Bosch has launched its latest driving assistance system in the new BMW 3 Series - the first mid-sized vehicle from any manufacturer to feature this technology. Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) detects vehicles in front of the car, calculates the traveling speed and maintains a speed-related safety distance between the vehicles through active brake and engine control. Once there is no vehicle within the scanning range, the system accelerates the car to the pre-selected speed.
Promoted as a safety feature rather than a ‘luxury’ item, in the USA the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has confirmed that ACC's benefits include "avoidance of crashes and a reduction in crash severity, crash-related fatalities and injuries". In addition, after evaluating an NHTSA test, the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that ACC could prevent as many as 12,000 collisions on US interstate highways each year alone.
A compact sensor control unit accommodating the radar sensor and the control unit represents the centerpiece of the ACC system. Four overlapping radar beams scan the area up to 200 meters in front of the vehicle. By emitting specifically modulated frequencies, combined with corresponding evaluation algorithms, the system is able to calculate the speed of the vehicles scanned and the distance to them. This process can simultaneously cover and monitor several vehicles located within the scanning range. By cross-checking cornering information delivered by the electronic stability program (ESP) the ACC is able to select those vehicles that are relevant to the driver’s own car.
In addition to the ACC, Bosch also supplies BMW with engine management systems for gasoline engines, common-rail injection systems for diesel engines, the starter, the alternator, the airbag control unit, parts of the sensor system and the parking assistance for the new 3-Series. ZF Lenksysteme GmbH, a joint-venture company of Bosch and ZF Friedrichshafen AG, produces the steering column, the power steering system, the optional speed-controlled Servotronic power steering system and the optional active steering system.
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