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Millimeter Wave Radar + Computer-Controlled Camera = Car That Stops Itself

Updated November 22, 2013

Human error accounts for 90% of all vehicle accidents.  However, using wireless networking, advanced radar, and computer-controlled camera technology, Honda is set to make the road safer with a goal to create vehicles with “zero-collision” driving records.

Using Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) networking systems in conjunction with advanced millimeter wave radar and camera systems, Honda has developed a series of prototype vehicles that can autonomously:

  • stop on their own if/when they detect an obstacle, be it another car or a pedestrian
  • slow down to maintain a safe distance with the vehicle ahead, with the ability to adjust speed much faster than a human can react
  • anticipate if/when another car will dart into the lane ahead and plan accordingly (known as “cut in” protection)
  • work with other cars to reduce stop-and-go driving, something that could all but eliminate traffic jams if implemented across all vehicles

Honda’s advanced accident-avoidance system has two parts: Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) and Adaptive Cruise Control with Cut-In Prediction (i-ACC).

Here’s a look at the systems’ capabilities and how they’ll work.

What is Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB)?

Based on a collision data collected by Japan’s Traffic Accident Research and Data Analysis (ITARDA), Honda found that 74 percent of vehicle to person collisions occurred when the pedestrian was crossing the street.  Honda’s automatic emergency braking system (AEB) is aimed at reducing pedestrian fatalities.  The system works in two ways.  First, AEB identifies critical situations and warns the driver.  If the driver does not respond accordingly, Honda’s AEB system will then attempt to reduce the severity of the crash by reducing speed and, in some cases, prepare the vehicle and restraint system for impact.  Currently, Honda’s AEB system works up to speeds of 37mph.

How Does AEB Work?

Honda’s AEB system uses input from a windshield-mounted high-resolution camera and a millimeter-wave laser-radar sensor in the car’s grille.  The system allows the car to determine the position, speed, and even directionality of the pedestrian.  Honda’s AEB also detects any solid object more than three-feet tall.  When a pedestrian or other solid object enters the vehicle’s path, an alarm sounds inside the cabin.  If action isn’t taken by the driver, the AEB will apply the brakes.

During road testing, Honda re-created a pedestrian related accident by placing a cardboard cutout in the street.  The AEB system reacted by applying the brakes five to six feet away from the point of impact.  In a second trial, engineers simulated a pedestrian darting out into the street by suddenly pushing a cardboard cutout into the vehicle’s path.  Honda’s AEB system stopped the vehicle similarly and avoided impact.

What is Adaptive Cruise Control With Cut-In Prediction?

Within the next five years, Honda plans to implement a new intelligent all-speed cruise control system know as i-ACC.  Honda’s i-ACC can monitor up to six vehicles on the road and uses advanced algorithms to predict is a vehicle will cut into a lane.

How does i-ACC Work?

Honda’s i-ACC system has two essential parts: a small LSAK camera and an ACC radar sensor located behind the Honda badge on the vehicle’s grille. Mounted beside the rear-view mirror , the LSAK camera monitors road markings on either side of the lane and feeds the data to the vehicle’s computer.  This data is used to apply the correct steering torque and keep the vehicle in the center of the lane.

The ACC radar sensor mounted behind the Honda grille badge monitors the distance to the vehicle in front.  If the gap between the front vehicle decreases, the car will automatically brake then accelerate to maintain a safe driving distance.  If the system detects that a crash is likely, the system will engage the collision mitigation brake system (CMBS) and warn the driver by audio and visual warnings.  If the driver fails to react, seat belt pre-tensioners will tug the driver to give a physical warning.  When a collision is imminent, Honda’s i-ACC will apply strong braking to reduce the impact.

Honda’s AEB and i-ACC systems are the first steps and expected to continuously evolve as Honda comes close to their zero-collision goal.  AEB will be the first commercially available system in the program and is expected to launch within the next two years.  Honda’s i-ACC system will likely be available in the next five years.  By creating vehicles that assume control when a driver is irresponsive to an imminent danger, Honda is actively working to reduce the frequency and severity of road accidents.

Author Gib Goodrich works for HondaPartsOnline.net, a website that sells OEM Honda replacement parts for less than your local dealer.

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Calvin Escobar
About Calvin Escobar

The Car scene is so diverse Where I come from, most enthusiasts recognize the amazing engineering (particularly the engines). The bulk of the ridicule originates from the manner in which many of the vehicles are modded/maintained. Thus, the jokes and or hate tends to be aimed more at the owner rather than the machine. All of which makes seeing properly sorted old Toyota's and Hondas at car meets, auto shows, and track days all the more refreshing.

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