The Focus on Safety Technology in Connected Cars

11/6/2013
You could say M2M has fundamentally changed the driving experience. While many point to flashy infotainment systems as the most connected aspect to vehicles, we are beginning to see more and more that safety technologies are becoming a true game changer for automakers.

A recent forecast from ABI Research, www.abiresearch.com, projects the global market for DMS (driver monitoring systems) will reach 64.8 million units by the end of 2020. ABI notes the majority of these systems will be accounted for in vehicles sold in the Asia-Pacific region.

The report cites Toyota, www.toyota.com, as a company that helped break ground in the ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems) market, with the release of its Driver Attention Monitor system in 2006. Originally offered in the company’s luxury models, the system monitors the driver’s face using an in-dash camera, monitoring their attention level. This prompted other OEMs (original-equipment manufacturers) to follow suit. Since then, other companies have helped push the market closer to standardization.


“DMS systems such as Mercedes-Benz’s (www.mbusa.com) Attention Assist and Volvo (www.volvo.com) and Volkswagen’s (www.volkswagen.com) Driver Alert systems were the first ADAS systems to be offered as standard equipment by OEMs, albeit only in a small selection of models,” says Gareth Owen, principal analyst at ABI Research.

The report notes European and Japanese brands such as Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan Infiniti, www.nissanusa.com, Lexus, www.lexus.com, and Mazda, www.mazdausa.com, are gradually offering ADAS systems as standardized equipment in their vehicles.

While some larger American brands offer ADAS features in their European models, but not U.S. models, ABI points to Ford as possibly bucking that trend with the release of the Ford Focus.

Owen says ADAS features are also becoming accessible in a wider variety of vehicles, migrating from luxury models to smaller vehicles usually designed for low-speed urban driving. In addition, ABI reports prices are decreasing, which would make ADAS technology available to a larger consumer base.

Meanwhile, seven years after the release of the Driver Attention Monitor system, Toyota continues to make use of connected technology in the car. The company recently announced the development of its AHDA (Automated Highway Driving Assist) offering. AHDA incorporates cooperative-adaptive cruise control, which wirelessly communicates with other vehicles to ensure a safe distance is kept.

This feature is linked with Lane Trace Control, which uses automated driving technologies, high-performance cameras, millimeter-wave radar, and control software to ensure a vehicle drives safely within a lane. Together, the two features create a system which aims to increase overall safety on the road.

As much as we all love our vehicles, drivers are still involved in accidents every day. Every life lost is a tragedy. In response, by further incorporating connected technology for safety into vehicles, automakers have the potential to transform the drive in new and exciting ways.

Want to tweet about this article? Use the hashtags #M2M, #safety.




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