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Crash avoiding car is around the corner.

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by robsalvv, Oct 6, 2011.

  1. http://www.iol.co.za/motoring/industry-news/crash-evading-cars-on-the-horizon-1.1150937

    Crash-evading cars on the horizon

    Vehicles that talk to each other to avoid collisions will be the next major advance in automotive safety as carmakers gear up to introduce ground-breaking new vehicle-to-vehicle technology.

    The V2V-equipped cars are expected to be launched in Europe and the United States by 2015 - but GM Australia's vehicle regulation and certification manager, Mike Hammer, who oversees vehicle design regulations for domestic and export programmes and serves as industry-government liaison, has warned authorities of the need to establish the standards and governance framework required for its implementation.

    Speaking at the second Intelligent Transport Systems summit on Australia’s Gold Coast Hammer, an electrical and computing systems engineer with 30 years' experience in the automotive industry, said V2V technology could be one of the single biggest automotive safety advances since the invention of the seatbelt and electronic stability control.

    He said: “A friend of mine has this proximity warning device on his glider. We were up flying and it told us there was another glider flying below us; I thought it was a fantastic system that we ought to have on cars.

    “There's a lot of research around the world now because, as our vehicles become safer, the role of human error in crashes is becoming more dominant - particularly things such as side impacts, which mostly occur below the speed limit and are usually the result of driver error.''

    A field study by Melbourne's Monash University Accident Research Centre found that, of 25 participants driving a 21km urban route including 29 intersections, the drivers made an average of 12 errors per drive.

    Hammer commented: “Half the errors occurred at intersections and there were actually four instances of people failing to stop at a red light even though they knew they were in a car that was being monitored.'
    Similarly, a statistical study by the University of Adelaide's Centre for Automotive Safety Research concluded that 87 percent of crashes in South Australian urban areas were caused by people making simple road-user mistakes.

    America's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has estimated that co-operative intelligent transport systems could help in 81 percent of car and motorcycle crashes involving unimpaired drivers. And the Monash University team has forecast that intelligent vehicle safety technologies such as V2V could reduce serious road injuries by as much as 35 percent.
    Hammer said: “These improvements are well beyond even the most ambitious government targets and what could be achieved with other technologies.

    “There are similar studies overseas which have come to the same conclusion: that the vast majority of crashes are caused by people making mistakes - it's not bad behaviour. And a lot of our road-safety policies at the moment are focused on driver behaviour, rather than making the system more error-tolerant.”

    Estimates on the contribution of human error to road-traffic crashes vary from 75 to 90 percent.

    Human error is inevitable, but it should not result in death or serious injury. So really what we need is a second set of eyes, a guardian angel that intervenes if a crash is imminent.

    Hammer predicted: “Vehicle safety development in the future will focus on actively assisting the driver not to make errors.''

    He said active safety features such as anti-lock braking systems and electronic stability control could be viewed as the first error-tolerant technologies because they compensated for driver mistakes but, because they had been so effective, driver error was playing an increasingly large role in multi-vehicle collisions.

    “The NHTSA stated recently that stability control was significantly reducing the number of off-road and rollover crashes in the US, so the automotive industry is now firmly focused on safety systems - and V2V is the lead technology within that, so the global vehicle manufacturers are getting together to agree on protocols and standards.

    “We’ll probably start seeing vehicles with these new safety systems in the next five to 10 years.”

    Essentially an all-round detection system, V2V makes vehicles aware of others close by; it’s immune to false alarms, fog and rain.
    It’s one of the few technologies effective for prevention of side impacts and intersection collisions, and its low cost means that every vehicle can have it.

    V2V technology was first seen in GM prototypes as early as 2004 and the same crash-avoidance technology is employed in a range of autonomous vehicle trials, which also use follow-the-leader radar-based cruise control, lane-departure warning and other technologies already available in many luxury cars, that could lead to cars that drive themselves within a decade.
    Hammer said: “A lot of these technologies are available now, but you see them only on expensive vehicles. The beauty of V2V is it's very inexpensive - just a GPS receiver with no fancy radar.

    “Because it's cheap, it can be used on all cars, and even cyclists can carry transponders.'' - The New Zealand Herald
  2. You see? That's what's wrong. Put a few beers in them and would've been fine. Isn't it wonderful the things that statistics can show you?
    Ah - thank you. I'm not laughing any more - this is gold!

