The electric car eclipses another automotive revolution. In recent years, manufacturers have made rapid progress in autonomous driving. The European Investment Bank (EIB) got it right by granting a € 600 million credit line to Valeo to support its research programs on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but also on improving active or preventive safety.

This last point aims to develop driving assistance systems and to make progress with regard to the autonomous car. Valeo considers these themes to be those for which market demand and growth potential are the strongest.

Big computing power

Many driving aids are fitted to vehicles today. Some of them can claim level 2 autonomy on a scale of 5, the ultimate degree where robotization is complete.

The ABS, the first device to be deployed, has been enhanced with the trajectory control system. Then, the range of technologies was enriched with the arrival of sensors, radars, cameras and lidars, these laser detection systems. The on-board computing power has continued to improve and is now approaching aviation standards.

The presence of these driving aids in the multi-purpose segment (Peugeot 208 or Renault Clio) shows how level 2 autonomy is becoming popular. To discover the latest innovations, attention must be focused on the premium segments and on the high end.

360 ° connectivity

Presented in February and marketed in the fourth quarter of this year, the DS 4 will be offered with level 2 autonomous driving. A regulator adapts the speed according to the traffic, can stop and start again in traffic jams. Lane keeping is also provided at the driver’s request. Three new functions are offered: semi-automatic overtaking, speed adaptation in curves and advance recommendation of the speed of traffic signs. The steering wheel has a grip sensor to check the presence of the driver’s hands, because he must remain in control of the controls.

The DS 4 incorporates new radars which allow blind spots to be monitored over a long distance with a range of 75 meters. A rear traffic alert protects against collisions. Another avant-garde technology, placed in the grille, an infrared camera detects pedestrians and animals up to 200 meters at night and in low light. In addition, organized around four cameras, a 360 ° vision system assists the driver during maneuvers.

Save lives

In terms of innovations, there are cameras aimed at the driver to detect the risk of drowsiness. In the future, progress will focus on interactions between vehicles and their environment, namely the technology called “Car2X”. The Golf is the first vehicle to embed this device, which makes it possible to receive alerts between vehicles and communicate with road infrastructures in a few milliseconds.

Euro NCAP, the body which tests the safety of automobiles, has welcomed the progress made by this device. It has also just evaluated semi-autonomous driving systems for the first time with very contrasting results according to the manufacturers. Some of them will have to make progress if they want to maintain their reputation, when certain devices will become mandatory on new vehicles from 2024. Driving aids should save 25,000 lives by 2038.

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