Advanced Driving Assistance and Active Safety Systems

Driver assistance systems

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Opel Eye Front Camera

The innovative and award-winning Opel Eye front camera system improves driving safety, reduces stress and can even prevent costly speeding tickets. Located between the windshield and the rear-view mirror, the Opel Eye aids drivers in two different ways: Traffic Sign Recognition function and Lane Departure Warning.

Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR) reads speed limit- and no-passing signs and displays them on the instrument panel. Depending on light conditions, the system begins to recognize and repeatedly read signs at 100 meters. The system always displays the most relevant information for safe driving, filtering out many signs that may overwhelm drivers.

The information is displayed for a few seconds as a symbol in the center of the instrument panel between the main round dials. Drivers can recall the image any time by pressing a button on the steering wheel. Traffic Sign Recognition can be activated via a sub-page in the car’s onboard computer menu.

Lane Departure Warning (LDW) alerts drivers when they unintentionally stray out of their lane. This helps prevent a dangerous situation, such as a driver falling asleep at the wheel. Lane Departure Warning can be switched on or off via a button. When active, it warns the driver with an acoustic signal and a blinking icon on the instrument panel.

Lane Departure Warning uses a second signal processor and software to filter lines and longitudinal patterns at speeds above 50 km/h. This enables the system to recognize the traffic lane. By using specific algorithms that define the conditions in which alerts are given and by noticing steering wheel and turn-indicator movements – signaling an intentional lane change – the system is designed only to intervene at the appropriate moment.

Opel Eye Image Processing

The Opel Eye camera captures and refracts light rays on the lens. A sensor changes that image into electronic signals, just like the photo receptors in the human retina. An analog-to-digital convertor codes these signals into binary data, which is then compared with stored images of traffic signs. If the camera finds a match and recognizes a sign, the image pops up on the vehicle display. The accuracy and recognition rate therefore depends greatly upon how many images the system has saved in its memory – and how closely the road signs follow the standards laid out in the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals.

Opel introduced the second generation Opel Eye in 2011 on the new Zafira Tourer and Astra GTC models. The further developed front camera system features enhancements to TSR and AFL+. TSR can now identify even more road signs than the previous generation, including signs commonly used in all EU countries as well as Russia and Morocco.

In addition to typical round European signs for speed limits, the new front camera also recognizes rectangular signs such as motorway, traffic-restricted zones, and speed-limit-related additional signs with graphic symbols, from a distance of up to 60 meters.

The second-generation front camera can also be combined with a radar sensor which enables Adaptive Cruise Control, Following Distance Indication, Forward Collision Alert, and Collision Imminent Braking.

Adaptive Cruise Control

Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) helps the driver to maintain the selected speed while keeping a pre-set safety distance to the vehicle ahead. In addition to speed, the desired gap to the vehicle ahead can also be selected by the driver – with three options available: far, medium, close. When ACC is activated, the radar constantly checks the distance up to a range of 150 meters ahead; the selected gap to the closest vehicle in the same lane is shown in the center screen of the display as well as the pre-selected speed.

The Following Distance Indication (FDI), which is activated automatically at speeds from 40 km/h, not only helps to prevent collisions, but also helps to avoid possible fines for not maintaining sufficient safety distance to the vehicle in front. The radar directly measures the distance to the vehicle ahead up to 150 meters.

In a car without radar, the Opel Eye front camera, which has a range of 60 meters, determines the distance to the vehicle ahead. The central driver display shows the corresponding distance value in seconds: this indication strategy is in line with the regulations in most European countries, which define the safety distance in terms of time, not in meters. In Germany, for example, the minimum distance is 1.8 seconds - equivalent to half the distance of the current speedometer reading in meters, e.g. 50 m when driving at a speed of 100 km/h.

Forward Collision Alert (FCA) is also available with radar or front camera. If the vehicle gets into a critical situation where a collision with the preceding vehicle is imminent, FCA warns the driver with a loud alarm as well as a visual warning on the instrument cluster. FCA gives a warning for moving and stationary objects. The driver can adjust the sensitivity of FCA via a control on the steering wheel.

If the driver does not react to the visual and audible warnings of FCA, the radar-based Collision Imminent Braking (CIB)

takes over and automatically decelerates the vehicle at up to 0.3 g to reduce the effects of a collision.

