Driving in a cocoon

Visteon Corporation has brought together several of its radar technologies to give vehicles a ‘Cocoon’ – a 360-degree awareness area that surrounds the exterior of a vehicle.

The Cocoon system monitors the entire vehicle’s surroundings, sensing and alerting drivers to other nearby vehicles or objects. It also provides stopped object detection as well.

Part of the Cocoon makes use of Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC). Using long-range, forward-looking radar and vehicle dynamics data, ACC can sense traffic and determine which targets are in the vehicle’s predicted lane of travel.

The features of the ACC system include its ability to set predetermined speeds and the ability to maintain a pre-set gap between the driver’s vehicle and the vehicle in front. ACC automatically reduces the speed of a vehicle when it detects slower moving traffic or stopped objects. When slower traffic clears, the vehicle automatically returns to its pre-set speed. Using fixed-beam radar, Visteon’s ACC system works under varying traffic and weather conditions, and is effective even when there is poor visibility.

While the ACC system determines objects in the vehicle’s predicted lane of travel, Visteon’s Near Object Warning System, another ‘Cocoon’ technology, uses near-range, configurable radar sense zones to detect and warn drivers if another vehicle or obstacle enters the detection zone. The system helps improve driver safety, awareness and confidence, by providing a real-time, 360-degree continuous assessment of the driving environment, including traffic conditions and imminent hazards.

An ‘electronic bumper’ complements the Near Object Warning System by using electronic throttle and braking to maintain a predetermined distance from vehicles in the front and rear.

Radar-based sensors provide an ‘advanced back-up aid’ with an expanded field-of-view to detect and alert drivers to objects behind the vehicle while backing-up or parking. This expanded field-of-view, combined with the predicted vehicle trajectory (determined via steering wheel angle input) alerts drivers to objects within its predicted path.

Visteon’s ‘side object warning system’ also uses short-range radar sensors, located in key areas of the vehicle’s exterior, to detect and warn drivers of objects within the detection zone on the side of the vehicle, in an adjacent lane.

Finally, a ‘lane change aid’ uses short-range radar to warn the driver if another vehicle or object is in the way during turns and lane changes.

Visteon’s Cocoon system is expected to show up in vehicles in 2004.

Also in the news:

In addition to the Cocoon system, Visteon has also recently released details of its Visteon Laminate Insert Moulding (VLIM) system, a process for producing integrated cockpits that helps improve fuel economy.

VLIM is a process during which a pre-formed laminate skin is inserted into a horizontal moulding press before the injection cycle. Available in the 2002 model year, the resulting product is an attractive, one-piece moulded polypropylene instrument panel skin with selective soft touch zones.

This process allows Visteon to build cockpits while integrating smaller components to help reduce weight and improve fuel economy. VLIM is constructed using a single-family chemical system (Olefin), resulting in the moulded skin being fully recyclable.

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