Volvo has developed technology that not only senses potential dangers within a full 360-degree arc around a vehicle but also helps the driver take evasive action to prevent a collision.
The technology is the culmination of a four-year Swedish collaboration among industry, academia and various other institutions, called the Non-Hit Car and Truck project. Its goal was to develop new technologies as well as improve existing ones to reduce collision risks for both passenger cars and commercial vehicles.
The 360-degree view technology comprises a single cohesive detection system that uses shared information from a network of discrete sensors throughout the vehicle. It synthesizes data from an array of technologies that includes cameras, radar, lidar, GPS and more.
By doing so, the system provide a seamless 360-degree view of the surrounding environment and identifies any potentially threatening objects, including those that drivers might otherwise not be able to see. Because it uses already available sensor technologies, the project has taken a big step towards making the system production feasible in the near future.
Beyond just identifying potential hazards, the system incorporates maneuver generator software to identify collision-free escape routes in any traffic scenario. It constantly analyzes threats around the car, searching for safe alternatives, and can assist drivers in taking evasive action with auto-braking and steering functions.
The project has built two test vehicles to demonstrate how effectively the 360-degree view and maneuver generator work together.
“With the Non-Hit Car and Truck project, we’ve taken a significant step towards realizing the vision that by 2020 no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car," says Anders Almevad, project manager for the Non-Hit Car Project at Volvo Cars.
He also noted that the technology is an important step in the development of autonomous self-driving cars, which must be able to automatically steer and brake to avoid collisions in all situations.
"Our primary objective is to focus on preventing different types of accident scenarios. But going forward, we will also continue to work on developing cars that adapt to each individual driver’s unique behaviour,” says Almevad.