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Continental shows future of accident avoidance with Emergency Steer Assist
by Steven J. Ewing - Autoblog

We've seen automakers debut different accident avoidance features, such as Ford's Collision Warning system with brake assist and Volvo's City Safety that can actually stop a vehicle when a low-speed impact is imminent. But what about being able to avoid collisions at normal driving speeds? Continental AG thinks it has the answer.

Autoblog contributor Rex Roy was invited to tour Continental's facility in Germany hear about different trends in technology. Conti believes that one important new trend is the multiplexing of existing technologies, allowing all sorts of functions to work together for a variety of different functions. Following this trend, Continental has developed its Emergency Steer Assist (ESA), which is mated to vehicles with electronic power steering and an adjustable suspension.

ESA works by having the front radar feed information to the chassis computer, which then calculates closing rates and the likelihood of an evasive maneuver or collision taking place. Sure, this is how current brake assist systems work too, but ESA adds the ability to stiffen the suspension and provide torque assist in steering efforts to coax out the most beneficial steering inputs from the driver.

Continental provided a BMW 5 Series equipped with ESA technology for members of the media to observe, with different exercises being done at 40 and 80 kilometers per hour (25 and 50 mph). Rex gives his impression of the demonstration:

"The magnitude of additional control and response was on the same order of moving to a car with electronic stability control from one without. It's huge. The Conti engineer had the ability to switch the system on and off, and he could change the ESA's level of response, so we were able to do A-B testing that clearly showed the system's effectiveness. The steering torque boost made the last-second emergency lane change almost easy as opposed to scary and dramatic."

Look for this technology to start appearing in the next two to four years. Additionally, because of the level of individual components needed to make ESA possible, we'd expect to see this feature debut in higher-end cars first.

To view the original article, which also includes Continental's press release:
Continental shows future of accident avoidance with Emergency Steer Assist — Autoblog
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