Bernd Hartmann is the Chassis Systems Advanced Engineering manager for Continental Chassis & Safety Division. Hartmann took Lou Ann Hammond, CEO, www.drivingthenation.com, for a ride on Continental proving grounds in Frankfurt, Germany to show us what Emergency Steer Assist is. The initial development stage is expected to reach production readiness in two to three years.
Imagine you’re in a flow of traffic, everyone is going about the same speed. All of a sudden someone in front of you brakes, but you’re changing the radio station. With Emergency steer assist your car can still sense the braking in front of you and take evasive action to keep you from having an accident.
The car will need sensors to monitor the vehicle, and it’s surrounding movements, similar to those currently in production for Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC). “The more reliable and detailed a picture of other road users and of the road itself can be gained, the more effectively Emergency Steer Assist can assist the driver to decide, for example, whether to take evasive action by steering to the left or the right when suddenly coming up against the tail of a motorway traffic jam”, said Bernd Hartmann.
Getting the car around the obstruction is the first consideration, “the objective is to avoid an accident; comfort considerations are of secondary importance”, said Hartmann. The Electronic Stability Control (ESC) helps keep the vehicle on the road during the rapid avoidance maneuver with braking pressure to individual wheels.
The system can be overridden by the driver. The emergency steer assistance system might warn the driver, by a sound or braking lightly, but forcibly, for them, that they are about to come in direct contact with a dangerous situation.