Sept 05, 2012–Tokyo, Japan (Techreleased) – Mitsubishi Motors Develops “e-Assist” Active Safety Technology. Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) has developed “e-Assist*1,” a new active safety system that uses millimeter-wavelength radar as well as a camera to further increase driving safety and peace of mind. MMC will use the e-Assist system for the first time on the all-new and fully redesigned Outlander SUV which is to be released this October in Japan.
Comprising the three functions detailed below, e-Assist supports safer driving on occasions when accidents are more likely to occur, such as on long-distance journeys or when driving in poor visibility at night or in bad weather conditions*2.
Adaptive Cruise Control System (ACC): This radar-based system maintains a safe distance with the vehicle in front, even in slow-moving heavy traffic.
Forward Collision Mitigation System (FCM): This radar-based system automatically applies the brakes when there is a sudden reduction in the distance with the vehicle in front and helps avoid a collision or reduce impact damage in the event of a collision.
Lane Departure Warning System (LDW): This camera-based system alerts the driver when the vehicle starts to drift from its lane, aiding driver concentration.
MMC already equips its production models with a comprehensive array of safety technologies including the Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution safety body, multiple SRS airbags and the Active Stability Control (ASC) traction control system which helps prevent the vehicle from skidding. With the all-new e-Assist system, MMC reaffirms its dedication to continuing its research into and development of advanced safety technologies and incorporating them in its production models.
Japanese market name.
ACC, FCM, and LDW may not be able to cope with every combination of traffic, weather and road conditions. In addition, ACC and FCM are designed to react to motor vehicles and will not react to pedestrians, bicycles or motorbikes.
1. System Outline
The e-Assist system comprises the following major components:
Millimeter-wave radar: For ACC and FCM systems
The radar unit is mounted behind the front grill and monitors the distance to and relative speed of the vehicle in front. The 77GHz millimeter-wavelength radar unit provides highly reliable and stable performance regardless of direction of sunlight or other light, driving at night or in rain and has a maximum detection range of around 200 meters.
Camera unit: For LDW system
The camera unit is mounted at the top of the windshield (see image below) and monitors the position of the lane dividing lines in front of the vehicle. To prevent fogging of the lens and maintain precise and consistent imaging quality, the unit is mounted directly to the windshield inside the vehicle. The unit also incorporates a sensor which automatically turns on the windshield wipers when it detects raindrops on the windshield.
Using the information obtained by the radar unit, the ACC and FCM systems control engine output, transmission and brakes to automatically accelerate, decelerate or stop the vehicle. Working as an integrated system, ACC and FCM serve to support the driver in maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle in front (ACC) to avoid running into it or in reducing impact damage in the event of a collision (FCM). The FCM and LDW systems operate to maintain vehicle and occupant safety by using audible and visual alerts to warn the driver of impending danger.
Application of the e-Assist system is not restricted to conventional internal combustion engine-powered vehicles but can also be used with the MMC’s Plug-in Hybrid EV System and MMC plans to install e-Assist in the Outlander PHEV which is due to be launched first in Japan at the beginning of 2013.
2. Individual Component Systems
Adaptive Cruise Control System (ACC)
Monitoring the distance to and relative speed of the vehicle in front, ACC allows the driver to follow the vehicle at one of three selectable distances until it comes to a halt.
ACC relieves the driver of the hassle of frequent operation of the accelerator and brakes when driving in congested traffic or in frequent stop/start driving on expressways. The ACC system is also carefully tuned to deliver seamlessly smooth operation of the engine and brakes to maintain the preset distance even if the vehicle in front speeds up or slows down.
System Operating Patterns
When there is no vehicle in front
In the same way as conventional cruise control, ACC maintains the speed set by the driver (between 40 km/h and 100 km/h) without the driver having to operate the accelerator.
When following a vehicle
The ACC system operates to follow the vehicle in front at the pre-set distance. The system responds to changes in the speed of the vehicle in front to maintain the distance or to bring it to a safe halt. Should the system determine there is no longer a vehicle in front it will accelerate the car to the pre-set speed.
Forward Collision Mitigation System (FCM)
As with the ACC system, the FCM system monitors the distance and relative speed of the vehicle in front and instantly detects any decrease in the intervehicular distance caused by the vehicle in front braking or coming to a halt. Emitting an audible alarm and automatically applying the brakes, the FCM system contributes to collision avoidance with the vehicle in front or reduction of impact damage in the event of a collision.
The FCM system assists safe vehicle operation in poor forward visibility conditions such as at night, in rain or in fog.
FCM operates to slow or stop the vehicle to avoid a collision by automatically applying the brakes when a relative speed difference of under 30 km/h develops between the vehicle in front (for example, when the vehicle in front stops suddenly and the driver’s vehicle speed is under 30 km/h.) Should a speed difference exceeding 30 km/h suddenly develop (when a collision may be unavoidable) FCM automatically applies the brakes to slow the vehicle to reduce impact damage.
System Operating Patterns
FCM alerts the driver with an audible alarm and warning light. When the driver applies the brakes FCM activates brake assist earlier than normal.
Collision risk high
FCM applies the brakes lightly and audibly urges the driver to take action to avoid a collision.
Collision almost certain
FCM applies the brakes fully to slow and stop the vehicle and as much as possible reduce any impact damage or avoid a collision entirely.
Lane Departure Warning System (LDW)
At vehicle speeds at or above 65 km/h, the LDW system monitors the lane dividing lines ahead of the vehicle. The system alerts the driver with an audible alarm and warning light when it detects the vehicle is about to drift from its lane.
The LDW system operates when the vehicle starts to unintentionally move out of its lane, such as when it starts to cross a lane dividing line without the driver having operated the turn signal.
The LDW system is configured to switch off when the vehicle is being driven in lanes narrower than 2.6 meters (such as rural roads or compact roads in urban centers), thus reducing the frequency with which the alarm goes off and preventing the driver from becoming annoyed with the system.
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