Prevention is better than cure!
Every year accident reports from around the world are nothing short of tragic, with distracted driving as the main culprit. Emergency braking systems, though, is hardly the only solution available to effectively cope with the problem, several “smart” solutions such as Mobileye can contribute towards guaranteeing greater safety on board older vehicles
Every year, around the world, almost 1.24 million people die as a result of traffic accidents. In 50% of cases collisions occur between a vehicle and so-called "vulnerable road user" such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. In addition, between 20 and 50 million people report permanent injuries. Besides the obvious human tragedy, appalling economic and social costs are also involved: according to estimates each nation faces annual costs of up to 3% of its GDP due to road accidents (source: W.H.O.). The numbers of this “silent carnage” were illustrated by Alessandro Finicelli, general manager of Autobynet, a company that supplies car accessories for corporate fleets, digital solutions for sustainable mobility and safety devices, during the Autopromotec Conference – State of the Industry 2018 (Bologna, 13-14 June 2018).
Distracted driving is very often the primary reason leading to an accident, as pointed out by Finicelli: "according to a research carried out by VTCR (Virginia Transportation Research Council) and Nhtsa (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), 93% of the times, the human factor is decisive and, in 8 out of 10 cases, accidents are the result of a 3-second distraction". The costs of such oversights, even if momentary, can be pricey indeed. Looking at the current scenario, therefore, one cannot help wondering whether Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) might provide an effective answer to the problem: an international study carried out by Axa Insurance demonstrated that, thanks to these safety devices, it is now possible to reduce, by about 73%, the causes of road accidents through a simple alarm that goes off just 1.5 seconds before a collision. Going beyond mere numbers, the effectiveness of these devices is also confirmed by the increasing number of new vehicles - cars, commercial vehicles and lorries – equipped with ADAS devices as Oem. On new cars, the presence of systems such as autonomous emergency braking (Aeb), Intelligence speed assistance (Isa), Parking Assistance (Pa), traffic sign recognition (Tsr), lane departure warning (Ldw) or counter-steering in case of involuntary change of lane (Lka - Lane keep assist), might soon be mandatory.
Adas systems for “older” vehicles
Now, what if current vehicle replacement trends are less than appreciable in numerical terms? This is precisely the case in Italy. Although our national fleet is among the oldest in Europe, the limited resources available make it hard to imagine a general renewal taking place anytime soon. However, to help increase safety levels, even in such a context, Mobileye, a company part of the Intel group, has developed an anti-collision system that, through a transfer of artificial intelligence technologies, is able to make older and even vintage cars safer. "Currently Italy has about 44 million vehicles, if we include cars, commercial vehicles, trucks and buses, that are lacking any standard driving assistance system", explained Alessandro Finicelli. Thanks to Mobileye, transforming an older vehicle with modern ADAS devices is rather simple: just drive to a Mobileye network specialist. If the vehicle is equipped with an Obd system (On-Board Diagnostics), once installed, the Mobileye device will detect signals from the Can Bus and provide the driver with the desired safety warnings. Unlike Oem Adas devices installed on modern vehicles, this particular Mobileye solution will not automatically take over in case of emergency, however, thanks to appropriate acoustic and visual alarms, will effectively warn the driver of an imminent danger thus contributing to reduce road accidents. A vehicle equipped with an aftermarket Mobileye anti-collision system is said to reduces claims by 39% (source: Actuarial research on the effectiveness of collision avoidance systems - Ronactuarial intelligence).
What about vehicles without an OBD system? It simply takes a little more time to detect the signals that are, in this case, analogue and not digital. "There is no age limit really - Finicelli specified in his speech. All that is needed is to check the vehicle type and, if necessary, decode the Can Bus signals and enter the data into the Mobileye database for calibration, allowing Mobileye to continuously update its vehicle database. Basically, whenever a Mobileye system is mounted on a vehicle, the same system can be installed on the same vehicle all over the world”.
Observation and prevention
Mobileye’s concept of road safety is based on prevention, through risk monitoring and activation of signals that promptly warn whoever is behind the wheel. The system includes: Frontal collision warning (Fcw -) which, in case of imminent impact, activates up to 2.5 seconds before the collision; safety distance monitoring (Hmw - Headway Monitoring and Warning); Pedestrian collision warning (Pcw); Cyclist collision warning (Ccw); Lane departure warning (Ldw) which activates when a vehicle unintentionally leaves its lane, activating visual and audio signals; Speed limit information (Sli) which recognizes speed-limit road signs warning the driver when these have been exceeded. In addition to these six elements, we also have a Model 7 Pix integrated dash-cam: a camera embedded in Mobileye’s systems that will produce a video of the route travelled with key data such as date and time, speed, Mobileye warnings, speed limit violation and activated alarm signals. A device that proves particularly useful in the event of a no-fault insurance claim.
The Mobileye system is compatible with all vehicles including buses and industrial vehicles. As for the latter, MobileyeShield+ is available, which, in addition to working as an anti-collision system, proves useful in avoiding pedestrians and cyclists during parking manoeuvres, thanks to five cameras located around the vehicle increasing visibility in critical blind-spots.
Making ones car smarter and safer with Mobileye costs about 899 euro, net of installation work.
An opportunity for the aftermarket
In order to spread Mobileye’s concept of prevention, the company's aftermarket division, represented in Italy by Autobynet, is now creating a network of authorized ADAS dealers and installers. "For car repairers this represents a great opportunity to develop a new business, not to mention familiarizing with these Adas systems and their calibration procedures, - stated Alessandro Finicelli -. For this reason, and in order to bring ADAS specialists together into a consortium, a website, www.adasmobile.it, has been created, through which all the necessary information can be obtained".
Above all, however, the greatest advantages will be experienced by the final users as well as fleets. And all this is contributing to the widespread success of the systems. "As far as Adas devices are concerned, many insurance companies in Italy are now taking their first steps," confirmed the general manager of Autobynet. In addition to Sara Assicurazioni, with 20% discounts on car insurance policies, Mobileye has received further acknowledgments on the effectiveness of its anti-collision systems from the Itas Assicurazioni Group and Helvetia in the corporate fleet segment. Companies such as Coca Cola, Eli Lilly, 2i Rete Gas and Bayer are recording significant reductions in claims within their corporate fleets and this is rewarded with technical discounts.
Thanks to AdasMobileye systems coupled with a greater respect of safety distances avoiding accelerations, decelerations and sudden braking, some of our customers saved up to 10% on average fuel consumption, significant figures indeed for commercial and heavy transport vehicles or buses".
Automobile’s future will inevitably be smarter, autonomous and safer as a consequence. Mobileye specialists are convinced of this and planning the next moves in this direction: "as early as 2018, in fact, our level 3 autonomous drive Q4 processor will hit the market – Finicelli confirmed at the end of his speech during Autopromotec’s Conference – State of the Industry 2018 -. The system is able to manage up to 6 cameras and sensors. With level 4-5, expected from 2020 onward, the number of on-board cameras may be as many as 16 with a considerable number of sensors as well. This underlines a growing need for specialization in Adas technology, something Mobileye has been working on since early 1999".