What will be the cars in 2020?

By the end of the 20th century, in the developed countries of the world, traffic accidents reached one of the first places in the list of causes of death. But from the turn of the 1980-1990s, the rampant growth of this real epidemic was able to stop. And not only stop, but also turn back - from now on, despite the constant increase in the number of cars, the number of deaths has been falling. In Germany, for example, the number of cars from 1990 to 2013 increased almost one and a half times (from 38 to 54 million), and the number of deaths decreased almost threefold from 11 to 4 million. Such serious progress was achieved thanks to car manufacturers, as well as governments and public organizations that have contributed a lot to promoting security technologies to the masses. Nevertheless, the problem remains quite serious: more than a million people still die in road accidents every year in the world, and another 50 million get injuries of varying severity.

So that the driver does not distract from the road, looking at the navigation directions, the enriched reality system projects them directly onto the windshield. At the same time, they are combined with road, road markings and surrounding cars.

The cameras located in the side mirrors, the bumper and the trunk allow the driver to show a “top view” picture obtained by computer synthesis. Cars with such cameras are already on the market, but Continental developers have gone further: now you can display a computer-synthesized view of the car from any arbitrary point on the screen. And if during parking the radar detects an obstacle that is invisible from the driver’s position, the computer will automatically show the dangerous object from the optimal angle.

When approaching a traffic light, the signal recognition system determines the color of the signal. If red lights up, the car warns the driver that it is necessary to dump gas, or brakes independently. In this case, the color of the sigal is determined individually for different lanes.

Plus active security

But in the coming years, this number may decrease dramatically, as passive and especially active security technologies are becoming more advanced. This is not about completely unmanned vehicles, which, however, are already taking to the roads (for now, as an experiment), but about those cars that will go off the assembly line in a couple of years. These cars will be equipped with a large number of different driver assistance systems, as well as many different sensors - from radars to stereo cameras that monitor the space around the car. According to the German Federal Highway Institute (BAST), driver assistance systems could potentially reduce the number of serious accidents with injuries by 70%.

The same opinion is shared by independent reputable institutions that are involved in automotive safety. Starting from 2014, the European Euro NCAP (New Car Assessment Program), when determining the safety rating of a particular model, considers some optional driver assistance systems (automatic emergency braking in front of an obstacle, tracking a lane and recognizing speed limit signs) as advantage - so far a separate item, out of competition. However, starting in 2016, European experts at EuroNCAP, as well as their colleagues from the American NHTSA and Japanese JNCAP, will consider the presence of these (and other) driver assistance systems necessary to obtain a high rating.

New systems will be able to detect a pedestrian not only at the moment when he goes on the road. The Doppler radar located in the bumper “sees” the moving legs of a pedestrian hidden by a parked car and warns the driver about this. And if necessary, it starts automatic braking.

Electronic Horizon (eHorizon) is a distributed centralized system for informing each car about the situation on the road. A car computer can receive route information from a centralized database, from smart infrastructure, as well as from other cars. Thanks to this, the relevance of traffic information can be significantly improved. Combined with smart cruise control, this can significantly automate the driving process.

The automatic braking system focuses on the radar signal reflected from the vehicle ahead. When reducing the distance to dangerous braking occurs automatically. If there are cameras, the system can recognize the image of the object (pedestrian, cyclist, car) and, depending on external factors, slow down or go around an obstacle.

In order not to impair the car’s aerodynamics with “mugs” of side mirrors, the car can be equipped with rear-view cameras. The view from these cameras is displayed on numerous screens in the cabin at the request of the driver.


“This means that no new car model can count on a five-star rating based on crash test results alone, ” explains Wilfried Mer of Continental's driver assistance systems. - Thus, active safety systems will play an increasing role in the design of the car. Since 2016, automatic braking in front of a pedestrian in various situations, as well as tracking speed limits depending on the days of the week, time of day and weather conditions will be added to the number of mandatory systems to get a good EuroNCAP safety rating. ”

Lane tracking systems are already equipped with many models of low-cost cars. Continental engineers have developed a system that allows you to determine the curb even on the road without marking. In combination with an automatic individual braking system for each wheel, this prevents the car from getting off the road.

To ensure safety when driving through blind intersections, you can use the communication technology between V2X vehicles (Vehicle2Vehicle). Each machine at the same time broadcasts its location, speed and direction of movement to everyone else, and if the computer detects that the paths intersect dangerously, it warns the driver and turns on automatic braking.

Hybrid cars can save fuel and reduce emissions, but their design is more complex and expensive. Therefore, many companies are developing the concept of "soft hybrids." Continental, along with Schaeffler Corporation, unveiled their version of the gasoline car. It is equipped with a more powerful generator, which can also work as an electric motor, and electronically controlled clutch. When slowing down or moving by inertia, the engine shuts off, and when you press the accelerator, it starts again.

If pressing the accelerator can lead to undesirable or dangerous consequences - for example, the driver has moved too close to the front-moving car - then the pedal developed by Continental will counteract in the most literal sense of the word, increasing the pressing force and returning to its original position.

Pixel Light LED headlights with a matrix of LEDs make it possible to form a light beam of almost any profile - for example, highlight sharp turns or pedestrians on the side of the road. Pixel Light even allows you to project on the road the navigation system commands in the “enriched reality” mode.

To show good EuroNCAP results in 2018, cars need to get some more security systems. They will have to learn how to detect a pedestrian and brake in front of him in low light, brake in front of cyclists at intersections, prevent the car from being pulled into a ditch and warn the driver about dangerous situations when overtaking. And in 2020, the “approximate behavior” of the car at intersections will also be added to this: automatic braking in front of cars moving in the transverse direction, passing oncoming traffic when turning left, passing cyclists when turning right. In addition, the possibility of adding traffic recognition systems to these points (and automatic braking in the case of a red signal) is now being discussed.

“Having automated driver assistance systems makes cars safer, ” says Wilfried Mer. “But it is also a step towards a very ambitious dream that we at Continental call Vision Zero.” Our ultimate goal, in full accordance with the name of the plan, is the zero number of accidents on the roads. We believe that this is achievable. ”

The article “Cars of the Nearest Present” was published in the journal Popular Mechanics (No. 9, September 2015).


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