Automotive engineering has made it possible to create active safety systems that include side alert (also known as blind spot warning), adaptive cruise control, collision detection and warning, and adaptive cruise control. As these products become more accessible, what this will mean for the average consumer will change. This means that the automotive engineer must pay more attention to safety technology.
There have been many other innovations than the standard car navigation system. They’ve even been available for years. Since the early 1990s, adaptive cruise control is available. Since 1995, electronic stability control is an option on many vehicles. There are many safety systems that can be used to protect occupants and vehicles, including scanning radars, crash sensors and pre-crash mitigation. These systems provide insight into the future of automotive technology and how roads can be made more safe. Automotive engineers are driving shifts in technology as cars become “carputers”.
Vehicle occupant safety systems are among the many promising innovations. A crash sensor, for example, generates a signal based on a possible crash or an existing one via a constantly variable severity output signal. Sensors can signal to deploy airbags if an accident has taken place. Sensors can notify the driver if an accident is imminent. They can also alert her or him in various ways to help avoid the accident. The sensors can also initiate automatic braking or pretension seatbelts. This process is similar to how the brain works. The brain sends signals to the body to perform an action. We never imagined that humanity would be its own model for designing devices for our safety.
These examples of automotive technology are often integrated first into expensive, high-end cars due to their high prices. These products are more popular and the benefits become better known. As a result, prices drop due to economies-of-scale and new technology. These advanced products will become more common as research and development pays off. Over time, the benefits of component and automotive system integration expertise will only increase. This knowledge could be crucial to an industry that focuses on fuel economy, safety advancements, and economically feasible products. These engineers are not only familiar with the basics but can also integrate them. Engineers who can up-integrate – add software to make one electronic module do multiple things – and sensor-fusion – use complementary technologies to improve object detection and classification – may be able to gain an advantage in a highly competitive job market.
Suppliers are more eager to incorporate safety technology in their rush to keep up with consumer demand and remain competitive. For example, many vehicles have automatic on/off and high/low beam rain sensors. This is possible without the need for a separate camera. A camera can be installed to monitor lane departure warning systems, which opens up a whole new world of possibilities. You can add intelligent headlights, sign recognition, and pedestrian recognition programs without having to purchase additional cameras. Each technological innovation is not necessary to have its own module manufacturing. Multifunctionality and multiple features in one apparatus reduces cost and increases functionality.
What’s next? This seems to be the constant question automotive engineers continue to ask, no matter how far they advance. Maybe a fully self-driving vehicle. Maybe hover vehicles that can be positioned on highways and follow designated routes, communicating with other vehicles and avoiding crashes. What are consumers looking for? Technology’s evolution. Innovations are the result of new ideas. Innovative products can make us safer. However, it’s the engineers – the technological innovators – who make this possible.