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Vauxhall shows off autonomous city safety systems. Image by Vauxhall.

Vauxhall shows off autonomous city safety systems
Automatic steering and braking, driver monitoring and more demonstrated by Vauxhall.
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What's all this about?

Vauxhall - or rather, sister company Opel in Germany - is working on some city-based driver assist systems.

And what can these things do?

One Insignia demonstrator can swerve and brake automatically if it spots a sudden hazard that the driver might not be able to react to - for example, a dozy pedestrian stepping out at the last minute. It manages this thanks to cameras, radar and modified braking/steering systems. Mercedes-Benz has previewed something similar for the E-Class but for Vauxhall to be developing it at the same time is good work.

Impressive. What else is Vauxhall up to?

Another vehicle uses a special algorithm, as well as front and head-tracking cameras, to monitor driver behaviour. The aim here is to prevent 'false alarms' for existing safety systems, so the example Vauxhall uses is blind-spot monitoring. The system can better predict a genuine impending lane change by watching the driver's head movements, meaning fewer alerts from the blind-spot system. That in turn means the driver trusts the system more in the future, as he or she knows it only alerts them when there's a real possibility of a collision.

Anything else?

Car-to-X communications, in which data from all vehicles is shared wirelessly, was also demonstrated by Vauxhall/Opel as part of its role in the UR:BAN research project (user-oriented assistance systems and network management). Data from the 'cloud' can be displayed in-car to allow drivers to, for instance, better negotiate busy city junctions. No word yet on when any of this technology from Vauxhall will be ready for market.

Matt Robinson - 11 Oct 2015    - Vauxhall road tests
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