A View of Advanced Driver Safety Technology

DETROIT /PRNewswire/ -- Several advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) developed by Hella could create a comprehensive solution to reduce accidents and fatalities on America's roadways, according to a company executive speaking at the 2006 Ward's Auto Interiors Show.

Hella's ADAS strategy combines a number of technologies, including adaptive cruise control (ACC), rear-end-collision warning, lane-departure-warning (LDW), rearview cameras, and sensors with advanced image-processing software, according to Ralf Voss, senior executive vice president for Hella's electrical and electronics division.

Vehicles equipped with these technologies could detect potential accident situations, provide warnings or even automatically engage a vehicle's brakes to reduce crash severity, the Hella executive explained.

"Our long-term objective is to greatly reduce traffic accidents and injuries by providing safety-system devices for the broadest range of vehicles possible," said Voss, who is responsible for Hella's ADAS programs and other emerging electronics technologies.

Last year, the federal government reported that traffic deaths in the U.S. hit a 15-year high at 43,200, he noted.

"Thirty percent of all accidents are caused by unintended lane departures and more than 25 percent of all accidents are rear-end collisions," he said. "By helping drivers avoid such accidents, we can significantly reduce highway injuries and fatalities."

Motor vehicle accidents kill an average of 42,000 each year, according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In addition to the loss of lives, vehicular accidents cost society an average of $230.6 billion annually.

For ACC applications, Hella offers its low-cost, multi-beam Infrared Distance Management System (IDIS), which provides outstanding performance even under the most adverse weather conditions. IDIS uses a light detection and ranging sensor with high lateral resolution that detects not only the distance to an object but also the object's lateral (side-to- side) position and dimensions. Most other detection systems on the market use radar and are more complex.

This year, Hella launched a 24 GHz radar-based, rear-end-collision warning system for a European automaker. The system can detect other vehicles that are behind or in the driver's blind spots. Using a smart algorithm, the system detects when the driver intends to change lanes and sounds a warning signal.

Hella's LDW system uses a small camera installed on the windshield to observe areas in front of the vehicle. Intelligent image-processing software analyzes the recorded data, calculating the vehicle's position in the lane and any curves in the roadway. It then sends a warning signal to the driver if a turn signal is not activated before the vehicle leaves its lane. This application is due to be released in 2009.

During the next five years, Hella expects increasingly more sophisticated ADAS devices to enter the market. Many of these will feature windshield applications located in the rearview mirror. Hella is developing a compact package that includes a forward-looking LDW camera that can be combined with its captive humidity and rain/light/solar sensor system (CHARLSS).

"As safety technology improves, our windshield applications will include additional features, such as our advanced infrared lighting system, called ADILIS," Voss said.

A nighttime safety technology, ADILIS uses a complimentary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) camera and an infrared headlamp to detect objects up to 500 ft. away. Images are shown to the driver on a head-up display.

A global supplier, Hella KGaA Hueck & Co. develops and manufactures components and systems for lighting and electronics for the automotive industry, including advanced driver-assistance systems enhancing safety and comfort. In addition, joint venture companies produce complete vehicle modules, air-conditioning systems, and vehicle-electric systems.

Hella is one of the world's largest companies selling automotive parts and accessories, with its own sales companies and partners in more than 100 countries. Annual consolidated sales for the Hella Group total $3.7 billion.

Hella is one of the 100 largest industrial companies in Germany. A total of 24,000 people are employed in 65 production facilities, production subsidiaries, and joint venture companies. More than 2900 Hella engineers and technicians work in research and development across the group. Customers include all leading automakers and system manufacturers, as well as the automotive aftermarket. Additional information is available at the company's Web site.

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