As prices fall, systems will be pushed to lower-cost automotive segmentsThe advanced driver assist system (ADAS) market is moving quite rapidly these days. What once sat firmly in the premium segment is now invading the middle of the market, while many of the lower-tech applications are simultaneously becoming more prevalent in entry-level passenger vehicles. New and improved sensor technologies also create new opportunities and strategies for deployment.
In light of these trends, IHS Automotive, from information and analysis firm IHS, takes a closer look at the anticipated future availability of common ADAS applications and sensory platforms within three general vehicle price segments: entry, mid and premium.
A Segment Newcomer
Entry-level automobiles today are largely void of more advanced driver assistance and safety technology. This will change in the future, however, as safety gains from today’s ADAS are realized and quantified, and as the cost of sensors and systems continues to fall. Already today, one of the more advanced and scalable forward-sensing platforms available—the windshield-mounted camera—has been priced at a point that makes it ready for the mass market.
In the fall of 2011, General Motors introduced its camera-based forward collision with lane-departure warning. On its first two models, the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain, it was available as an option for $295—albeit gated behind required trim and engine upgrades. BMW announced a similar platform for approximately €450 on the 1 Series and 3 Series earlier in the summer, with a required cruise control option but available on all trims, while Honda promises the same applications on the upcoming Accord.
At that price and for both lateral and longitudinal utility, the forward-sensing camera platform feels ready for primetime only months after it was made available in production vehicles. What’s more, it provides a platform for additional applications such as traffic-sign recognition and adaptive lighting, as well as a level of passive protection—equivalent to an extra set of eyes always on the road ahead—for an accident type that is all too common and often fatal at higher speeds.
In the U.S. in 2009, approximately 1.14 million rear-end collisions occurred—fatal, injurious or otherwise. More governments are looking at any and all ways to reduce that and similar numbers, and the forward-camera solution looks to be an inexpensive system that can do just that for the mass market.
Within the entry-level segment—whose price range is purposefully unspecified, just as the lines between traditional segmentation blur and classifications continue to evolve—more advanced ADAS will begin to appear over the next several model years, while more basic park-assist applications will firmly cement their ubiquity across the entire range of passenger automobiles.
Autonomous park-assist is powered by ultrasonic sensors on the front, rear and sides of the vehicle and is growing rapidly within certain brands. By contrast, camera park-assist evolves into top-down bird’s- eye-view systems. The choice between the two, particularly for the entry-level segment, lies upon several decisions, including the level of actuation possible and its cost, versus that of multiple camera sensors, software and an in-vehicle display.
Autonomous park-assist requires access to more vehicle systems in order to actuate control over the steering, acceleration and braking systems. This level of actuation may be slow in penetrating the entry- level segment given its emphasis on low prices, but the internal mechanics of an automobile are quickly becoming networked and more computer-like, which means this level of control will be easier to obtain even in economy cars.
On the other hand, top-down park-assist does not require autonomous control of vehicle systems, though the tradeoff is in the hardware. These systems require additional camera sensors as well as a large in-vehicle display that can show detail at high-enough resolutions to be easily visible by the driver. Such a system can represent a sizable increase in vehicle pricing for economy cars.
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