Adaptive Forward Lighting +

Opel’s award-winning, bi-xenon Adaptive Forward Lighting (AFL+) adapts its intensity and range to suit prevailing driving and road conditions using nine different lighting functions.

AFL+ is based on powerful bi-xenon, gas-discharge headlamps. With conventional bi-xenon headlamps, the low beam light/dark boundary is provided by a bulb shield. Instead of this shield, AFL+ technology features a free-form cylinder automatically rotating in front of the xenon bulb, which has several precisely calculated contours on its surface to produce various light beam patterns. Bi-xenon headlamps project low and high beams from just one xenon bulb per headlamp. The light spectrum and intensity stay the same when switching between modes, thus reducing eye strain.

AFL+ headlamps also come with LED daytime running lamps. Compared to conventional low beam headlamps, these reduce fuel consumption because they require considerably less electrical power. LEDs offer an extraordinary service life that is up to 30 times longer than H7 halogen bulbs.  

In order to ensure precise functionality, AFL+ sensors measure speed, yaw rate, steering angle and rain; the high beam assistant’s optical sensor collects information on road profile, driving status and visibility conditions. The two sensors continually feed information to the control electronics. In a split second, the system’s software decides which lighting function is appropriate for the prevailing driving situation and adjusts the headlamps accordingly.  

A control motor rotates the headlamp cylinder to the required contour. This alters the light pattern of the headlamp beam. The module is on a pivot to enable optimal positioning for the curve light. Opel curve and cornering lights are especially effective as the headlamps’ three-dimensional design ensures the light beam is not obstructed. Despite their very clean and simple appearance, those headlamps have a very sophisticated design. 

The system features nine lighting functions.

High Beam Light Assistant is an innovation in this segment and offers a considerable safety advantage when driving in the dark. The Assistant automatically activates the High Beam Light for better road illumination and improved visibility. With the help of an optical sensor integrated in the interior mirror mounting, the system recognizes the headlamps or tail lights of other vehicles and automatically switches the headlamps to low beam to prevent dazzling other road users.  

High Beam Light (already included in the previous AFL generation) provides maximum headlamp beam output and range. The High Beam Light optimally illuminates the full width of the road. The headlamps brighten from 35 to 38 watts.

At speeds under 50 km/h, Town Light provides a wider, symmetrical beam with reduced range, helping drivers see pedestrians at the roadside better. The Town Light’s beam intensity is less than the normal low beam as additional light sources – such as street lighting – are available.

Pedestrian Area Light is activated automatically at speeds of up to 30 km/h. It is designed especially for zones where the driver must exercise extreme caution, such as residential areas with corresponding traffic restrictions. The function adjusts the cone of light for both headlamps by eight degrees toward each roadside. With this light, pedestrians and children playing next to the road – who often cannot properly judge the speed of a moving vehicle – can be seen earlier, particularly when cars are also parked on the roadside.

Country Road Light provides a brighter and wider light cone to both sides of the road than a conventional low beam. This helps drivers see animals at the sides of the road earlier. It is activated between 50 and 100 km/h and projects a beam 70 meters ahead. Country Road Light provides a brighter and wider light cone to both sides of the road than a conventional low beam. It is activated between 50 and 100 km/h and projects a beam 70 meters ahead. 

Highway Light intensifies and slightly raises the headlamp beam when there is no risk of dazzling oncoming traffic and the smoother road surface causes fewer vehicle body movements. Highway Light creates a 140 meter long beam, improving illumination of the left-hand roadside and brightens the lamps from 35 to 38 watts to improve noticeable visibility. The Highway Light activates automatically above 100 km/h, but only when the steering angle sensor indicates that the road’s curve radii do not match those of a country road. Highway light intensifies and slightly raises the headlamp beam where there is no risk of dazzling oncoming traffic and smoother road surface causes few vehicle body movements.

Adverse Weather Light is activated when the rain sensor detects a certain amount of moisture on the windshield or the wipers are switched on and off in rapid succession. The light output is then distributed asymmetrically: the right headlamp beam intensity increases from 35 to 38 watts so the driver can see the lane markings better, and the left headlamp beam decreases from 35 to 32 watts and shortened slightly to reduce the risk of dazzling oncoming drivers, which can often happen on wet, reflective road surfaces.