    ... but not if it's used as a justification to get a transponder in every vehicle, talking about my sins to the authorities all the time...

    The lesson from aviation (jump in here any time Knickers and heli et al) is that increased automation does reduce overall risk, but it brings its own dangers, not the least of which is reduction in overall pilot skill and lack of currency and competency. Increasingly, accidents are happening because the situation became complicated and the pilot(s) didn't know what was on automatic and what was not, or how they should proceed to manage a dangerous situation when some systems seemed to be working and some not. Boeing are moving cautiously toward greater automation, but Airbus are striding towards full robot pilots with a meat-sack figurehead as fast as they can, to the alarm of some older pilots.

    It's possible to argue this either way. The more safety devices they put in the vehicle, the less careful drivers become.

    And not all change is progress. It's true that even a cheap and nasty car on the production line now, will go faster and stop better and handle better, and probably be nicer to drive, than any basic transport vehicle of (say) the late '70s. So answer me this - How many kids got reversed over per capita in 1980 v this year? I haven't gone and looked, but I'll make a bold guess and say the figure hasn't changed much, but it would be getting slightly worse - because vision out of a modern vehicle is worse - not better - than what it was in 1980. The cars are getting bigger, but the glass area is getting smaller.

    There is no substitute for a well trained, switched on, capable, competent driver. The paradox is that the more we try and augment the driver with technical fixes, the less there seems to be a need for that competence. Add in the the howling and gnashing of teeth from the safety nazis, and anybody who goes out and tries to become competent in a car will have it impounded for hooning.

    And as if that wasn't bad enough, the social engineering is busy moving the goal posts. In my mother's day, education about biology stopped before it came to sex between humans. It was mum & dad's job to explain that. Then we had a revolution where suddenly we became enlightened and everything got better because people had the facts of life explained to them at an appropriate age or slightly before, because that was a good and responsible thing to do. Ok - fast forward to now. I notice that the standard of sex education to early teens today is actually not as good as what I got in the '70s. So I go to the P & C and try and complain about it. You think? Like hell I do. I'm too scared. I don't want the thought police going through my computer looking for pictures of little kiddies. They wouldn't find any, but I don't want to be raided and have my friends quizzed about what I do with their children and generally have the cloud of doubt thrown over me.

    How's that relevant? You try and explain that a young bloke should go out and learn to fish-tail without full loss of control, or power slide, or handbrake turn or 'J' turn, or drift - and you'll find yourself under investigation for crimes against humanity. The SIM card from your phone will turn out to be one that Osamah Bin Laden discarded last year. The traffic offences you got away with 15 years ago will suddenly become open cases again. Ancient traffic offences will pop up on your record, that you forgot to pay the fine on, and look what we have here! A warrent for an unpaid fine. Wonder how that happened...

    I don't have a problem with technology - I love it. I'm a computer geek. What I do have a problem with is humans, and the things they do with technology. We are a political species, and there seems to an endless stream of bright young people itching to make things better for everybody by removing all choice, free thought, autonomy or doubt. Perhaps they should air the Star Wars movies a couple of times a year. Subtle they're not, but they're spot on about authority.

    Speaking of which - A Current Affair must be having a slow night. They picked a short clip off YouTube of a bloke riding around Melbourne a bit quick on a GSXR1000 and shoved it under the nose of a senior traffic cop, and won't somebody think of the children? Then they went and tracked down the bloke's house and put it on national TV. (Why can't the police find him? We can.) Social engineering. Don't you love it?
  3. Agreed. Now, can you tell me where we might find such a beast.

    Disagree somewhat. Learning observation, anticipation and general defensive driving skills will keep the average road user out of a lot more crashes than will learning to eg. drift and skid under control, and the process of learning them places the driver at zero risk of a hoon charge. Indeed, the risk will reduce significantly because about 90% of advanced driving techniques (as, IMHO, they should be taught and are in more enlightened countries by bodies such as the IAM) revolve around keeping your eyes open and your brain engaged, both of which makes it easier to spot where cops may be lurking.

    To borrow a further analogy from aviation, "The superior pilot is one who uses their superior judgement in order to avoid situations in which they may need to employ their superior skills"
  4. They do exist. Like highly skilled motorcyclists, they're not in the majority.

