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Prelude to fully autonomous driving

Published on 23.02.2022

Driving assistance systems to be made compulsory

These driving aids will become mandatory for newly typed vehicles from 2022, for all new cars, the rule will apply from 2024.

The use of mandatory assistance systems, such as the electronic stability program (ESP) and the automatic tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS), has become a matter of course in recent years. The EU Member States have prescribed new driving assistance systems to improve highway safety. Some of these devices are already found in the latest vehicles and you may have already heard of them.

Emergency brake lights

In the event of sharp deceleration (from 6 m/s) at a speed of more than 50 km/h, the brake lights begin to flash at a high frequency to warn the following drivers in real time of the dangerous situation. If the vehicle stops, the hazard lights come on automatically. The system is controlled by the brake pedal (pressure and travel) and by the ABS.

Emergency brake assist

The ABS system automatically brakes the car when a dangerous situation is detected to avoid a collision. This is particularly the case when the driver does not react or reacts too slowly, or fails to make optimal use of the braking power available. Emergency brake assist uses camera and radar systems. The system automatically deactivates itself if there is insufficient information from the external environment. The next step in the development of emergency brake assist is the multi-collision brake. If an accident is detected, the brakes are automatically applied to avoid or mitigate the effects of any subsequent collision.

Emergency lane keeping

As the name suggests, Emergency Lane Keeping (ELK) not only alerts the driver when they leave the lane, but also actively intervenes in steering, unlike the well-known Lane Keeping Assist (LKA) system. It is activated whenever the car is in danger of going the wrong way or going off the right-hand side of the road. The driver can deactivate the emergency lane keeping (which automatically switches off if there is insufficient information due to a lack of highway infrastructure). The ELK uses a camera to recognise traffic lanes, and sensors and radar measure the distance from other vehicles or obstacles.

Intelligent speed assistance

If you exceed the speed limit, you will see an indicator on the dashboard and feel the accelerator pedal pulse. This is a passive system. Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) also features an active variant: if the driver exceeds the speed limit for a longer period of time, the power of the engine is reduced via the control unit (overtaking is not affected). The driver can override the system by pressing the accelerator pedal and it can also be deactivated. The front camera is used to recognise traffic signs, and this is supplemented by data from your navigation system.

Fatigue detection/driver vigilance control

Eyelid movements are recorded and compared to the driver’s steering inputs. If the Driver Drowsiness and Attention Warning system detects unusual steering input and eye movements, the driver is immediately alerted via an audio signal combined with a warning on the instrument panel. The purpose of this device is to prevent accidents caused by drowsiness or reduced attention. Because the data is recorded, it must be protected and is therefore stored in a closed system.

Backup assistant

The Reversing Detection system is used to protect pedestrians when backing up. A backup camera combined with ultrasonic sensors can detect persons walking behind the vehicle. An audio and visual signal on the display warns the driver of a collision. Since visibility is not always optimal in modern vehicles due to new body shapes, the Backup Assistant offers additional protection (especially useful for detecting young children). The system has been extended to include an emergency braking device.

Alcohol interlock installation

The Alcohol Interlock Installation Facilitation is simply a standardised interface; the actual breathalyser is not part of the scheme. In future, the courts may require motorists who drive under the influence of alcohol to use a breathalyser when starting their engine. These driving supports will be mandatory for newly approved vehicles from this year onwards. The rule will apply to all new vehicles starting in 2024.


Inadequate road infrastructure


The main change concerning the examples presented here will be the intervention of technology on what used to happen behind the wheel in emergency situations. Nevertheless, drivers will always remain fully responsible for their actions, as these are only driving aids. These systems will have to function reliably and in harmony with the road infrastructure if motorists are to fully accept them. This means, among other elements, uniform signage, up-to-date navigation data and careful maintenance of all systems. In any case, we are drawing closer and closer to automated driving.




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