Emergency Steer Assistant can avoid collisions
The German Centre for Aviation and Astronautics (DLR) has tested an Emergency Steer Assistant developed within the scope of the interactiVe project. The system supports the driver in the case of an imminent crash by automatic steering motions. "If in urban traffic suddenly the door of a parking vehicle is opened of on the highway a slower vehicle suddenly merges in front of you, such an emergency steer assistant can help to avoid a collision", says professor Karsten Lemmer from the DLR Institute of Traffic Systems Technology. In three simulator studies and a real-world trial with the FASCar test vehicle, the researchers investigated the interplay between drivers and the steering assistant.
The test drives have been conducted with the FASCar at a speed of 50 kmph (31 mph) on a straight test track. Abruptly, a cable pulled a large net across the road in a way that drivers had no chance to avoid a collision by merely braking. In this test situation the emergency steer assistant was able to perform a dodging manoeuvre at cyberspeed and managed to avoid the collision. In addition, the behaviour of the assistant at higher speeds has been investigated at DLR’s dynamic driving simulator. The test persons had to react to obstacles such as cars that suddenly merged into the driver’s track – a dangerous situation that frequently occurs on motorways. Tested were multiple early warning concepts including acoustic or optical signals as well as assistant system parameters such as the intensity of the steering movement.
The trials showed that such an assistant can help reducing the number of accidents with suddenly appearing obstacles. If a collision could not be avoided, its consequences could at least be mitigated. The acceptance of the assistant among the test persons was good. Many drivers did not even realise that the system actively intervened or said afterwards they believed that they acted by themselves with a dodging manoeuvre to the obstacle.
Within the interactiVe project, the DLR collaborates with 30 partners such as BMW, Ford and Volkswagen in developing driver assistant systems for critical situations. Along with Volvo Technology Corp, the Centro Ricerche Fiat and Allround Team GmbH, DLR compiled significant findings for design and dimensioning of such collision avoidance systems. Currently the industry partners are working to implement such an assistant system for serial vehicles. A schedule for market introduction however has not yet been submitted.