Why High-Speed Connectors Make Life-Saving Tech Possible


At Aptiv, we like to stress the difference a split-second can make. Specifically, the difference it can make when trying to avert the potentially fatal consequences of a road traffic accident.

To fully appreciate why a fleeting moment might have such profound implications, consider two facts. First, around 1.25 million people are killed every year on the world’s roads. It’s also been calculated that a mere half-second improvement in driver reaction time would eliminate 60 percent of all traffic accidents. 

Sobering, isn’t it? And these two statistics go a long way to explaining why our 18,600-strong engineering team is so committed to the development of world-class safe, green and connected systems. What’s more, we’re proud that features such as emergency braking, lane assist and blind spot warning are increasingly commonplace on vehicles being driven on the road today.

Across the whole range of active safety solutions we offer, the same basic principles apply. We’re aiming to mitigate the risk of human error by creating a vehicle that senses danger on behalf of its occupants. One that then reacts quickly enough to either warn the driver to take corrective action - or does so automatically on their behalf.

However, while the concept may be straightforward, achieving it is anything but. Developing an active safety system demands successful integration of a range of different technologies, including radar, sensors and/or cameras, along with complex algorithms that make sense of a continuous flow of information of the car’s surroundings. 

Perhaps not surprisingly, high-speed data transmission is a critical part of that jigsaw puzzle. A camera, for example, will generate a vast quantity of data that must be processed in real-time. Transmitting that data quickly and reliably is obviously vital in terms of enabling the system to react quickly enough to perceived risk. Every fraction of a second saved could be a matter of life or death.

At Aptiv, we offer a comprehensive range of field-proven connectors and cabling that can fulfil the exacting demands of active safety systems – and much more. As a result, OEMs can extend greater protection to more and more drivers, passengers and pedestrians. 

Certainly, there was plenty of evidence of our ability to meet a wide range of requirements at the 2019 Geneva International Motor Show. Amidst the annual hype and excitement surrounding high-profile OEM model launches, Aptiv’s technology is widespread. Notably, it includes numerous advanced safety and user experience applications, integrated into some of the most significant new vehicles unveiled at this year’s event. Many require high-speed data connectivity, including front and/or driver state cameras. 

Meanwhile, the all-new full electric SUV from Volvo spin-off Polestar utilizes Aptiv’s infotainment head-unit, typifying the exponential growth in high-resolution displays and user interfaces that similarly rely on robust, high-speed data transmission.

You’ll also find Aptiv solutions in every one of the candidates for the 2019 European Car of the Year Award. That includes this year’s winner, Jaguar’s ground-breaking electric I-PACE, which features our user interface panel, along with an array of other Aptiv products.  

As drivers, we’ve probably all experienced that heart-stopping ‘near-miss moment’ at least once in our lives. Unfortunately, some of us will also have had to deal with the consequences of a human failure to respond quickly enough to a dangerous situation. As far as reducing the number of road deaths and injuries is concerned, high-speed connectors are an essential element in the active safety systems already deployed in millions of cars. 

By reliably transmitting the high volumes of data on which such systems rely, they are playing a key part in the drive to help prevent accidents – and help save lives. What’s more, such active safety systems are a vital stepping stone in the evolution of the fully autonomous vehicle. And these vehicles will inevitably be characterized by the multitude of cameras needed, and another stellar leap in the volume of high-speed data that must be transmitted. 

High-speed connectors will consequently be at the heart of this engineering landmark - one that offers us the prospect of eliminating the risk of human error, and ultimately cutting that figure of 1.25 million road fatalities to zero.