AT THE PARKING BECOME
In megacities, you have to "catch" millimeters, squeezing into a row of cars at the sidewalk. The systems called “parking sensors” help here.
Ultrasonic sensors are integrated into the bumpers (four in the front and rear), scanning the space around the machine. The device is triggered when about 1.5 m remains before the obstacle: the LEDs on the instrument panel blink and the buzzer rattles. The closer the object, the shorter the pauses between the sound signals and the “redder” the light bulb. At 20 centimeters from the obstacle, the car begins to “vote” constantly. In some cars, a picture is displayed in front of the driver: a car and multi-colored zones showing the distance to an obstacle, and the sound comes from the speakers of a regular audio system for persuasiveness.
More complex and sensitive devices can recognize an object not only from the back and front, but also from the sides. Such parking sensors need, of course, more detailed information, and therefore additional sensors - at least six in each bumper.
The first devices supporting a given speed, the so-called cruise controls, in fact, were built into the mechanical "chain" (traction or cable) between the gas pedal and the throttle.
One of the ancient designs worked like this. The driver operated with a special button at the end of the steering column switch. Pressed and released - the speedometer needle froze at a given mark. Holding the button, you can accelerate to the selected speed. The control unit, comparing the given parameters with the actual ones, commanded a stepper motor that controlled the accelerator pedal. A person could interfere with the system, for example, overtaking.
In later systems, the pneumatic device acted directly on the throttle. The electromagnetic valve, which was commanded by the control unit, dosed a vacuum in the cavity of the control mechanism. The diaphragm extended the stem associated with the throttle actuator.
The impetus for the development of "cruises" was given by electronics: it eliminated the mechanical connection between the gas pedal and the engine. The control unit now communicates with motor and gearbox computers. Such devices are more accurate, faster and, more importantly, more compact.
There was only one step left to the so-called adaptive systems capable of supporting not only a given speed, but also a safe distance. An “all-seeing eye" was built into the front of the car - a radar operating in the transmit and receive mode. According to the signal transit time, it calculates the distance from the car to the object and informs the control unit.
The driver sets the speed, the computer obediently keeps the speedometer needle at the desired mark. But if a slow car is on the way, and you are not slowing down or trying to overtake it, the system “strangles” the engine and, if necessary, activates the brakes. The path is free - again gaining a given speed.
Of course, even adaptive cruise control does not allow distraction from the road. Developers specifically warn: the device was created, first of all, for comfort, and not to prevent accidents. For example, brakes can “turn on” only 25% of maximum efficiency. Need to stop faster - step on the pedal yourself. In addition, the system has a rather narrow horizons: even a motorcyclist moving a few meters away from you along the edge of the same row does not fall into view. A passing car on a bend can also mislead smart technology: it occupies the adjacent lane, but becomes the "target" of the radar.
MOWING WITH A BURNING EYE
Xenon headlights are slowly crowding out the “halogen”. And in the block headlights are increasingly putting additional lamps with rotary reflectors. Adaptive light follows the turn of the steering wheel, illuminating the bend of the road “blind” for conventional headlights. When approaching the intersection, when the driver turned on the direction indicator, one of the headlights deviates, illuminating the curb and adjacent road. But after all, when changing from row to row, light striking to the side can interfere with other drivers! To avoid this, the electronics track the speed of the car.
I SEE, HEAR, HELP
Obviously, in the near future the “sensory organs” will become even more perfect. In Germany, the Invent project (INVENT - “smart transport and useful equipment”) was approved, in which BMW, Daimler-Chrysler, Volkswagen, Bosch, Siemens and other industry giants participate. In the next few years, they promise to teach the car to navigate in a traffic situation, to prevent driver errors. Of course, his role in management will remain dominant, project managers say, electronics is only intended to help in difficult cases.
One of the systems will control cornering and rebuilding. The electronic assistant will take into account the influence of the crosswind, the slope of the road, its roughness and make adjustments even before a critical situation occurs.
The Stop & Go feature will help brighten up life in traffic jams. Having stood at the tail of the column, you press a special button, and then the machine itself is controlled with the engine and brakes. It remains only occasionally to spin the steering wheel. However, Bosch is working on a modernized ESP system that stabilizes the car not only with brakes, but also with steering.
Project participants are developing even more complex devices, for example, to avoid accidents at intersections. Using infrared and thermal cameras, radars, laser and ultrasonic sensors, the computer will “examine” the territory in advance and calculate the traffic situation (signs, traffic lights, location of cars and pedestrians). If an obstacle arises on the way, and the driver does not take decisive action, the system takes control: it slows down, and if necessary even slows down urgently.
In the near future, traffic jams will fight … the cars themselves. Talking with other cars within a kilometer radius, your crew will collect the necessary information and, having analyzed it, will pave the way along the least busy streets. And the cars will warn each other about the danger - a slippery road or a tree that has fallen around a bend …
Cars become more attentive, surpassing the crown of creation - man, with sensitivity and even insight. We do not know how to read thoughts at a distance and calculate the situation with computer speed. But we know how to reason, feel and … create machines that make our life easier and safer.
When parking, the BMW 7 Series driver looks more at the display, than in the rear window.
The third eye - the cruise control radar on the Audi A8 is built into the front bumper.
Volkswagen adaptive cruise control looks 180 meters ahead and runs at a speed of 180 km / h.
Cars are already learning to steer and park themselves. Electronics rather a person will enter a car between other cars.
At a bend, adaptive headlights illuminate 89 m of the track, conventional xenon headlights illuminate 65 m, and halogen - only 53 m.