The electronic horizon
They call it the “electronic horizon”, and it is the new frontier of research in safety. ABS, the electronic traction system and the stability system are systems that work thanks to sensors on the vehicle that "realize" when a wheel slips or the vehicle skids, activating the brakes of each individual wheel and the engine in milliseconds. The anticollision system's sensors not only record
what is happening in the car, but "look" outside, ahead of the vehicle. But that's not all. In the scope of a project of the European Commission, CRF is working on a concept to extend this gaze well beyond the tens or hundreds of meters that laser, radar or video cameras reach, giving the vehicle the ability to see a potentially dangerous situation tens of kilometers away.
Collision avoidance systems
Already available to the public as optionals on the Fiat Panda and Fiat 500L, City Brake Control is a system that automatically brakes when it detects danger ahead using Lidar, a device similar to radar but which employs infrared lasers to sound the road. When Lidar senses that one is nearing an obstacle too fast, the safety system cuts power and brakes to avoid a collision.
CRF is, however, experimenting even more advanced solutions that can protect passengers, avoiding crashes or at least reducing the consequences by braking automatically, even at high speeds. These collision avoidance and collision mitigation systems use more complex Lidar sensors like radar and optical devices.
Control systems in dangerous conditions
FCA research has made systems that come to the driver's rescue to control the car when in danger. The innovative DST (Dynamic Steering Torque) is a handy complement to the ESC antiskid system, already available on the Fiat Panda and Fiat 500L as well as the Alfa Romeo MiTo. While the ESC acts on the brakes of each wheel, the DST intervenes on the steering wheel, “suggesting” corrections to the driver to apply at the wheel to regain control of the vehicle. Another innovation is the Driving Advisor, which helps you stay in the right lane by using optical sensors to sense the lane boundaries and the striping.
Wireless technology for vehicle-to-vechicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication
A number of major research projects are underway within the context of the EU Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). These projects focus on the development and implementation of the wireless communication technologies and architectures necessary to create a system of information exchange. In 2012, CRF continued its efforts on the development and experimentation of collaborative systems.