to react to a warning, the car would continue forward into the collision area and an accident would no longer be avoidable.'
Another development of the idea actually incorporates technology into the bike, too:
'A second testing scenario with the left turn assistant shows the additional potential of equipping vehicles with this kind of interface. Here, the research car approaches a motorcycle fitted with car-to-x communication technology. The BMW Motorrad test bike is currently a BMW R 1200 GS. Again, the data provided by camera-aided image recognition and laser scanners allows the system to register the lane markings, the left-turn arrow and the distance to the centre line and stop lines (if these are present). When the driver activates one of the turn signal indicators, the car detects that the driver wants to turn off to the left and the assistance system is activated. “The car and the motorcycle communicate with one another via the car-to-x interfaces as the motorcycle approaches. The car and motorcycle exchange information on the type of vehicle, its position and speed, as well as dynamic data such as its current steering angle and whether the indicators are activated,” explains Udo Rietschel, development engineer in the BMW Group Research and Technology’s left turn assistant project. The motorcycle then uses this data to detect that the car driver wants to turn off to the left. On the basis of the data exchanged between the car and motorcycle an algorithm then calculates their trajectories and identifies whether a collision is likely. In critical situations the motorcycle increases its conspicuity to warn the car driver. The level of collision risk is assessed and various measures taken accordingly; the motorcycle’s headlight is adjusted gradually, its strength increased and the flashlights and LEDs positioned on the sides of the bike and on its mirrors are activated to create a broader silhouette. If there is an acute risk of collision, the motorcycle’s horn also sounds. If the car continues into the intersection regardless, the left turn assistant brakes the car automatically to a standstill. Here again, a warning sound and relevant warnings in the instrument cluster and Head-Up Display indicate to the driver during and after the full braking manoeuvre why the car has been braked.'
BMW intends to put on a demonstration of the system today at a closed off junction in Wolfsburg at the INTERSAFE event. Let's hope it goes better than some safety technology demonstrations by other firms; examples from Volvo with fails in Pedestrian Avoidance and Auto-braking.
What do you think? Is it better to take control away from drivers, or will it just make them rely on the technology rather than their own eyes?
"The laser scanners pick up not only cars and trucks, but also motorcycles"
Awww that's nice... what happens when it doesn't?... maybe we can still rely on the driver's eyes but they're probably not as good as they were through lack of use (along with their brain).
Posted: 17/05/2011 at 12:01
Posted: 17/05/2011 at 12:53
It mentions that the car detects that the indicators are on.
Surely this is a mis-print as I rarely see BMW drivers indicating.
Posted: 17/05/2011 at 13:39
Posted: 17/05/2011 at 13:43
Posted: 17/05/2011 at 15:02
Would it not just be cheaper and easier to teach BMW car drivers...
A: That other vehicles use the road too.
B: To put the f##king phone down whilst driving!
C: To ride a bike for a couple of months before being allowed to drive.
D: That they do not actually own the damn road!
Ever wondered what it stood for....
B (Bulldoze) M (Motorcycles) W (Wantonly)
Posted: 17/05/2011 at 19:47
This is yet another device to take the responsibility for safety away from the driver. When will these people realise that the more devices they introduce, the worse drivers will become?
Technology is not the answer. Training is.
Get rid of the airbags, the crash/impact bars, the ABS, the driver's seatbelt, the sensors and the cameras and make the driver feel as vulnerable as possible. That way, they will pay more attention instead of sitting in their comfy little cocoons relying on the machine to do the thinking for them.
Posted: 18/05/2011 at 09:21
Having a system in place to assist drivers isn't a bad thing, it needs to be smart enough that it only works as a last resort, so that the drivers don't become too lazy.
It's like ABS in cars, brilliant piece of technology, but how many new drivers actually know how to cadence break now? How many of aforementioned drivers came unstuck in the snow?
Posted: 20/05/2011 at 07:48
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