Hella Electronics Help OEMs Meet Federal Safety Regulations
DETROIT, MI. October 22, 2008: Automotive supplier Hella KGaA Hueck & Co. has developed a variety of driver assistance systems to help automakers meet proposed U.S. safety regulations.
Beginning in the 2010 model year, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is changing its front and side crash-test programs that are the basis for NHTSA’s five-star safety rating system under the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP).
At the Convergence 2008 conference and exposition (Oct. 20-22 at Cobo Center in Detroit) Hella demonstrates how technologies such as lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control systems—proven crash avoidance technologies in production today—can help vehicle manufacturers achieve NHTSA’s coveted five-star status—the agency’s highest safety rating.
“Research by NHTSA and others has shown that many consumers are unaware of the potential safety benefits of these technologies,” explained Dr. Martin Fischer, president of Hella Corporate Center USA with responsibility for the automotive supplier’s lighting, electronics and aftermarket business units in the United States. “For years, Hella has been working with its customers and partners on driver assistance systems because safety does sell.”
Hella is supplying the 2009 Opel Insignia, a General Motors’ brand sold in Europe, with a camera system that warns drivers of unintended lane departures. With an optional camera mounted at the base of the rearview mirror, Hella’s LDW system works at speeds in excess of 30 miles per hour.
The system’s signal processor filters pictures taken by a front camera, looking for lines and longitudinal structures to recognize traffic lanes. Thanks to special algorithms and by monitoring steering wheel movements, LDW only issues a warning in hazardous situations.
“Our LDW system can combat the dangerous phenomena known as microsleep or driver distraction where vehicles unintentionally stray into oncoming traffic,” Fischer added. “It provides the driver with visual, sound or vibration signals to help prevent side collisions.”
In addition to electronics technologies that contribute to the NCAP five-star rating, there are several other driver assistance systems, currently available from Hella, which have the potential to reduce vehicle crashes.
Many of the technologies included in Hella’s portfolio of driver assistance systems are based on camera and ultrasonic technology, as well as LIDAR-based (Light Detection and Ranging) and 24-GHz radar. They include:
“The aim of Hella research and development is to further increase customer safety by combining sensors and functionalities,” Fischer noted. “Our objective is to greatly reduce traffic accidents and injuries by providing safety systems for the broadest possible range of vehicles. This is the point of the NCAP star rating system.”
Future light-based driver assistance systems will give optimum road space illumination for drivers. Hella specialists also are developing adaptive lighting technologies that assist in pedestrian and object detection using a camera.