Soon, an intelligent car that protects its occupants milliseconds before a crash

March 12th, 2008 - 2:01 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, Mar 12 (ANI): Cars that are able to protect their occupants from a crash at the crucial moment may soon be seen on highways and other roads, for scientists in an European Union (EU) project Advanced Protection Systems (APROSYS) have developed an intelligent side-impact protection system that radically reduces injury risk.

The system has stereo cameras and radar sensors that continually scan the environment and a central computer that analyses the data.

The cameras are integrated in the doors of the car and the radar sensors are placed in the car wings.

By the time the crash is only a second away, the cameras have long identified the car that will cause the accident. Then, radar measure how far the car is away.

With about 200 milliseconds left for the crash, the side-impact protection system gets activated. The impulse from the central computer releases a surge of electricity that heats a wire made of a shape memory alloy.

The heat bends the wire, which then releases a spring. The spring slackens and pushes a steel bolt, which is integrated in the seat, towards the door. At the same time a stable metal body in the door is brought into position to support the steel bolt.

The bolt and the metal box stabilizes the car door and absorbs energy on collision, thereby dramatically reducing the risk of injury.

The technology for the system has been developed by Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability LBF researchers in cooperation with various universities, car manufacturers and suppliers.

Our goal was to improve the active crash safety of motor vehicles that is, to adapt the technical properties of the car body in such a way that it absorbs energy at the crucial moment and thus protects the occupants, said project manager Bjorn Seipel of the Fraunhofer Institute.

The software program capable of predicting a lateral collision just in time was developed by a team led by Dr. Dieter Willersinn of the Fraunhofer Institute for Information and Data Processing IITB.

The passenger cell will be on display at the Hannover trade fair on April 21 through 25. (ANI)

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