Gothenburg/Cologne. As soon as you drive three or four kilometers per hour over the speed limit, it beeps and lights up in the cockpit of the new Prius. Toyota is already implementing the latest EU safety rules in the hybrid car and has therefore installed a speed warning system, which will not be mandatory for all new cars until 2024. Even if you turn off the Warning, it will be active again when you turn it back on. No car that has been presented in these weeks comes to the market without this raised finger, regardless of whether it is a new development or a facelift.
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The EU has good intentions with such safety systems, but sometimes it puts the patience of many drivers to the test. One thing is certain: the influence of electricity is increasing. Long before automation is ready to take full command, support systems have evolved into sometimes omniscient systems that keep a close eye on the people who provide security services.
Until now, it has been more about driving the car itself, i.e. speed, distance or route, but now the driver is more focused. What was once a simple drowsy warning system now uses the camera’s sharp eyes to check attention and send a call to order as soon as there is a long pause on a navigation map or – illegally – even on a smartphone screen.
Eyes for perspective
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Volvo has installed an advanced attention system in its E-SUV EX90. “We examine where the driver is looking and how often and for how long his eyes are closed,” explains Emma Tivesten from the Volvo Safety Center in Gothenburg. “This allows us to learn a lot about his current state of mind and health and give him additional support depending on the situation.”
This starts with a simple acoustic warning signal, the volume of which increases with the possible danger of the situation. If the driver does not react to the increasingly clear warnings, the car can even stop itself at the side of the road and warn other road users by turning on the hazard lights, explains Volvo.
With the more sophisticated interior monitoring system, Maria is also receiving increasing support: more and more manufacturers such as Mercedes, Audi and Porsche are reminding people not to leave their mobile phones connected to the car when they leave.
And brands like Kia or Hyundai warn to keep an eye on children and pets in the back seat. Volvo even relies on an interior radar for the EX90, with which the entire cabin is monitored: if it’s a child or a cat: If the electronic equipment registers a living being in the car, the doors, for example, cannot be closed easily.
What is not already classified by law as standard safety-related equipment is being pushed by the Euro NCAP testing organization and its points system. The acronym stands for European New Car Assessment Program, which means something like the European New Car Assessment Program. Because five stars in the Euro NCAP test is still considered the gold standard of safety in the automotive world, manufacturers voluntarily meet Euro NCAP tests whenever possible, even if they go beyond legal requirements.
However, support systems sometimes lead to problems and injustice. Reports from angry drivers are piling up in Internet forums. And experts have already identified possible disadvantages: “In our investigation, we also see that driver assistance systems have system limits that reduce the expected effects or lead to inappropriate interventions,” said Allianz accident researcher Marcel Borrack to the news newspaper “Der Spiegel” .
After a member survey, the Austrian Automobile Club ÖAMTC came to the conclusion: “Modern assistance systems can increase safety, but reliability still needs to be improved.” . tmn
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