by Ian Wagstaff
Jaguar Land Rover is developing a range of new technologies that would use colors, sounds, and touch inside the car to alert drivers to potential hazards and prevent accidents involving bicycles and motorbikes. Sensors on the car will detect when another road user is approaching and identify it as bicycle or motorbike. “Bike Sense” will then make the driver aware of the potential hazard before the driver sees it.
Rather than using a generic warning icon or sound, which takes time for the driver’s brain to process, “Bike Sense” uses lights and sounds that the driver will instinctively associate with the potential danger.
To help the driver understand where the bike is in relation to their car, the audio system will make it sound as if a bicycle bell or motorbike horn is coming through the speaker nearest the bike, so the driver immediately understands the direction the cyclist is coming from.
If a bicycle or motorbike is coming up the road behind the car, “Bike Sense” will detect if it is overtaking or coming past the vehicle on the inside, and the top of the car seat will extend to “tap” the driver on the left or right shoulder. The idea is that the driver will then instinctively look over that shoulder to identify the potential hazard.
As the cyclist gets closer to the car, a matrix of LED lights on the window sills, dashboard, and windscreen pillars will glow amber and then red as the bike approaches. The movement of these red and amber lights across these surfaces will also highlight the direction the bike is taking.
Honda is to introduce the world’s first predictive cruise control system known as Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control (i-ACC), capable of foreseeing and automatically reacting to other vehicles “cutting-in” to the equipped vehicle’s lane.
Based on extensive real-world research of typical European driving styles, Honda’s i-ACC uses a camera and radar to sense the position of other vehicles on the road. It then applies an algorithm to predict the likelihood of vehicles in neighboring lanes cutting-in by evaluating relations between multiple vehicles, enabling the equipped vehicle to react quickly, safely, and comfortably.
i-ACC will make its debut this year on the new European CR-V, building upon the traditional Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) system.
Traditional ACC systems keep a preselected longitudinal velocity, which is only reduced for maintaining a safe distance to a car in front. However, if a vehicle cuts-in from a neighboring lane, the traditional ACC system reacts later thus requiring stronger braking.
The new i-ACC system is able to compute the likelihood of a cut-in up to five seconds before it occurs, and is therefore designed to react very smoothly so as not to startle the driver, who might not yet be aware of the imminent cut-in. In this case the system applies just a mild brake initially, with an icon appearing on the driver display, informing the driver why a slowdown occurs. It then proceeds to apply a stronger brake to adapt the velocity to keep a safe distance.
Toyota To Increase Fuel Cell Car Production
Toyota recently announced that it is to increase production of its Mirai fuel cell car. The hydrogen-powered sedan was launched in Japan on December 15 last year and will be introduced in the U.S.A. and selected European markets during this year.
The new plan calls for production to increase from 700 units this year to approximately 2,000 in 2016 and around 3,000 in 2017.
Toyota decided the supply structure should be adjusted to reflect the level of demand for the vehicle, in view of around 1,500 orders being received in the first month of sales in Japan and the prospect of the U.S. and European launches.
Following the production increases, sales plans for Japan, the U.S., and Europe will be formulated, taking into consideration the level of hydrogen infrastructure development, energy policies, car purchasing subsidies, consumer demand, environmental regulations, and other factors in each region.
U.K.-based journalist Ian Wagstaff has been covering the aftermarket for over 30 years and has contributed International Dateline for the last 28 of these. He is also an award-winning writer of books on motorsport.