vw road junction.automotiveIT

BMW’s left-turn assistant warns a driver of danger when making a turn

A group of 11carmakers, suppliers and research institutes has been working on new technologies that improve safety at intersections.

One project effectively lets a driver look around the corner. Another prevents accidents from occurring when a car turns left.

Such systems would help defuse and prevent dangerous traffic situations at intersections, traditionally major black spots for accidents with injuries in inner cities.

The group, which includes Volkswagen, BMW and Volvo Trucks, is working within the framework of the European Union's Intersafe-2 research initiatve, a three-year 6.5 million euro project that ends next month. Intersafe stands for intersection safety.

Volkswagen was showcasing technology this week that would provide drivers with information not only on the visible surroundings, but also on objects they cannot see themselves.

Juergen Leohold, VW Group's head of research said in a press release: "In light of the ongoing growth of urban mobility with all sorts of different people involved, plus social trends, such as the increasing age of society, the importance of assistance functions of this kind will become ever greater."

As part of the project, VW equipped a Passat CC with five assistance functions developed specifically for road junctions. These include left turn, right turn, intersection crossing, red light and stop sign assistants. If a driver breaks any of the appropriate rules of the road, these functions first send out an audible warning, then a visual one and finally apply a short burst of pressure on the car's brakes.

BMW left turn.automotiveIT

BMW’s left-turn assistant warns a driver of danger when making a turn

For a live test, the company installed laser scanners, infrared sensors and a wireless network at a junction in Wolfsburg in northern Germany. A specially equipped prototype vehicle has been testing the technology there in recent months.

Separately BMW has developed a left-turn assistant that uses scanners and sensors to alert a driver when turning left would create the potential for an accident.

The assistant works at speeds below 10km/hour and BMW said an automated braking function does not trigger any dramatic deceleration from higher speeds.

Both VW and BMW showed their technologies in Wolfsburg as part of the final phase of the Intersafe-2 project.