Power Electronics

ABI urges auto safety system standards

A new report from ABI Research, “Automotive Radar/LIDAR (light detection and ranging) Systems,” examines current and emerging automotive safety systems based on radar, LIDAR and optical devices and concludes that OEMs should soon start to address the issue of standardization.

The technologies are used in "pre-crash" systems that prepare for imminent impact; for example, by tightening seat belts or deploying airbags where passengers are sitting, and more. They are also used to detect objects in a driver's "blind spot."

"We have so much processing power that it's tempting to act like a kid in a candy shop, loading up the car with diverse systems from various sources, just because we can,” says ABI Research analyst Robert LaGuerra, " but that doesn't necessarily make the car safer: the process of integrating them is still in flux, and standardization really needs to occur."

Other services and products are subject to strict standards where lives are at stake and vehicle safety systems should be no exception, in LaGuerra’s view. “OEMs are aware of this problem, and they are starting to standardize, most obviously in optical systems. But there is still a long way to go.”

Points in favor of standardization, in addition to public safety, are the benefit of not being locked into one supplier with a proprietary solution, and a smoother sales path to international markets.

La Guerra concedes that “the initial stages of standardization cost money that the industry will be reluctant to spend,” and he adds, “Since proprietary systems are often seen by vendors as valuable differentiators, they may be understandably protective about them.”

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