Until recently, the safety devices in a vehicle have provided foundational levels of safety that only react after the vehicle has gone beyond the limits of safe operation. Accidents and injuries may still occur, if the vehicle goes beyond system limits. To prevent these unrecoverable situations, new safety control systems that can anticipate and react to potentially hazardous situations are being developed and introduced in new vehicles.
As shown in the figure below, these systems are aware of the environment around the vehicle, and like a driver education instructor, can intervene with adjustments to engine output, steering, and braking. These anticipatory technologies are expected to further reduce life-threatening incidents by helping avoid situations where the foundational systems alone cannot restore safe operation or fully mitigate injuries.
Autoliv's development towards preventive safety
In 2008, Autoliv introduced the world’s first electronic control unit (ECU) that integrated active and passive safety. It was an integration of the inertial sensors for the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system in the ECU for the airbags. We are now taking the second step in integrating passive and active safety. We have developed an ECU that can control both the restraint systems and the brakes of the vehicle for traction control, ABS-brakes and stability control. The first such system will be introduced in 2014.
As a third step of electronic integration, Autoliv is developing a system to monitor the environment around the vehicle and control the vehicle motion. This Electronic Safety Domain Controller (ESDC) links all safety sensors (including the environmental sensors such as radars) and all actuators that control vehicle motion (brakes, steering, and engine/transmission).