This month 10 automakers agreed to voluntarily make automatic emergency braking systems standard. Automakers that are party to the agreement — Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo — haven’t hammered out a timeline for implementation.
The assortment of cameras, radar, lidar and computer chips that make up collision avoidance systems are off-the-shelf technologies priced for the mass market. And the suppliers that will profit are a well-defined group of big suppliers with production-ready components.
But in any case, U.S. consumers won’t have to wait long. This fall, Toyota Motor Corp. will introduce a lidar-and-camera system, supplied by Continental, on the 2016 RAV4. By the end of 2017, nearly all U.S. Toyota and Lexus models will have Conti’s lidar-and-camera unit or a radar-and-camera system produced by Denso.
The lidar version, with retail prices starting at $300, will operate at speeds up to 50 mph, while the pricier radar unit, which starts at $500, will be effective at higher speeds.
Radar sensors are good for tracking an object’s exact distance and speed. Cameras are best at determining the object’s silhouette, which helps the computer identify it as a pedestrian, vehicle or cyclist.
Lidar has emerged as a low-cost alternative to radar. But Continental, which produces radar and lidar, views radar as a superior long-term solution, especially for markets where traffic moves faster.
“Radar is our base technology,” said Christian Schumacher, Continental’s chief of customer programs for advanced driver assistance systems. “We think it has an advantage [over cameras and lidar] in snow, rain or ice.”