    Yeah, can't disagree with that one.

    When we learn to fly, we learn how not to stall and spin. But we also have to learn what happens if we do, and how to recover from it. When we learn to drive, we learn how not to skid and spin ... There's a place for defensive driving instruction. I'm all in favour of it. But it should go hand in hand with advanced vehicle control. Instead, it frowns loftily at anyone who gets within 50% of the limits of the vehicle. Dangerous larakins.

    You're not competent to fly an aeroplane if you don't know what the limits of the machine are, or how to handle it competently near those limits. Half the drivers on the road have no idea what the limits of their vehicle are, and less than a quarter have any idea how to competently handle it at or near those limits. The same, I'm sad to say, is true of bikes.
  5. This might be the dumbest thing I have read today (only because I managed to avoid my usual sojourn into the religion section of the ABC website...).

    Very few of a car's safety features reduce the chances of a crash. If anything, human error is less dominant now that we have things like ABS and stability control. Human error is, and always has been, the only actual reason people crash (except for maybe exploding tyres - though that could be blamed on lack of maintenance which is still a human problem). Any vehicle will do exactly what its pilot instructs it to do - it's just that most pilots have no fucking idea what inputs to use at any given time.
  6. I don't violently disagree with you but I do think there are some flaws in taking the flying analogy too far because of some fundfamental differences in the nature of pilots vs drivers, the predominant factors in air vs road accidents and what is actually practical in terms of training and assessment.

    First off, most pilots fly because they want to fly. They're enthusiasts. In the case of professionals, the fact that they get paid for doing what they love is a bonus but I doubt if it is the primary motivation in most cases. Consequently, even if there were no legal necessity to remain current, constantly practice, upgrade their skills etc. most would. Nearer to a motorcycle mentality than a car one.

    Most drivers, on the other hand, are not enthusiasts. A very high proportion, if asked and answering honestly, would, I suspect, admit that they do not enjoy driving and find it to be tedious, frustrating, frightening and something that they would rather not do were it not for the fact that our society and our cities are structured in such a way that anyone who doesn't finds themselves at some substantial practical disadvantages. To those, you can add the ones who are basically indifferent to the task. Between those two groups, I think (and I have no figures to back this up) that you'd capture at least 75-80% of non-professional drivers.

    Now, advanced vehicle control skills are like any other practical skill. If they are not constantly practiced and used they deteriorate to the point where, when they are needed, they're useless. The average motorist, for the reason outlined above, ain't going to do that practice or maintain their currency and IMHO wouldn't even if the opportunity were available, which, for most, it isn't. Therefore, for the average motorist, I'd very much doubt if an advanced vehicle control course would be of any practical benefit for more than a few months at best.

    However, the basic elements of advanced defensive driving techniques (observation, anticipation, commentary driving etc.), if instilled early on in a driver's career, are easy to make habitual and can be practiced every time the driver gets behind the wheel and, indeed, can be practiced as a passenger. Done right, it should even be possible to ingrain it into hostile non-enthusiast drivers without them even knowing it's happening which might be helpful in the case of folk like the sister you describe in another thread. I'd certainly consider simply getting more drivers to watch what is going on more than 2m ahead of their bonnet or the arse of the car in front (whichever is closer) to be a major win.

    Which kind of brings me to the difference between the typical air crash and the typical road crash. Now, I don't fly myself but it is a subject which interests me. I've spent quite a bit of time reading online crash reports and it strikes me that a substantial proportion of light plane crashes have, as a major contributory factor, loss of control of the aircraft. As an example, in what seems to be a very high proportion of reported crashes, primary cause may be something like an engine outage but what actually turns a plane into a lawn dart is typically a stall-spin when manouvering at low speed and low altitude, ie a loss of control issue. In an area where loss of control under abnormal conditions is a major contributor to the accident figures, it makes a lot of sense to focus on control of the vehicle in abnormal conditions.

