CTO Blog: Accelerating Safer Driving Today to Create a Brighter World Tomorrow

Unfortunately, we’ve all been there. We’re driving along the highway. Traffic is moderate, but volume is starting to pick up. Brake lights begin flashing here and there. Suddenly, the driver in car in front of us slams on his brakes. Tires squeal on pavement. At that second, the car in front of us has our full attention and we hit the brakes attempting to stop our in time. The moment we sense we won’t hit the car in front, we anxiously look in the mirror to see what’s happening behind us and if that car will stop in time. All of this only takes seconds; anxiety filled seconds that serve as a sobering reminder that things can change in an instant. We’ve avoided an accident… this time.
 

This scenario, however, is played out countless times every day on our highways. And unfortunately, humans being humans, we make mistakes. We get distracted and take our attention off the task of driving safely. This is why advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are so critical in our efforts to reduce vehicle related injuries and fatalities. That vehicle mentioned earlier, if equipped with autonomous emergency braking (AEB) would have first alerted the driver and then, if needed, applied the brakes to stop the car in a controlled manner at a safe distance (also giving the car behind more time to react). 

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At Aptiv, we believe that what sometimes gets lost in the hype of “driverless cars” is that mobility involves so much more than moving people and goods from point A to point B. And safety is at the top of that list. It’s one of the primary reasons we all get up in the morning and do what we do every day. Safety always has been and always will be one of our primary areas of focus. 

Why? Let’s look at the numbers. We know that if we can give human drivers and their vehicles just an extra half-second of warning time, we can reduce accidents by 60 percent. This can have an immensely positive impact on the number of vehicle accidents around the world that kill more than 1.25 million people annually. Roughly 90 percent of these accidents are human-error related.

My colleagues and I at Aptiv have been deploying cutting-edge safety technology on the road for decades. Way back in 1999, we were the first to integrate radar into a vehicle (a Jaguar to be exact) for an adaptive cruise control system. That’s the distant ancestor of today’s highly advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) that we are providing to auto manufacturers around the world to help make driving safer in tens of millions of passenger and commercial vehicles.

For example, while we are all working diligently toward the day when Level 5 autonomous vehicles are a ubiquitous reality, we are already seeing highly autonomous safety technology on the road today. As mentioned earlier, AEB systems can react faster than a human driver and prevent a tragedy. 
 

The technology is so effective that the European Union requires AEB on all commercial vehicles weighing in excess of 7,000 kilograms. In the U.S., 20 auto manufacturers have agreed to make AEB standard on all new vehicles by 2022.

Of course, AEB is just one safety solution among many we’re so proud to be bringing to market. Currently, our Smart Vehicle Architecture™ (SVA) is helping to democratize safety, while bridging the gap between today’s increasingly tech-centric vehicles and tomorrow’s highly automated vehicles. Other examples include lane departure warning systems that alert drivers if they swerve off course, and blind spot detection systems that employ sensors, cameras and radar to perceive objects like pedestrians or other cars and alert drivers to help them avoid accidents.

What makes Aptiv different is that SVA centralizes compute and decision-making for all the various safety systems (and other systems) in and around the vehicle. This approach enables us to efficiently and effectively utilize both ADAS hardware and software for customers to upgrade their capabilities. 
 

And the more of these technologies we can get onto the roads of the world, the safer they will be for all of us. This means we will continue to identify and solve complex engineering and social challenges because the advanced mobility solutions we develop will create a safer, greener and better connected world for all of us – today and tomorrow.

Posted By
Glen De Vos, Senior Vice President, Chief Technology Officer and President, Mobility & Services Group, Aptiv

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