Dynamic Curve Light (already included in the previous AFL generation) ensures improved illumination around bends by swiveling the bi-xenon headlamps up to 15° right and left of the vehicle into the oncoming curve. The Curve Light angle is determined by the car’s speed and steering angle. A new addition is the sport switch on the FlexRide, which, when activated, enables a faster response from AFL. 

Static Cornering Light (already included in the previous AFL) illuminates an area to the right or left of the vehicle up to a 90 degree angle, improving maneuvering in poorly lit areas, such as on dark access roads. It is activated at speeds below 40 km/h or when the car is put into reverse gear. A new function is the delayed switch over to normal low beam light, making drive-away maneuvers easier.

When combined with the second-generation Opel Eye, AFL+ offers the Intelligent Light Ranging (ILR) function which is automatically activated at speeds above 50 km/h. The front camera measures the distance to the vehicle ahead or to oncoming traffic and adapts the range of the low beam headlights in order to provide the optimum lighting of the road at all times, without dazzling other road users

AFL+ Can Prevent Accidents

The importance of good visibility in road traffic is confirmed in accident statistics: although there is around 33 percent less traffic on the roads at night, the number of deadly road accidents at dusk or in darkness is twice as high as during the day.

A study published by the independent vehicle safety and quality assessors, TÜV Rheinland, in September 2007 showed that the increased brightness of xenon headlamps can prevent accidents. If all cars registered in Germany were fitted with such headlamps instead of conventional halogen lamps, the number of severe accidents on country roads at night could be reduced annually by more than 50 percent, and by more than 30 percent on highways, the report stated.

Side Blind Spot Alert

Side Blind Spot Alert (SBSA) warns the driver of a potential imminent collision when changing lanes (active from 10 – 140 km/h). Ultrasonic sensors with a range of four meters at the front and rear on both sides of the vehicle constantly monitor the driver’s blind spots. As soon as another vehicle comes within range of the sensors, an orange LED lights up an icon on the outer edge of the respective rear-view mirror. If the driver activates the turn signal to indicate a lane change, the LED starts to flash and an acoustic warning signal is activated.

Advanced Park Assist

Advanced Park Assist (APA) puts an end to second-guessing on those coveted parking spaces. It is a perfect tool for car drivers who have difficulty parking in tricky situations.

APA makes parking easy: it finds spots into which the vehicle can fit and provides clear instructions via a signal on the dashboard.

The main advantage of the system is that it recognizes spaces which are only one meter longer than the vehicle. Other comparable fully automatic systems need to find spots that are significantly longer than one meter before they start  working.

APA can be activated as soon as drivers slowly pass a row of cars at a distance of 1.8 meters. As soon as a sensor located on the side of the vehicle recognizes a space, it informs the driver via  the central display and begins giving steering instructions. After the APA button has been pushed, the system searches for a parking space on the passenger side. When the indicator is activated to the driver’s side, APA searches for a slot on that side.

Electronic Stability Control

Electronic Stability Control (ESC), including Traction Control (TC), is available across the range and offers a high level of active safety. The ESC yaw sensor in the center of the car detects movements around the vertical axis and a sensor on the steering column measures the steering angle being applied. Inputs from these sources are then correlated with the speed of the car. The system is programmed to execute whatever actions will most effectively prevent the loss of control. Depending upon the driving situation, it is possible for brakes  to be applied via the ESC system to one, two or three wheels at at a time or if necessary, the electronic throttle opening is also reduced.

Other braking functions under ESC control:

  • Cornering Brake Control (CBC) is activated when the car brakes while cornering. Brake pressure is individually varied between all four wheels in order to keep the car stable.
  • Cornering Torque Control (CTC) prevents the inner wheel from spinning when cornering under acceleration, thereby minimizing understeer.
  • Electronic Drag Torque Control (EDC) prevents the wheels from blocking when the throttle is released too quickly or during an abrupt downshift.
  • Brake Assist System (BAS) helps the driver apply optimal braking power in emergency braking situations.
  • Hydraulic Brake Fade Assist (HBFA) automatically raises braking pressure to compensate for brake fade under repeated applications of heavy braking.
  • Trailer Stability Assist (TSA) is active when an Opel-approved towing hitch is fitted. TSA counters any vehicle instability that may occur when towing a trailer or caravan by reducing the engine torque and applying brake pressure to selected wheels.

Four-channel ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) is standard equipment together with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) which ensures that optimal braking force is applied at both axles for maximum stability under heavy braking.

Opel Eye

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