    In contrast, I have a suspicion (again with no figures to back it up so what follows is opinion) that only a very small proportion of car crashes are primarily a result of loss of control of the vehicle. Indeed I will go further out on a limb and say that, for the majority non-enthusiast driving population, the proportion would be, if not negligible, probably not worth chasing. The majority low hanging fruit here is stuff like SMIDSY, running red lights because they didn't bloody see them 'cos they were too busy on the phone, rear enders because they weren't aware the traffic ahead was slowing until the brake lights of the car immediately ahead came on etc. Stuff where they didn't even see the emergency coming until it was far too late for any rusty, half-remembered, unpracticed vehicle control skills to make the slightest bit of difference.

    I'd be willing to bet that the majority of non-enthusiasts involved in crashes are completely unaware of the danger they are in until the big bang. I see it every day, with folk blindly tootling along in hugely risky situations and either remaining blissfully unaware or, even worse, realising at the last split second that there's a problem and panicking, when the warning signs were clear to anyone with their eyes open several seconds or even several minutes beforehand.

    Indeed, I will go still further out, ignoring the creakings of this now very thin twig under my 120kgs, and assert that a high proportion of (the relatively small number of) loss of control crashes happen to those who, rightly or wrongly, believe themselves to posess advanced vehicle control skills. Out in Perth's Hills where I live, we have fairly regular cases of kids in Commodores wrapping it around trees or poles on the outside of bends. Coincidentally, the wreckage is often recognisable as the car that's spent the last few months being driven sideways round the local roundabout for days at a stretch. Maybe knowing how to do it properly would have saved them and maybe it wouldn't. However, individually tragic though the incidents are, they make up a tiny proportion of the road toll, regardless of what the authorities or the tabloids would have us believe.

    The other major type of loss of control crash seems to be the "fall-asleep-drift-onto-soft-road-shoulder-wake-up-overcorrect-and-roll-it". Again, I'm not convinced that a near forgotten advanced vehicle control course will help much, but actually treating driving in the serious manner it deserves might have allowed the driver to recognise and act upon the signs of fatigue before it led to the loss of vehicle control before it killed them.

    Which leads us to the matter of training, currency and testing. To do any good for any length of time, as I noted earlier, advanced control skills need to be practiced. Currently even those who would wish to do so don't have the easily accessible, safe infrastructure to do so. If you enforce periodic reassessment, where are 10 million drivers going to practice and who is going to assess them? It's not a practical proposition. It's only feasible with pilots because there aren't very many of them.

    I'm not arguing that advanced vehicle control skills are not worthwhile. I am, however arguing that to maintain a useful level of them in the majority of the driving population wouldn't stack up as well in a cost benefit analysis as would teaching and making habitual some very basic techniques and attitudes that can be practised by anyone, anywhere, anytime but which most folk seem unaware of.

    As for the conservatism of the IAM, I challenge anyone to try following one of their bike instructors on a winding British A-road. I've done it and if that's less than 50% of the capabilities of a BMW K100 all those R1s had better watch out when my project K is finally finished :twisted:. Admittedly the IAM have gone quiet about some of their more politically untenable positions (until about 20 years ago they were informally teaching that the speed limit was a guide, not an absolute) but I would still like to see an equivalent body here in Oz.
  7. All you have to do to verify the first group is look at the sales of Kias, Protons, Daewoos et al. No one who actually enjoys driving would buy one of those.

    The second group accounts for the popularity of Toyotas.
  8. Should we be starting a collection to have this engraved on a bunch of iron bars and start beating politicians and police chiefs over the head with them?
  9. OTOH, a while ago I drove a rental XR6 and a rental base model Hyundai Getz within a week of each other and the Getz was several orders of magnitude more fun to drive. Yes, really.
  10. Are you 5 feet tall? I did the exact same thing a couple of years ago, but with an SV6 instead of the XR6. The Getz, hands down, was the worst car I have ever driven in my life. Strangely, I also had a new Aurion around the same period which was surprisingly pleasurable to drive.

    Hmm, guess I didn't really have anything useful to add to this thread, other than my hatred for the Getz.
  11. 6'2" and 120kg. Fitted fine.

    You've had a fairly sheltered motoring life then. There are far, far worse things out there than the Getz. Many of them (though by no means all) are Ford Falcon variants. I found the Getz to be revvy and chuckable with decent feel through all the controls and a build quality which showed up the Third World standard of the XR6 for the rubbish it is.

    If you want a small car to hate, the Mini Metro is a good contender but Australia was fortunate to not get them.