Braking earlier and more rapidly prevents expensive rear-end collisions

Sep 8, 2008

A brief distraction is all it takes and an expensive accident is unavoidable. Emergency Brake Assist detects critical situations in urban traffic and ensures optimum braking. And, if you don't want a costly speeding ticket, then make use of Speed Limit Monitoring.

Berlin/Frankfurt am Main, Germany. With the vehicles in front, alongside and behind you constantly changing, and with all its road junctions, traffic lights and the thick press of cars, buses, motorcycles, pedal cyclists and pedestrians, urban traffic demands great concentration from car drivers. Three quarters of all accidents involving injuries occur within built-up areas at speeds of up to 30 km/h; well over 200,000 accidents of this type are recorded by the police in Germany every year. The accident statistics are not much different in other European countries either. The city version of Emergency Brake Assist, developed by international automotive supplier Continental, has been especially optimized for use in urban traffic and could prevent many low speed rear-end collisions. And even if they cannot be prevented completely, the consequences of a rear-end collision will at least be far less serious. As of this year, the sensor-assisted, forward-looking Emergency Brake Assist is already in series production with a European car manufacturer.

A brief distraction is all it takes and an expensive accident is unavoidable. Emergency Brake Assist detects critical situations in urban traffic and ensures optimum braking. The area in front of the vehicle up to a distance of some 10 meters is monitored by laser light. The sensor's electronics calculate the distance to a potential obstacle or to the vehicle in front. If the distance diminishes so rapidly that a rear-end collision appears imminent, the driver is alerted and, at the same time, the braking system is put on emergency standby, i.e. just the right amount of pressure automatically builds up in the braking system so that the brake pads come lightly into contact with the brake disks, enabling the braking system to respond immediately. If the driver then takes his foot off the accelerator, Brake Assist simultaneously triggers an initial partial brake application. If, after that, the driver contributes to the braking procedure by stepping on the brake pedal, then, irrespective of the force he applies, the system will apply whatever braking power is required to ensure that his own vehicle does not run into the rear end of other traffic on the road. In most cases, at low speeds up to 15 km/h, a rear-end collision can be avoided; at greater closing speeds, early braking can significantly reduce the consequences of the accident. This means that expensive repair work following minor accidents can be avoided or that any essential repairs will be less costly. And naturally the occupants of the car in front are also better protected. Rear-end collisions are known frequently to result in long-term damage to the spine.

In addition, data from the proximity sensor is used to pre-tension the safety belts prior to a collision and if necessary to optimize airbag ignition.

Emergency Brake Assist (EBA): coming to an earlier stop in an emergency even from high speed

A moment ago the traffic was flowing along the freeway well above the recommended speed; but suddenly, the hazard warning lights are flashing simultaneously in all three lanes. Some energetic braking is now needed to avoid a crash. This is where Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) can help in several ways. For one thing, the system's radar sensors can detect whether the distance to the vehicles in front is narrowing or if there is an obstacle in the road. If so, Emergency Brake Assist can place the braking system on anticipatory "high alert" by raising the pressure in the hydraulic system, charging the brake lines and applying the brake pads. These precautionary measures will be taken without the driver noticing, ready for the braking system to react in the shortest possible time. The instant the driver takes his foot off the accelerator, partial braking will be initiated and as soon as he steps on the brake pedal, braking force will be immediately available without any further delay. With the brakes “pre-charged” in this way, the stopping distance from 100 km/h is reduced by some 10 meters. If the driver does not realize that an accident is imminent, the Emergency Brake Assist warns him and gently applies the brakes. If the driver steps on the brake far too hesitantly for the vehicle to come to a halt in good time - which is usually the case - the Emergency Brake Assist will detect this and raise the brake pressure to the required level. This can significantly improve the stopping distance in many cases, these are the very meters which make the difference between "just about made it OK" and a rear-end collision costing several thousand euros and involving personal injury.

Speed Limit Monitoring (SLM): always aware of the current speed limit

Ignorance is no excuse! Failure to see a road sign displaying the permissible maximum speed can be expensive and, especially for people who rely on their driving license for their work, the consequences can be unpleasant. Speed Limit Monitoring has a display on the instrument panel to remind drivers of the current speed limit. This is achieved through multiple use of the same camera which is also used for the Lane Departure Warning system. When combined with high-performance software, it can also recognize speed limit signs.

Press Release (MS-Word, 60 KB)

Press Image to the issue Emergency Brake Assist in the Continental Media Center.

Nicole Geissler

External Communications


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