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Friday, 02 December 2011 23:47

Magna Announces Camera-based Driver Assistance System

Magna International Inc. announced Dec 1 that its Magna Electronics operating unit, in conjunction with Mobileye, its partner for image processing, has developed an innovative driver assistance system that uses a single, forward-looking video camera to provide safety and convenience features such as forward collision and lane departure warnings. More affordable than comparable systems, the Magna system has recently launched on General Motors vehicles in the North American market, available as an option on the 2012 Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain.


Magna Electronics has partnered on advanced driver assistance systems with Mobileye since 2005. The first product to be introduced was the Lane Departure Warning system based on the EyeQ1, launching also with General Motors on the Cadillac STS and DTS and Buick Lucerne. The debut of the second generation Mobileye processor, the EyeQ2, in this launch with General Motors demonstrates the continuing advancements and growth in features for both Magna and Mobileye.

Magna's system will go into production on multiple platforms with multiple OEMs in various markets around the world, a testament to the appeal and widespread adoption of a system that provides desired functionality at the right price. The Magna system directly addresses market demand for an affordable driver assistance system which seeks to prevent two serious types of accidents: rear-end collisions, which are the most common type of vehicle accident, and lane departure accidents, which are the most deadly.

According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the single largest driver related factor for road fatalities occurs when a single vehicle departs from the road and crashes.  NHTSA has identified lane departure avoidance systems that track vehicle position within a lane as being shown to be effective in reducing the number of relevant crashes.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), more than 1.8 million rear-end collisions are reported in the United States every year, making them the most common type of automobile accident. Rear-end accidents are also known as "whiplash accidents" because the nature of the collision often results in a whiplash injury for the occupants.

For lane departure warning, a video camera located behind the windshield is coupled with an advanced image processor to automatically detect lane markings. The system alerts drivers who might unintentionally stray from the lane being traveled. To reduce nuisance alerts, the system will not provide an alert if the turn signal is activated by the driver or if the driver makes a sharp maneuver.

When the Magna system's lane departure warning is engaged, a driver about to cross a detected lane marking without signaling is alerted in two ways: an amber indicator light located in the instrument panel flashes, and an alerting chime of three beeps is played in the left or right speakers - depending on the direction of impending lane departure.

The system's forward collision warning works in a similar fashion, with the combination of a warning light and an audible tone to alert the driver. The driver can set distance warnings for far, medium and near.

"Magna's innovations enable additional features besides forward collision and lane departure to be integrated into a single-camera system," says Chris Van Dan Elzen, Global Product Manager, Machine Vision Systems of Magna Electronics. "We are working on utilizing a shared camera and image processor to combine features such as automatic high beam control, traffic sign recognition, pedestrian recognition and adaptive front lighting."

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