Extra eyes and ears

May 27, 2020 //By Martin Frederiksen
Automotive Ethernet
Autopilot systems used to be for air, marine or spacecrafts — but today’s car drivers are increasingly relying on technologies to serve as “an extra pair of eyes and ears” and help them stay safe on the road.

The earliest innovations in car safety came from unlikely places. The windscreen wiper was invented by a cattle rancher, Mary Anderson; while Florence Lawrence, a Hollywood starlet, pioneered the turn signal. These technologies have saved countless lives, of course. But it wasn’t until many years later — and the involvement of major car manufacturers, like General Motors (GM) with its introduction of the airbag in 1973 — that stringent testing of these systems became mandatory.

As today’s drivers rely more on advanced driver assistance systems (ADASs) for safety, like lane-centring systems or advanced cruise control, technologies have to meet increasingly stringent testing standards. From the latest entertainment technologies to ADASs like lane-keep assistance or automated emergency braking, there are more requirements for Ethernet based networks in vehicles than ever before.

According to draft European Union (EU) rules, manufacturers of ADASs will be required to show how these systems safely return control back to the driver, monitor the road and how they react in emergency situations. There are also non-binding performance ratings, like Europe’s New Car Assessment Program (or Euro NCAP). A windscreen wiper designed by a cattle rancher simply won’t cut it anymore.


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